Jeff Ankrom was the logical choice to take on the position of interim athletic director at Wittenberg. He knows everyone and has done a little bit of everything at Wittenberg over the years.
Ankrom’s new job begins Monday. He’s filling the shoes of Garnett Purnell, who’s retiring after 14 years as Wittenberg AD.
Ankrom is an economics professor, an associate provost for faculty affairs and institutional research and a faculty athletics representative to the NCAA and the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Ankrom said he was happy to take on the role as long as he’s not in it very long.
“I have plenty of other work to do,” he said. “It’s not something I aspire to full-time. I have a background to help with some of the tasks. I don’t claim to have the operational skills to do it day to day.”
Ankrom and Wendy Gradwohl, an associate professor of business and a faculty athletics representative, will chair the committee that will conduct a national search for a new AD.
“It’s a very attractive job,” Ankrom said. “We’ve got a winning tradition in athletics. We’ve got a good program going.”
Wittenberg hopes to have someone hired within a couple of months.
“You never know with searches,” Ankrom said. “There’s all sorts of human resources stuff to pave the way. You have to give yourself enough time to get good candidates to surface and then properly vet them. That’s a big part of it.
Ankrom has served on Wittenberg’s Athletic Policy Committee since 1988. He worked for the NCAA Restructuring Task Force from 1994-96 and later for the NCAC’s Committee on NCAA Restructuring.
He started attending the annual NCAA Convention as a voting delegate in 1990 and served on the NCAA Division III Financial Aid Committee in 1999 and 2011. He served two terms on the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives Association Executive Board and was Division III vice president in 1999 and 2002.
Ankrom said Purnell, whose last day is Friday, “did a great job. He’s done a lot of good stuff on a fairly thin budget.”