Derek Zander Joins Westminster College to Lead the Athletic Department and Other Strategic Initiatives


Fulton, Mo. – Westminster is pleased to announce a new strategic leadership team in the Department of Athletics that is headed by Derek Zander, the College’s new Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Athletics Advancement, and Strategic Programs. Derek will also be a member of the President’s Cabinet.

Derek Zander, Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Athletics Advancement, and Strategic Programs

Zander began his new position with the 172-year-old college on May 31, 2023, after a successful 11-year tenure at Iowa Wesleyan University, where he most recently served as Vice President for Advancement and Athletics.

President and Chief Transformation Officer Donald P. Lofe, Jr., notes that Zander excels at strategic and visionary thinking.

“I sincerely believe Derek’s strengths in these areas will translate into his strong leadership of the College’s intercollegiate athletics program and other advancement and strategic initiatives,” Lofe explained. “I am confident that he is the right candidate for the job, which is an important one, considering that well over 50 percent of our students are varsity athletes.”

Zander is enthusiastic about bringing his expertise to Westminster after leading Iowa Wesleyan’s athletics programs, which thrived despite the current challenges facing higher education.

“I would like to thank President Lofe and the Westminster College Board of Trustees for the opportunity to serve the College in this capacity. Westminster is a special place where students excel academically and athletically, and I am pleased to be a part of this historic institution,” Zander said.

Prior to his vice presidential role at Iowa Wesleyan, Zander served in a variety of other capacities, including Assistant Athletic Director, NCAA Compliance Officer, Head Baseball Coach, and Assistant Baseball Coach.

Born in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Zander grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science in 2011 from Iowa Wesleyan, where he played baseball.

In 2014, Zander received a master’s degree in Coaching and Administration from the University of Concordia-Irvine. He and his wife, Anna, are the parents of two sons, Mason (6) and Gavin (2).

Todd Creal, Associate Director of Athletics

Together, Zander and Lofe recently named Todd Creal ― who previously served as Interim Associate Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics ― the College’s new Associate Director of Athletics.

Creal will also remain Head Men’s Basketball Coach and Women’s Golf Coach.

Creal took on his interim role throughout the past year after Matt Mitchell, who previously served as Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, ended his 25-year tenure with the department to become Westminster’s Director of Development and Major Gifts Officer.

“On behalf of Westminster, both Derek and I want to thank Todd for all of his hard work and dedication to our coaches and students during this time of transition. So many of us at the College appreciated his willingness to serve in all of these capacities this past year,” Lofe said.

Talisha Washington, Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Women’s Administrator

Lofe and Zander also recently announced Fulton native Talisha Washington, Class of 2013, as Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Women’s Administrator. Talisha plays an instrumental part in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SLIAC) and Westminster College Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Councils, focusing on creating campus-wide initiatives for staff, coaches, and student-athletes.

Additionally, Washington will retain her previous role as Head Women’s Basketball Coach.

Lofe said that both he and Zander sincerely congratulate Creal and Washington on their new titles and are looking forward to an exciting year. He added, “Their promotions with the Department of Athletics are well-deserved.”

Karen Tompson-Wolfe and Tyler Oberlag will round out the newly formed leadership team. Tompson-Wolfe, long-time faculty member and current Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR), will assist in ensuring academics and athletics continue to work together for the betterment of the student-athlete population. As Westminster looks to grow the awareness and publicity of Blue Jay athletics, Oberlag’s expertise and skills as the Sports Information Director will provide valuable insight to help the College accomplish this goal.

Lofe said, “Additionally, my wife, Lorraine, and I personally welcome the Zander family to the Westminster and local communities. We are excited to see Derek contribute to the College’s mission by leveraging intercollegiate athletics to provide an environment conducive to student learning.”

ABOUT WESTMINSTER COLLEGE: Founded in 1851 and home of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech, Westminster College in Fulton is ranked prestigiously by U.S. News & World Report as the only National Liberal Arts College in Missouri. It is also listed as one of the top institutions in the country for economic mobility and return on investment, placing in the top 16 percent for graduate earnings with a more than 90 percent placement rate. Westminster is a Forbes Best Value College that focuses on educating and inspiring students to make an impact on the world around them. To find out more about Westminster, please visit our website at

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Sarah Backer at 573-220-9038 or

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.