first_imgThe Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee has announced the addition of Ciara Kissane and Tanner Nissen to its staff. Kissane and Nissen join the staff as the assistant directors of the Drake Relays with Kissane overseeing operations and Nissen tasked with managing event production.”I’m excited to welcome Ciara and Tanner to the Drake Relays staff,” said Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays. “Both of them have tremendous experience and backgrounds that build upon the Drake Relays’ legacy as ‘America’s Athletic Classic.”Kissane and Nissen replace Carolyn Hill, who announced her retirement last year and Dan Hostager, who recently left the Drake Relays in November after more than 20 years of service to Drake University. Hostager had overseen the Drake Road Races the past two years and was instrumental in the event’s popularity and growth.”In his two decades at Drake, Dan created a legacy of kindness within Drake Athletics and the Drake Relays,” Boldon said. “As a coach, he mentored many Bulldog greats including two of America’s best current long-distance runners, Brogan Austin and Reed Fischer. As the Assistant Relays Director, he created the Relays Health and Fitness Expo and the Relays Wellness Challenge, both designed to improve the health of Central Iowans. In just two years, Dan’s efforts led to 90 percent growth in the Drake Road Races and he quickly made his mark on all our events.”Kissane joins the Drake Relays staff with more than seven years of coaching experience, along with progressive sports administration experience. Before coming to Drake, she was the head cross country and track coach at Lake Forest College in Illinois. “With experience as a head track and field coach and the director of operations at a Division I school with a record of hosting major championships, Ciara is the perfect fit for the Drake Relays,” Boldon said. “She will serve as a leader in our sport and a resource for coaches, officials and more for years to come.”Kissane’s coaching experience also includes stints at Canisius and Coe College. She has also worked in administrative roles at UW Oshkosh, the University at Buffalo and Sacramento State, where she was the director of operations for the track and field programs.”Having spent time coaching in Iowa and around the country, I have seen firsthand the lasting impact that the Drake Relays has made on the sport of track and field,” Kissane said. “I am looking forward to playing a role in the future of such an iconic event.”Kissane graduated from UW Oshkosh in 2012 with her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. She then graduated from Florida State University in 2013 with a master’s degree in sports management. Nissen joins the Relays staff from Special Olympics Iowa, where he is the assistant director of sports and competition. In that role, Nissen oversees event operations and logistics, as well as coordinating with Special Olympics North America for national and international events.”Tanner has a demonstrated record of success as an event director,” Boldon said. “But what has impressed me most is his passion for creating exceptional experiences for all event attendees and his sincere desire to contribute to our community.”Nissen also has extensive experience in operations management from his time with the Principal Charity Classic and the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA G League.”To be a part of the Drake Relays and the national prestige it holds is very humbling,” Nissen said. “I am excited to serve in this role to use sports as a vehicle to bring communities together.” Nissen is a 2015 cum laude graduate from Northwestern College with a degree in business and sports management.  Prior to moving to Iowa for college, Nissen was a multi-sport prep athlete qualifying for the California State Cross Country Championships as a senior. The staff continues preparations for the 111th Drake Relays, slated for April 22-25, 2020, at Drake Stadium. Print Friendly Versionlast_img