Clarksville, TN – In a June 5th press conference in the front lobby of the Dunn Center, the former deputy athletics director and chief operating officer at Central Michigan University Derek van der Mewre was officially named Austin Peay State University’s 12th athletics director.
van der Merwe (pronounced van de meer) was chosen out of the five finalists that were invited for on-campus interviews conducted in late May.His appointment was approved June 4th by the Tennessee Board of Regents.
“It is both a pleasure an honor to be in Clarksville with you today and along with my wife Amy officially accept the position of director of athletics at Austin Peat State University,” van der Merwe said. “There is a great deal of pride in the community about Austin Peay and that pride comes out anytime you talk to anybody.
“Being a part of a community that believes in Austin Peay, believes in its potential and where it’s going is a great honor and I’m excited to be a part of it and get to work with this community to help it grow.”
van der Merwe succeeds Dave Loos, whose decorated legacy as the Governors’ longtime athletics director includes 33 Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament championships in a 16-year span since 1997.
Loos resigned as AD in April but remains at APSU as the head men’s basketball coach.
“I got a chance to meet and talk with coach Loos during the interview process as one of your peers in this industry,” van der Merwe said. “You’re recognized as a man of character who had a great deal of passion for this institution and have been truly a great representive of this institution.”
In his tenure at Central Michigan, specifically in the last 10 years, CMU has won more than 45 Mid-American Conference Championships, maintained a cumulative department grade-point average greater than 3.0 and has achieved an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of more than 75 percent.
In 2009, CMU was awarded the Mid-American Conference’s inaugural Cartwright Award as the top overall institution exemplifying success in the classroom, in competition, and in the community.
The Chippewa Athletic Fund has seen five years of record-breaking fundraising and is expected to bring in more than $1.3 million in 2013. In five years, self-generated revenues have increased by 96 percent and the donor base has grown by more than 800 members while CMU annually raised more external funds than any other program in the MAC.
van der Merwe’s close association with CMU actually began as a student-athlete who played football from 1991-95. He helped the Chippewas to the Mid-American Conference title in 1994 and earned Academic All-MAC honors as an offensive lineman in 1995 and was a co-captain his senior year. He graduated with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science in 1996, later earning a master’s in administration in 2005.
In 1997, he joined the athletics department as an academic adviser. He served in that capacity for a year before beginning a series of promotions that led him to his current position.
As CMU’s deputy athletics director, van der Merwe oversaw facilities, events, summer camps, business operations, communications, Chippewa Athletics Fund and the corporate sales and marketing areas. He also serves as the primary administrator for softball, wrestling, men’s basketball and football.
From 2005-11, van der Merwe was the senior associate athletics director, overseeing the business, compliance, facilities, event management, equipment, ticketing and communications offices. The point person for the department’s capital projects, he served as chair of the university’s Design and Construction Committee for the $22 million CMU Events Center, which opened in December 2010.
van der Merwe acted as the Chippewas’ sport administrator for wrestling, football and men’s basketball, and has become a major influence in the sport of wrestling on a national level. He served a four-year stint (2007-110 on the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee, including one year as chair.
van der Merwe is also the department’s primary liaison to the university’s Gender Equity and Diversity Committee and the Academic Senate’s Athletics Committee.
He began his professional career as an academic adviser for the Chippewas before becoming the compliance coordinator in 1998. He was promoted to director of compliance in 1999, to assistant athletics director in 2001 and associate athletics director with sport oversight responsibilities in 2002.
In the fall of 2011, van der Merwe was one of 12 senior associate athletic directors from around the country selected by the Division 1A Athletic Directors’ Association to participate in its inaugural Fellows Program – a program which establishes professional mentoring relationships and developmental opportunities for future athletic directors. He was the first fellow selected from a non-BCS institution.