SPORTS SHORTS: Drake hires new athletic director

DES MOINES — Brian Hardin has been hired as Drake’s athletic director.

President Marty Martin said Tuesday that Hardin will replace Sandy Hatfield-Club in early December.

Hardin, a native of Des Moines, was a deputy athletic director at Marquette. He also worked at Ball State and Notre Dame.

Martin cited Hardin’s “reputation for success and integrity in all facets of athletics administration at Division I institutions.”

Hardin inherits a new men’s basketball coach in Niko Medved. But perhaps his two biggest short-term challenges will be to oversee the Drake Relays, an international track and field meet held every April on campus, and to retain women’s basketball coach Jennie Baranczyk. Baranczyk led the Bulldogs to a Top 25 ranking last season.

Iowa star recruit McCaffery will play

IOWA CITY — Iowa freshman point guard Connor McCaffery has decided to play this season instead of redshirt.

The star recruit and son of Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery had planned to sit out as a freshman and play baseball for Iowa in the spring. But backup point guard Christian Williams left the program last week, leaving Iowa thin at that position.

The 6-foot-5 McCaffery scored nearly 20 points a game in leading Iowa City West High to the state title in 2016-17. He was ranked the nation’s No. 90 recruit in last year’s class.