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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Mark Hankins, who has served as head coach of the University of Iowa’s highly-successful men’s golf program for the past seven years, has been named assistant to the director of athletics. The announcement was made Tuesday by UI Athletic Director Gary Barta.
In his new role as a member of the department’s administrative staff, Hankins will work closely with Barta and Associate Athletics Director Mark Jennings in the national search for a men’s golf coach, along with administrative duties as assigned.
“Mark and I have had discussions in regards to his career path for some time, and I am happy to have Mark’s assistance to our administrative staff,” said Barta. “Mark has expressed his desire to further his career in athletics administration. This transition is a win/win. He’ll start his next career phase at Iowa, and we’ll tap into his significant expertise to work on some athletic department strategic plan initiatives.
“Mark is a successful, driven individual who will continue to be a great asset to our department,” added Barta. “He has enjoyed terrific success in his coaching career, and played a major role in the fundraising, design, and completion of the James M. Hoak Family Golf Complex that has enhanced our men’s and women’s golf programs.”
“I’m excited for the opportunity to step into an athletic administration role here at the University of Iowa,” said Hankins. “Mr. Barta asked me to win, graduate and do it the right way as the head men’s golf coach, and with the help of my players, assistant coaches and support staff, we have produced six straight NCAA appearances, recorded a 1000 APR graduation score and retention rating over the past four years, and built the facilities necessary to sustain the Iowa golf program into the future.
“I start the next stage of my career confident that the state of Iowa golf is at an all-time high. With a great returning team, a top-ranked schedule in the Big Ten Conference and four incoming recruits that are nationally ranked among the best in the country, I can move on with a sense of completion.
Hankins established the Hawkeye program at the national level during his seven years as head coach. Under his guidance, Iowa advanced to NCAA postseason competition each of the last six seasons, including a tie for 10th place at the NCAA Championship finals in 2011, the highest finish in the history of Hawkeye men’s golf. Iowa is 1-of-3 Big Ten teams to appear in six-straight NCAA Regionals (Illinois and Northwestern).
Hankins, a native of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, took over the Hawkeye program in 2007 after seven years as the head coach at Michigan State. In seven seasons at the helm of the Hawkeye program, Hankins has led Iowa to 11 tournament titles, while advancing to six consecutive NCAA Regionals and to the NCAA Championship finals three times. He has coached three All-Americans, 11 All-Big Ten selections, one Big Ten Player of the Year, five Academic All-Americans and 17 Academic All-Big Ten honorees.
During his time as head coach, Hankins was monumental in the fundraising and completion of the new home of Iowa golf — the state-of-the-art James M. Hoak Family Golf Complex, which overlooks the sixth hole at Finkbine Golf Course.
The facility features the 5,000 square-foot Transamerica Performance Studio, highlighted by five indoor-to-outdoor hitting stations, V-1 Video Swing Analysis and Trackman technology. Players can digitally record, analyze and compare their swings and data to learn from the best in the world. The heated hitting stations open directly to the driving range and feature T-Line hitting surface enabling UI student-athletes to work on swing mechanics and full ball flight throughout the entire year, day or night.
The performance studio also includes a 3,150 square foot indoor putting and chipping green that can be modified like a natural grass green, effectively recreating outdoor putting surface conditions.
The Hoak Golf Complex includes men’s and women’s locker rooms, coaches’ offices, team lounge and a trophy room that displays the history of Iowa golf. The 14,000 square foot outdoor putting green, outdoor wedge range and bent grass practice area complete the facility and place it among the best in collegiate golf.
Over the past year, Hankins has also played a role in the Midwest Junior Championships, the only national junior tournament in the state of Iowa, and the Iowa State Amateur Championships, being held at the UI’s Finkbine Golf Course.
“I owe a great deal of gratitude to our annual and capital campaign donors and friends, who believed in me and the potential of this program when I arrived,” said Hankins. “They paved the way to the NCAA Championships through financial and personal support for a `northern’ golf program that had to beat the odds to rise to national prominence.
“I look forward to continuing to be heavily involved in both the men’s and women’s golf programs and Finkbine Golf Course, while playing a greater role in Mr. Barta’s stated mission of competing for championships in every sport. I am thankful that I can do that here in Iowa City and for the Hawkeye program.”