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President's Insider Blog

February 2021 


It’s a great time to be a fan of the Drake Bulldogs. If you follow me on Twitter, you know how much fun I am having watching our men’s and women’s basketball teams play this season. Both teams have a high level of energy on the court and bring a competitive spirit to every game. Our volleyball team is also having an outstanding year, including opening the season with victories over in-state rival UNI.

Our men’s basketball team is attracting national attention after a historic 18-0 start to the season. The Bulldogs currently sit at 22-2, have a share of the lead in the Missouri Valley Conference, and secured a Top 25 national ranking for the first time since 2008. The team counts Dick Vitale among its fans – he has praised the men’s dynamic play on the air and on social media.

There are many reasons to celebrate our women’s and men’s basketball programs, as their commitment to excellence extends beyond athletic performance to academics and service. This dedication begins at the top with our head coaches, Jennie Baranczyk and Darian DeVries, who prioritize education and foster a culture of leadership and responsibility to community within their programs.

Our basketball teams’ accomplishments over the past few years include:

  • Drake is ranked 7th nationally in combined men’s and women’s wins in the past three seasons. During the calendar year 2020, no program in Iowa won as many games combined as the Drake men’s and women’s teams.
  • The women’s team achieved a team GPA of 3.5 or better in seven-straight semesters.
  • Prior to the pandemic, the women’s team had seven straight years of performing 1,000 or more hours of community service. This August, the men’s team volunteered for community clean up after the derecho caused widespread damage in Iowa.
  • The women’s team produced two Academic All-Americans for two consecutive years. Drake was the only Division I program in the country with two student-athletes on the women’s basketball Academic All-America teams. Since the 2014-15 season, Drake women’s basketball leads the nation with five Academic All-Americans.
  • The women’s team won three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference titles and made the NCAA Tournament three straight seasons. (The 2019-20 team was projected to make the tournament for the fourth consecutive year before it was canceled last March.)
  • This season, the men’s team recorded the best start in school history and one of the best starts by an Iowa or Missouri Valley Conference team in the past 50 years.

I am proud of what these teams have accomplished and I look forward to seeing where the rest of this season takes them. Their achievements on the court, in the classroom, and in our community would not be possible without support from the Bulldog Club, which directly impacts the student-athlete experience, as well as The Drake Fund. I remain grateful for everything you do to ensure the success of our students and student-athletes in their endeavors. Thank you again for your support.



Marty Martin

President, Drake University