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Coss: PV principal has grander vision for MAC

Coss: PV principal has grander vision for MAC

It is a pipe dream at this point.

After the Mississippi Athletic Conference accepted Central DeWitt's request for membership last Wednesday, I asked Pleasant Valley principal and MAC chairperson Mike Zimmer if the league was satisfied moving forward as a 10-team conference again.

In an age where the Central Iowa Metropolitan League has 18 schools, the Mississippi Valley Conference includes 16 and the River Valley Conference features 14, super conferences are becoming the trend. 

Zimmer has a bigger vision for the MAC, one he realizes won't happen in the next couple of years or probably in the next five. Maybe never. 

"I want to create a super conference that mirrors the I-380 corridor like the (Mississippi Valley Conference) does," Zimmer said. "I want to establish a Highway 61 corridor."

For that to happen, Zimmer needs the four Dubuque schools — Hempstead, Senior, Wahlert and Western Dubuque — to leave the MVC.

That seems unlikely given Western Dubuque just joined the MVC a year ago, and it wouldn't make sense for the Dubuque schools to separate from each other.

When the MAC was exploring its options to replace Burlington last summer, Zimmer reached out to the four Dubuque schools. 

Zimmer believes if districts like Clear Creek Amana, Marion and even Solon continue to grow, it isn't far-fetched to think they could become 4A programs and possibly be a fit for the MVC in the next decade.

According to the Iowa Department of Education BEDS, CCA has gone from 418 students in grades 9-11 two years ago to 491 this year. Marion has climbed from 486 to 519. Solon is slightly up, 342 to 350. 

If that hike continues, that could create an opportunity for the MAC to pounce on the Dubuque schools.

Zimmer said it could create a nice setup of two, seven-team divisions. You'd have the four Dubuque schools, Central DeWitt, Clinton and North Scott in the northern division. The southern division would be comprised of the four Davenport schools, Bettendorf, Muscatine and PV.

Zimmer didn't stop there.

"Mark my words, Maquoketa is going to come calling because it is the odd (school) out right now," Zimmer said. "They're right on Highway 61. 

"And I have no doubt, at some point, Burlington will want to come back in. A super conference would allow for that. There is room for growth, and there is something for everybody competition-wise."

With Central DeWitt's departure from the Wamac, the league becomes 13 schools. That is unfavorable for scheduling purposes. 

At this stage, I'm not sure there is a viable replacement for Central DeWitt. It could lead to further shuffling. 

"You're seeing some of these communities like in western Dubuque, (Tiffin) or North Liberty where all these new homes are going up and those people commute to work in the bigger cities," Zimmer said. "Those districts are getting bigger."

As for the present, Zimmer said Central DeWitt's arrival is a step in the right direction. He just doesn't want it to be the last one. 

"I'm going to keep planting that seed with the Dubuque schools," Zimmer said. "Down the road, who knows what could happen?"


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Sports Editor

Sports editor, with my emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 19 years, the last seven at the Q-C Times.

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