Verona has named Joel Zimba as athletic director, according to a release on Friday from Verona area school district public information officer Kelly Kloepping.

Joel Zimba mug


Zimba will replace Mark Kryka, who had 36 years at Verona, including 30 years as athletic director.

The starting date for Zimba will be July 8, Kloepping said. 

Most recently, Zimba served as associate director for annual giving at Valparaiso University.

That job made sure alumni had the opportunity to achieve philanthropic goals through annual gifts, sustaining resources, generating opportunities and securing an educational experience for current and future students, according to the release.

Zimba was born in Maputo, Mozambique, Africa. He moved at a young age to the United States, and was raised in Madison.

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Zimba is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. He received a bachelor's degree in Afro-American Studies - Intergroup Relations.

Zimba's passion for sports led him to Valparaiso University in Indiana, where he received his master's degree in Sports Administration.

He joined the men’s basketball team as a graduate manager, then was promoted to director of basketball operations where he managed day-to-day operations including team budget, travel itineraries, camps, recruit visits, team gear and overseeing the managerial team and player academics, according to the release.

The Crusaders won 69 games in his three years with the program – including a school-record 30 victories in 2015-16 – and captured two regular-season league championships.

His team earned a bid to the NIT in Zimba's first two years and advanced to the NIT title game in 2015-16.

Outside of sports, Zimba was integral in coordinating the InterCultural Dialogues at UW, a credited Ethnic-Studies course that promotes sociological analysis, intercultural understanding, and social justice on campus.

More than 1,000 students have participated in the course.


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Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.