Iowa Strategic Communications

  • Media requiring assistance when reporting on the intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Iowa work with associate athletics director, strategic communications Matt Weitzel, associate director James Allan, and assistant directors Sam Basler, John Leo, Leandra Harasta, Bailey Turner and Traci Wagner.

Weitzel was named associate athletics director for strategic communications in June 2023. He previous served as an associate director in for 11 years after serving as assistant director for 13 years. Weitzel graduated from the University of Iowa in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication, with an emphasis in business. The native of Mundelein, Illinois, was a student in the sports information office for three years. He and his wife, Carrie, have a son, Grey, and a daughter, Owen Rose.

Wagner is in her 25th year as an assistant after previously serving as a student assistant for four years and as an intern for two years. A native of Iowa Falls, Wagner earned her bachelor’s degree in 1997 with a double major in journalism and communication studies. Traci and her husband, Jason, have a son, Nick, and a daughter, Sydney.

Allan was named associate director in 2016 following seven years as a full-time assistant. It is Allan’s second stint in the office, as he served as a student assistant from 2000-04. Allan returned to Iowa City after serving as the sports information director at the University of Missouri-Kansas City from 2005-10, and as the athletics media relations intern at Texas Christian University in 2004-05. The Hampton, Iowa, native earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2004. He and his wife, Mary Ann, have four children, Jonathan, Will, Eleanor, and Olivia.

Basler is in his second year as a assistant director after serving as an intern for one year and as a student assistant for two years. He previously was a student assistant in the sports information department at Gonzaga University (2018-19). The West Des Moines native earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management from Gonzaga and his master’s degree in sport and recreation management from Iowa.

Turner is in his second year as an assistant after serving as a student assistant from 2017-20. He also served as an assistant director at North Texas (2021-22) and a communications assistant at Middle Tennessee (2020-21). A native of Boone, Iowa, Bailey earned his bachelor’s degree in sports and recreation management in 2020.

Harasta is in her first year as a assistant director, after serving as an intern for one year. The Brea, California native earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from the University at Buffalo where she was also a four-year starter on the softball team. She earned her master’s degree in sport management from the University of Florida.

Leo is in his first year as an assistant director, after serving as an intern for one year and a half. A native of Oelwein, Iowa, John earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in sport and recreation management from the University of Iowa. He also serves as a radio broadcaster for the Iowa Baseball program and Hawkeye Sports Properties.


Strategic Communications Office

Mailing Address
S300 Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1020
Phone: (319) 335-9411

Baseball Basketball (M) Basketball (W)
Contact: Sam Basler
Contact: James Allan
Contact: Bailey Turner
M/W Cross Country Field Hockey Football
Contact: John Leo
Contact: Sydney Weber
Contact: Matt Weitzel
Golf (M) Golf (W) Gymnastics (W)
Contact: Brandt Dickey
Contact: Grace Kelly
Contact: Leandra Harasta | Reagan Schoenig |
Rowing Soccer Softball
Contact: Emmy Lewis
Contact: Jack Bacon
Contact: Leandra Harasta
Swimming & Diving (W) Tennis (W) Track & Field
Contact: Alina Davis
Contact: Teagan Schreiber
Contact: John Leo | Jack Bacon |
Volleyball Men’s Wrestling Women’s Wrestling
Contact: John Leo | Claire Kelly |
Contact: Sam Basler
Contact: Leandra Harasta

