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IHSAA Executive Director Rick Wulkow to Retire January 31


(Boone) One of the strongest athletic leaders in the nation, Rick Wulkow, the executive director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association for the past 10 years, is stepping down after 35 years of service to Iowa students and member schools.

In its monthly meeting held in Dubuque over the weekend, the Board of Control of the IHSAA accepted his formal resignation effective January 31, 2015. In the interim months he will work with the new executive director.

Tom Keating, Xavier, Cedar Rapids Principal and chairperson of the Board of Control, also announced that Alan Beste has been named as the new executive director. Beste joined the IHSAA staff in 1989 as a Wellness Coordinator and since July 1998 has been an Assistant/Associate Director.

Wulkow became the fourth executive director of the 109-year old Association when he accepted the leadership reins from Bernie Saggau, who served 37 years as executive director. It was Saggau who recruited him from the public school ranks in 1980 to join the IHSAA as an assistant executive director. He was appointed by the Board of Control to follow Saggau on January 1, 2005.


Wulkow’s successful record of service to the IHSAA has been marked by being an articulate spokesperson and leader for education-based activities and sportsmanship. He is a strong advocate of Iowa school administrators, teachers, coaches and students. In 2011-12 he was President of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and previously served on their Strategic Planning Committee.

As an assistant director, he held prominent leadership positions on national rules committees for football and chaired the basketball committee, two of the sports he administered as an assistant director of the IHSAA. He also administered track & field, tennis and swimming programs plus junior high activities, and officials’ registration.

He worked extensively with administrators, coaches associations and advisory groups in crafting and implementing changes regarding safety in sports, sportsmanship and improvement of officiating. Additionally he has served the NFHS with a term on its records committee. He has earned NFHS Service and Contribution honors in basketball, football, and spirit.

In addition he served as President of the National Association of Sports Officials, whose largest membership contingent is high school officials.


IHSAA Executive Directors

1906 – 1923  Board of Control with Board President George Marshall leading

1923 – 1941  George E. Brown (part time in 1923; full time in 1927)

1941 – 1967  Lyle T. Quinn

1967 – 2005  Bernie Saggau

2005 – 2015  Richard Wulkow

2015 –    Alan Beste


Alan Beste Named as New IHSAA Executive Director

Alan Beste, who has been on the IHSAA since 1989 and has served as an Assistant/Associate Director since 1998, has been chosen by the Board of Control to become the next IHSAA Executive Director.


Tom Keating, Xavier, Cedar Rapids Principal and chairperson of the Board of Control, announced Beste has been named as the new executive director, effective February 1, 2015.

The Sauk Centre, MN, native and graduate of St. Cloud State University and MS degree from Northwest Missouri State University came from to the association after serving Pleasant Valley Schools as a teacher and athletic trainer for seven years. 


His record of service to the IHSAA member schools and the NFHS is well documented in administering the areas of student wellness, safety, swimming, tennis, sports medicine, coaches’ education, and wrestling. His work in student wellness, particularly in concussion management is nationally renowned.

In his role as the Association’s first Wellness Coordinator he appeared on nationally televised programs addressing wellness issues for high school students and student athlete safety. He has also been active in the day-to-day services of the IHSAA, assisting school administrators in a variety of areas.

He has served on NFHS national rules committees in wrestling, swimming and sports medicine advisory/coach’s education. He has chaired the national rules committee on Swimming and Diving and currently chairs the national wrestling rules committee.


In addition, he has assisted in the state competitions in football, basketball, soccer and baseball, coordinating athletic trainers and sports medicine personnel for those events.




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