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Spotlight Iowa City: The plate never too full for Meyer

BY CLARK CAHILL | NOVEMBER 17, 2009 7:21 AM

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Jane Meyer can safely say she’s affected virtually everyone on campus.

As the senior associate athletics director, she has orchestrated $250 million worth of projects, from the $88 million Kinnick Stadium renovation to the $47 million Carver-Hawkeye Arena makeover to a $70 million Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. The projects are upgrades athletes, students, and faculty will all appreciate.

“It’s a lot of money, but I look at the breadth of the projects and whom they are affecting,” said Meyer, sitting in her Carver office, which is stuffed with blueprints and books of building projects.

“We are trying to make it better for our student-athletes and also our students.”

It’s probably an understatement to say Meyer, who began her tenure at Iowa in 2001, is constantly busy.

But she’s used to it.

“I’ve lived in chaos all my life,” she said as a crane picked up a mound of dirt outside her Carver office. “I am able to take in lots of information and process it.”

Indeed. The evidence is in her demeanor. The eloquent speaker, who wears glasses and sports a button-down blouse and sweater tied around her neck, doesn’t need much time to think of her answers, and she talks quickly and sharply.

Such a talent likely proves useful when Meyer is in the other role that takes up a significant chunk of her life — keeping a close eye on the happenings in Division-I women’s basketball.

Meyer began her tenure as chairwoman of the Division-I Women’s Basketball Committee in September. She is in her last year of a five-year commitment to the committee, which is made up of 10 people and is responsible for determining the final 33 teams — 31 teams qualify automatically with a conference championship — that get into the women’s NCAA Tournament at the end of the season. Members also choose playing sites and officials.

Many say Meyer has had an effect on them.

“It’s a natural fit for her to be the chairwoman of the committee, and many people saw her as very deserving for the chair for her last year,” said committee member Heather Gores, an associate director of athletics at Gonzaga University. “She has been a great mentor for me coming in as a committee member, and she is someone I aspire to be.”

Wood Selig, a committee member and the athletics director at Western Kentucky University, agreed Meyer will be a great fit as chairwoman for the upcoming season.

“She has great knowledge of the game and is a tireless worker,” he said. “I know she will be informed across the board of the issues that are important for our committee to consider.”

One particular goal for Meyer this year will be a focus on growing the game of women’s basketball.

“There are some great pockets of women’s basketball out there who are selling out arenas every night,” she said. “We are learning what the men’s tournament has done positively and negatively, because they have been going about 80 years longer.”

Ultimately, Meyer, who enjoys running as a hobby, said her main objective is to help all student-athletes get an education and have positive experiences.

“At some point, I want them to decide they came to Iowa for the reason they came, to use their gifts as a student and an athlete,” she said. “If we stop doing that, I’m out of here.”


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