(email additions and updates to

James Allan (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications, 2004)/Associate Director, University of Iowa Athletic Communications
Megan (Rowley) Althoff (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.A., Theatre Arts, 2015)/Director, Communications, Big Ten Conference
Megan Becker (B.A., Communication Studies; B.A., Sports Studies, 2010)/Account Coordinator, Stumm Insurance
Bob Beghtol (B.A, Journalism & Mass Communications, 1991)/Senior Director of Media Relations, Chicago White Sox
Aaron Blau (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.A., Sports Studies, 2007)/Vice President of Education, Primacy
Austin Bramley (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications, 2017) Creative Services Coordinator, Midco
Chris Brewer (B.A., English, 2004)/Communications Manager, University of Iowa
Brandee Britt (B.S., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.S., Sports Studies, 2015)/Director, University of Iowa Athletics Social Media and Digital Strategy
Rick Brown (B.A., Journalism, 1976; M.A., Journalism, 1977)/Retired from 38-year career at Des Moines Register; reporter, Principal Charity Classic, reporter, Hawkeye Nation
Jordan Bucher (B.B.A., Marketing, 2016)/Associate Director of Member Relations, Mortgage Bankers Association
Exodus Cardoza (B.A., Communication Studies, 2015)/Lead Patient Appointment Access Specialist, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
Ashley Carlson (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.A., Health & Sports Studies, 2012)/Internal Communications Manager, Gemini
Eric Clark (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications, 2014; M.S. Journalism, 2015)/Technical Writer, Freelance Journalist, and Copywriter
Scott Cornelis (B.B.A., Economics, 2000)/Head of Capital Markets, BorrowersFirst, Inc.
Jeff Darby (B.A. Journalism & Mass Communications, 1994)/Senior Associate Athletic Director for Communications and University Relations, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
Bria Davis (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.A., Spanish, 2014)/University of Iowa College of Law Student & Legal Intern, Minnesota Vikings
Marcus Dittmer (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.B.A., Marketing, 2007)/Manager, Brand Marketing, WME | IMG – Collegiate Licensing
Mindy (Heidgerken) Gardner (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.F.A, Photography; B.F.A, Graphic Design, 2007)/Assistant Art Director, University of Iowa Athletic Communications
Seth Goodman (B.S., Sports and Recreation Management, 2019)/Media Relations Coordinator, Fishman Public Relations
Doug Haake (B.S., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.S., Health and Sports Studies, 2003)/Academic Advisor II, University of Florida Innovation Academy
Jessa Hansen (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications, 2012)/Assistant Women’s Gymnastics Coach, University of Iowa
Bryan Harlan (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications, 1984) /President, Harlan Sports Management, Chicago
Jana Hemphill (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications, 2005)/Development Associate, Deshutes Land Trust
Jake Holtorf (B.A., Health and Sports Studies, 2008)/Regional Vice President, Shaw Industries
Matt Jansen Creative Media Manager, University of Iowa Office of Strategic Communication
Natalie Johnson (B.A., Communication Studies; B.A., Sports Studies, 2005)/Business Leadership Director, Momentum Worldwide
Breanna Kellogg (B.S., Sport and Recreation Management, 2018)/Group Sales Account Executive, Dallas Mavericks
Janey Kiryluik (B.A., Sports Studies; Business Administration, 2005; M.A. Sports Management, 2007)/Vice President of Communications, UnitedHealth Group
Mike Lageschulte (B.A, Journalism & Mass Communications; B.A, Communication Studies, 1993)/Director of Annual Giving, University of Utah
Kevin Lake (B.A. Communication Studies, 1996)/Director of Parks and Recreation, City of DeWitt
Robbie Lehman (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications, 2011)/ Sales and Marketing Specialist, Solo Agency
Steve Malchow (B.A., Marketing; 1984; B.A. Information Systems, 1990)/Senior Associate Athletics Director for Communications, Iowa State University (retired)
Jordin (Hatcher) Manfred (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.A., Health and Sports Studies, 2009)/Senior Brand Manager, Bridgestone Americas
Amber (Gartner) McDonald (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.A., Communication Studies, 2005)/Key Account Manager, Martin Brothers Distributing
Jen (Duda) McGrath (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communication; B.A., Sociology, 2000)/Senior Global Reputation Manager, Hollister Incorporated
Lyn Metzger (B.S., Sports Studies; Spanish, 2015)/Director of Tickets & Revenue Generation, University of Idaho
Andrea (Breen) Miller (B.S., Journalism & Mass Communications, 2007)/Library Media Center Teaching Assistant
James Novak (B.A., Communication Studies, 2013)/Project Manager,
Meghan O’Keefe (B.A., Communication Studies, 2010)/Executive Director, Tamp Bay Tech
Hayley (Otto) Murphy (B.A., Communication Studies; B.S., Recreation and Sports Business, 2015)/Vice President, Events Management Manager at JPMorgan & Chase Co.
Maria (Westerhold) Peebles (B.A., Communication Studies, 2002)/Travel Best Bets, Maria Peebles
Stephanie (Dittmer) Rogers (B.A., Sport Studies; B.B.A. Business Management, 2011)/VP of Marketing and Fan Engagement, Vegas Golden Knights
Jack Rossi (B.A. Journalism & Mass Communications; 2016)/Communcations and Alumni Relations Manager, University of Iowa
Brad Rudner (B.A, Journalism & Mass Communications; B.A, Communication Studies, 2009)/Senior Communications Specialist, AAA Life Insurance Company
Ben Schmitz (B.S., Liberal Arts: Communications Studies, 2014)/Communications Assistant, Chicago Bears
Erin (Zein) Scott-Burnham (B.S., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.S., Health, Leisure and Sports Studies, 2001)/Technical Editor, ACT
Nate Sheehan (B.A, Journalism & Mass Communications; B.A., English, 2010)/Assistant Director, University of Alabama Athletic Communications
Tim Simmons (M.A., Journalism, 1971)/Event Media Operations Consultant
Alex Snyder (B.S., Sport and Recreation Management, 2017)/Recreation Assistant, City of North Liberty
Patrick Sojka (B.B.A, Marketing, 2010; M.A. Recreational Sports Management, 2012)/Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development and Premium Sales, UNLV
Kyle Soldwich (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications; B.A., Sports Studies, 2013)/Assistant Director of Annual Giving Programs, University of Northern Iowa
Lea Stover (B.S., Radiation Science Carver College of Medicine, 2010)/UI Clinical Specialist, Medtronic Surgical Technologies
Matt Stueland (B.A., Communications, Film and TV Production, 1998)/Vice President, Programming Strategy, VICELAND
Shane Sturtz (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communication, and Sports Studies, 2019)/Digital Media Assistant/Social Media, Duke Athletics
Sam Stych (B.S, Sport and Recreation Management, 2015)
Grace Tafolla (B.A, Journalism & Mass Communications, 2020)/Assistant Athletics Communications Director, University of Arkansas
Carson Tigges (B.A., Communication Studies, 2008)/Marketing and Communications Supervisor at UnityPoint Health
Bailey Turner (B.A., Sports and Recreation Management, 2020)/Assistant Athletic Communications Director, University of Iowa
Traci (Howard) Wagner (B.A., Journalism & Communication Studies, 1997)/Assistant Director, University of Iowa Athletic Communications
Dan Wallace (B.A, Communication Studies; B.A., Sports Studies, 2013)/Assistant Athletic Director – Communications, Loyola (IL)
Mike Watkins (B.A., Journalism, 1992; M.A., Journalism, 1998)/Owner/Consultant, Watkins Marketing & Media and freelance writer for USA Swimming
Matthew Weitzel (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications, 1997)/Associate AD, University of Iowa Strategic Communications
Tony Wirt (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications, 1999)/Author
Abby Wisecup (B.A., Journalism & Mass Communications; certificate in Entrepreneurship, 2023)/Communications Assistant, University of Florida
Peter Zucker (B.A., Enterprise Leadership, 2020)/Project Coordinator, John Deere Classic