IOWA CITY, Iowa – Fred Mims, a former University of Iowa student-athlete who established the UI Athletics Department’s Office of Student Services and was a member of the senior staff for more than 30 years and three directors of athletics, will retire from the UI on June 30, the UI Athletics Department announced today.
Mims is currently serving in a dual capacity on the UI campus: He remains engaged as a member of the senior staff for current UI Director of Athletics Gary Barta, working specifically on matters of student athlete affairs in addition to being the sport administrator in charge of the UI’s wresting and baseball programs. He is also serving as the director of the University of Iowa’s Office of Center for Diversity and Enrichment, a position he was asked to assume by UI President Sally Mason which is responsible for providing programs and activities that support the ability of underserved students to increase their skills to thrive and succeed at the University of Iowa.
“Fred’s unique perspective as a student-athlete and a long-time administrative leader served him well as he mentored and worked with thousands of Hawkeye students over nearly 40 years. He helped shape a culture at Iowa committed to providing young people a great experience athletically and academically. His impact on Hawkeye Athletics will remain long after his retirement. I know he’ll continue to serve our community, state, and the University for years to come,” said UI Director of Athletics Gary Barta.
The UI is currently planning two special events in honor of Mims’ 38 years of service to the University of Iowa. The first will be a campus-wide celebration of Mims’ many contributions to the UI, the UI Athletics Department, and the greater eastern Iowa community. The second will be staged by the UI Varsity Club in recognition of his leadership and accomplishments as a student-athlete, and the significant impact he had professionally on literally thousands of student-athletes who participated in the intercollegiate athletics programs at the UI during his three-plus decades as a member of the UI Athletics Department staff. Details of these events will be announced at a later date.
“Fred’s unique perspective as a student-athlete and a long-time administrative leader served him well as he mentored and worked with thousands of Hawkeye students over nearly 40 years. He helped shape a culture at Iowa committed to providing young people a great experience athletically and academically. His impact on Hawkeye Athletics will remain long after his retirement. I know he’ll continue to serve our community, state, and the University for years to come.”
UI Director of Athletics
Mims’ association with the University of Iowa began as a two-year letterwinner in both basketball and baseball, where he was a two-time first team all-Big Ten Conference selection, in the early 1970s, experiences which resulted in an opportunity for him to play baseball professionally for Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros from 1972 to 1975.
Mims returned to his alma mater in 1977 to serve in three capacities: As an assistant coach for the UI baseball team under College Baseball Hall of Fame head coach Duane Banks – his head coach as a student-athlete at the UI; as an academic counselor for the UI Athletics Department, and as an assistant director of the UI’s summer sports camps program which, at that time, included more than 3,000 participants under the supervision of more than 40 camp instructors/counselors.
In 1982, then UI Director of Men’s Intercollegiate Athletics C. W. “Bump” Elliott asked Mims to become a full-time administrator in charge of establishing the first Office of Athletics Student Services. He accepted that invitation and established many of the internal policies and procedures that yet today help the more than 650 student-athletes involved in the intercollegiate athletics program annually achieve at a level academically that ranks among the nation’s best.
In 1985, Mims was named an assistant athletics director within the UI’s Department of Men’s Intercollegiate Athletics and his responsibilities were expanded to include the responsibilities associated with serving as department’s chief compliance officer and assistance with fund-raising and public relations.
In 1989, Mims was promoted to associate athletics director and became involved with the overall management and promotion of the department with specific oversight responsibilities for the Office of Athletics Student Services, NCAA and Big Ten Conference rules compliance. He also served as the department’s liaison with the UI’s substance abuse program and was responsible for athletics financial aid, certification of eligibility, and educational programming.
Mims also assumed administrative responsibility for the sports of wrestling and baseball, a position which provided him the opportunity to lead the process that resulted in the hiring of current UI wrestling coach Tom Brands and current UI baseball coach Rick Heller. He also assisted in the hiring of current UI head football coach Kirk Ferentz and current UI head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery.
Mims’ professional career includes a long list of special achievements, honors, and responsibilities. Included among them was the opportunity to serve on the NCAA’s Certification Committee’s executive committee for the four years, being named recipient of the UI’s Multicultural Distinguished Educator Awards in 2004, honored by the State of Iowa’s African American Museum in 2004, inducted into the Cedar Rapids professional baseball Hall Of Fame, honored by the Division 1a Athletics Directors Association, and honored by the Community Corrections Improvement Association for his work in providing educational serves to youth.
His impact on the University of Iowa and the greater University of Iowa and Iowa City community is reflected in his long list of professional activities. Included among them is a 14-year stint as a member of the board of directors for the University of Iowa Community Credit Union, 16 years of leadership as a member of the board of director for the Johnson County Neighborhood Center, 14 years as a judicial appointee to the board of directors of the Iowa Sixth Judicial District of Corrections, and years of service to the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, the Iowa City Human Rights Commission, the Mid-Eastern Iowa Council on Chemical Abuse, and the Hawkeye Area Boy Scouts of America.