Ackerman to retire as MHS athletic director
Marshalltown athletic director Rollie Ackerman’s time with the Bobcats will be done after his contract is up on June 30, as his retirement was approved by the Marshalltown School Board during its weekly meeting Monday.
On Tuesday, Ackerman said this was not a spur of the moment decision.
“With over 30 years of teaching, coaching and administrative work in public education, I just think that it’s time,” Ackerman said. “I’ve actually been thinking about this over the last couple of years as to when would be the time where I would retire. Maybe I’ll look for something else but as of now I don’t have anything planned.”
Ackerman has served as athletic director for MHS since July 1, 2016. He was also the athletic director at Grundy Center for 13 years prior to coming to Marshalltown, and he coached Spartan sports for 21 years.
With five months remaining on his contract, Ackerman said he thought it was a good idea to go ahead and announce his intentions.
“I wanted to announce it now so the school has the opportunity to go out and search for quality candidates,” he said. “The further it goes on, especially in administration, the further it goes on into March and April the pool of people that might be willing to move shrinks. By doing it now, there are other schools in the state that have administrative positions and athletic director positions, and now Marshalltown can be in that mix for people who might be looking for their next move or somebody else who is looking for an opportunity to move into a 4A experience.”
Ackerman also said he hasn’t kept the administration in the dark so they could properly prepare for his departure.
“I’ve had a lot of support from [Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte] and [Principal Jacque Wyant],” Ackerman said. “They appreciated that there was no sense waiting, I was ready to make the move now and just to make that announcement.”
The Bobcats have accomplished quite a lot in Ackerman’s short tenure. The Marshalltown boys golf team won a state title in the fall of 2017 in town at Elmwood Country Club, and the MHS bowling team has been a mainstay at the state championships.
In the last three years, Marshalltown has hosted the Class 4A boys state golf tournament and the girls state golf tournament, as well as the Class 1A girls golf state tournament. The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union decided to keep the girls state swimming championship in town at the Marshalltown YMCA/YWCA after the boys state meet was moved to Iowa City, and part of that decision was because of the work the MHS athletic department does to help run the event.
Ackerman has also overseen the hiring of multiple head coaches, including Adam Goodvin as the head of Bobcat football and Michael Appel as the head boys basketball coach.
“I really like the coaching staff that we have in place now, I think Goodvin is on the right path with football and Appel has done a fine job with basketball this year, and I just wish all the coaches we have here success,” Ackerman said. “I could name all the coaches I have enjoyed working with here and I wish nothing but the best for them as they move forward.”
Ackerman has also been involved in the continued renovation of the Roundhouse. Phase II of the Roundhouse renovation has been underway this school year, with much of the structure of the phase up now, and Ackerman said he is incredibly proud of the work that’s been done.
“The wrestling kids have already gotten to get in there and just watching the reaction of the students when they got to go in there for the first time last night to practice was something I won’t forget,” Ackerman said. “The new gym is going to be very nice and the Roundhouse renovations that we had were completed before I got here, but now we are making little additions. Whether it’s the hall of fame room or now we are working on the state championship recognition and adding some things to the hall of fame room, there are really some hall of fame coaches that for one reason or another hadn’t been recognized in there that we now have.”
As for his replacement, because of the state of Bobcat sports and the classification at which Marshalltown plays, Ackerman thinks there will be plenty of people interested in taking over his vacant position.
“It will be a state-wide search but who’s to say that there won’t be an internal candidate that might express interest and will show what they are looking for as far as what the school’s needs are and how they can be a good fit for Marshalltown and the Marshalltown community,” he said.
And when the new person steps into his shoes, Ackerman said there will be plenty of work for them to get their hands on.
“We do need to do some upgrading of some of our other facilities, but those aren’t things that are going to happen overnight. They are going to take two, three, four years to be able to put those into place, and the next person that comes into this position, that can be their challenge,” Ackerman said. “They can take that and put their own imprint on it. We’ve got some preliminary plans in place, but it will be up to the next person to work with the team we have here in Marshalltown and hopefully see that come through here in the next three or four years as well.”
Though his future is set, Ackerman said that doesn’t mean he’s done putting his stamp on MHS just yet.
“It’s been a great two and a half years and I still have five months to go, and we’ve got a lot to get done here in the next five months yet,” Ackerman said. “It’s overall been a great experience.”