UNI Director of Athletics Megan Franklin ushers in Legacy Era of Panther Athletics

UNI Director of Athletics Megan Franklin ushers in Legacy Era of Panther Athletics

Megan Franklin high-fiving staff members in McLeod

Megan Franklin has begun her tenure as UNI’s Director of Athletics. A formal media conference was held in the McLeod Center on Tuesday to introduce Franklin to campus and the Cedar Valley. Franklin unveiled a bold vision she titled the “Legacy Era” of Panther Athletics.

“The Legacy Era of Panther Athletics will see championships won, careers celebrated, facilities built, and great fun engaging alumni, donors and fans,” said Franklin. “I invite you to be there with us as we celebrate the pride for place at the University of Northern Iowa, cheering on student-athletes competing as their best selves, coaches mentoring through love of team, competition, the game, and the university and administrators still striving in their passions. We are going to have so much fun when we're doing this and cheering together. Go Panthers!”

The first woman to hold the AD title at UNI, Franklin also honored some of the many women who have impacted Panther athletics, from Sandra Williamson who was the first senior woman administrator at UNI to Marilyn Bohl whose $5 million donation to the UNI-Dome remains the largest private donation to UNI Athletics.

Read the full transcript

In his remarks, President Mark Nook recalled interviewing Franklin for the role. She immediately stood out, not only because of her answers to questions but, more important to Nook, the questions she asked. 

“Her questions were probing,” said Nook. “They were deep, and it showed a deep commitment to our students, to the athletics program, to the university, and to the community in which we live and grow and build. She understands that synergistic relationship between UNI, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, the rest of the Cedar Valley, and her questions really opened that up. I found a leader that had a great deal of integrity in the way that she approached the problems that she was asked to solve.”

What others are saying

Megan Franklin at introductory pep rally

The celebration of Franklin’s addition to the Panther family continues during Panther Caravan. Just hours after the introductory pep rally, UNI fans and donors were able to meet Franklin at the Tuesday night stop in Waterloo before additional stops in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids during the week.

Franklin, a Lincoln, Nebraska native, previously served over a decade as Senior Associate Athletics Director – Strategic Initiatives and External Operations/Senior Woman Administrator at Drake University. She was selected for the role of Interim Athletics Director at Drake in 2017.   

Franklin earned her bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education at the University of Nebraska and later received a master’s degree in Educational Administration specializing in student affairs from Nebraska. She owns a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Virginia Tech.  

Read the press release