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Award-Winning Administrator Brings Years of Outstanding Academic and Athletic Achievement

River Forest, Illinois – Dominican University President Dr. Glena G. Temple announced today that Dr. John Planek has been appointed as the director of intercollegiate athletics at Dominican University. 

Planek will begin his new position at Dominican on Nov. 6. He will report to Genaro A. Balcazar, senior vice president for enrollment and marketing strategy.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Planek and his years of experience in collegiate athletics to Dominican,” Temple said. “Dr. Planek understands the importance of athletes excelling in their chosen sport while also achieving in the classroom. I know I speak for the university community when I say how eager I am to see the new level of excellence that his leadership will bring to our student-athletes and our athletics program as a whole.”

“I would like to thank President Temple and SVP Genaro A. Balcazar for having the confidence in me to enhance the intercollegiate student-athlete experience,” Planek said. “With back-to-back record enrollment for first-year students at Dominican and an administration that is motivated to be athletically successful, this opportunity in my own backyard makes this a great fit for me personally and professionally.”

For the past 12 years, Planek has administered the intercollegiate athletic department of Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, a Division II school that has achieved unprecedented success under his direction. Currently, three of Lewis’ teams are nationally ranked, including women’s cross country (8), men’s cross country (11), and women’s volleyball (14). 

Planek’s leadership also contributed to success in the classroom with a total of 299 Lewis University student-athletes selected to the 2022-23 Academic All-Great Lakes Valley Conference Team, representing the most selections in school history. The Academic All-GLVC honor is awarded to student-athletes with a cumulative GPA of 3.30 for the academic year. During his tenure, the Lewis Athletics Department also received the Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence, awarded to any Division II institution that achieves a four-year academic success rate of 90% or higher for seven consecutive years. 

Under his direction, Lewis recently completed successful renovations of its athletic facilities, including new turf fields for baseball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse, along with a new track and refinished tennis courts.

An award-winning administrator, Planek was named a NACDA 2016-17 Athletics Director of the Year and has an extensive athletic background, previously serving as athletic director at Loyola University and Saint Ignatius High School in Chicago. He also served as an associate athletic director at DePaul University. 

He graduated from fellow Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference member Illinois Tech with a business degree and was a baseball team member. Planek also possesses a master’s degree in sports management and a Ph.D. in education leadership.

"I hope to bring to Dominican a vision that can enhance the athletic department and have the department enjoy the same excellence and growth the school is enjoying," he said. "I envision the student-athletes having a premier Division III experience and to be the school of choice for Division III athletics in the Chicagoland area."

Planek has called nearby Oak Park home for the last 50 years. He is steeped in the Dominican mission as he is a fully professed Lay Dominican. Planek attended Fenwick High School as did he and his wife Mary’s five children. 


About Dominican University     

Founded in 1901, Dominican University is a comprehensive, coeducational Catholic institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees through the Rosary College of Arts and Sciences, the Borra College of Health Sciences, the Brennan School of Business and the College of Applied Social Sciences. The university also offers doctoral degrees in information studies and applied social justice. U.S. News & World Report ranks Dominican University #11 out of all Midwest regional master’s level universities, #1 in the Midwest for Best Value and #1 in Illinois for innovation and ensuring the social mobility of its graduates. Dominican University has been a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution since 2011.