Margaret “Meg” Schebler, Director of Athletics at Ashford University, has a list of responsibilities, seemingly a mile long, responsibilities that include coordinating all aspects of 17 intercollegiate athletics programs and developing and overseeing a $2.2 million operating budget.
“This is a good job,” Schebler said. “It’s a good gig; one where you go to work liking your job. I came here when it was Mount St. Clare College in 1998 as women’s athletic coordinator and softball coach. Then in three weeks I was appointed women’s basketball coach.
“I spent one year (1998-99) as softball coach and was basketball coach from 1998 until 2005 (when Mount St. Clare became Ashford University),” she said. “I was named athletic director when Shelia Smith was here right after former president Dr. Ross left.
Schebler is the all-time winningest coach at Ashford. She was a two-time Midwest Classic Conference (MCC) Coach of the Year —1998-99 and 2001-02 — and coached 10 NAIA All-Americans and 12 MCC All-Conference performers.
She was a 1986 graduate of Davenport Assumption High School where she participated in basketball, softball and cross country.
“I played (basketball) as a senior on a very balanced team — one freshman, two juniors and two seniors,” she said. “We lost only four games — all to North Scott. That season was the best team experience I ever had. There were three (college) Division I players but no egos. The problem was no height — no one was over 5-foot, 7-inches tall.”
Schebler then went to the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), graduating in 1990. Following graduation she taught and coached at Fort Madison Aquinas until 1996 when she went to Drake University. She remained at Drake until coming to Ashford (Mount St. Clare) in 1998.
“Our operation hasn’t changed in 14 years,” Schebler said. “The facilities have improved but not the operation. We have to set scheduling how the coaches wish and a budget to maintain. But there is no fund-raising as Ashford is a for-profit university.
“The coaches still schedule geographically, but there is no trouble scheduling. We get basketball set late in the year.
“We have to see how baseball pans out but volleyball, baseball, soccer and softball are done. The stadium (Ashford University Stadium formerly Riverview Stadium) is a blessing, a great facility.”
The questions about scheduling arise from Ashford’s move to the Association of Independent Institutions.
“Then each school will be power-ranked for tournament post-season play,” Schebler said. “Of course in cross country and golf all of the teams can be entered for (championship) competition in those sports.”
Schebler said she doesn’t have an offseason.
“Things never really, really, slow down,” she said. “It really picks up heavily about the first week in August. We have tennis and golf both in the fall and spring. Summer is the time most administration work is done.
“The toughest part? There really is no toughest part (as athletic director) it is just what is most challenging. You find whatever is most challenging and just meet it head on. Things here (Ashford) are just great – we have a good staff, good athletes, and great support.”
The first event scheduled for the upcoming school year is a men’s soccer match against Clarke College of Dubuque on Aug. 22.