Administrator Spotlight: Western Oregon's Barbara Dearing
Barbara Dearing will retire as Western Oregon athletic director in June, ending a four-decade career in collegiate athletics.
Barbara Dearing will retire as Western Oregon athletic director in June, ending a four-decade career in collegiate athletics.
Barbara Dearing
Barbara Dearing

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, uses this space to profile conference student-athletes, coaches, and administrators. Collectively, it is these individuals who make the GNAC one of the top NCAA Division II athletic conferences in the nation. 

Name: Barbara Dearing
Role: Athletic Director
School: Bob Jones University (undergraduate), Marshall University, Temple University, Franklin University (graduate)
Hometown: Prosperity, W.V.

Why Did You Decide To Work In Collegiate Athletics: It's what I always knew I wanted to do. I had athletic talent and I enjoyed helping people achieve their dreams. Collegiate athletics provided the best opportunity for me to be able to combine my talent and passion while helping others.

Who Has Influenced You The Most As A Professional - Either As An Inspiration, A Mentor Or Professionally: I've been fortunate in there have been several who have mentored and encouraged me to pursue a career in collegiate athletics. Both my high school coach and college major advisor advocated and encouraged me to "Shoot for the Stars" and "Think Big!" Their influence helped shape my resolve to pursue my dream of becoming a college coach and administrator at a time when there were very few women in college athletics administration (I could count on one hand the number of women athletic directors responsible for both the men's and women's athletic program).

There were two other athletics industry mentors who kept me focused on my goal of becoming an AD: Peg Bradley-Doppes, University of Denver vice chancellor of athletics and recreation and recreation center operations, and Jennifer Alley, retired executive director of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA, now known as Women Leaders In College Sports). Both helped shape my philosophy of keeping "student-athletes first" in decisions for athletics program growth. Their influence and mentoring helped me establish my approach for program operation:

1. What do we want to accomplish?
2. What's the message we want to send?
3. How do we want to deliver the message and to whom?
4. What would it look like if we made this decision?

They also reinforced the message of "You're always on the record" with your comments and actions as an administrator. Over the years I've tried to keep this mind in the performance of my daily duties.

Biggest Obstacle Overcome As A Professional: Determining to go back to school to complete the undergraduate prerequisites for admission into a MBA program, and then completing the MBA degree 20 years after I had completed my first graduate degree. I was working full-time in one position (40-hour work weeks) along with coaching 20 hours a week, so nights and weekends were dedicated to completing the coursework.

What Does Division II Mean To You: I've always embraced the Division II theme of "Life in the Balance." Having the opportunity to pursue both academics and athletic competition at the highest level possible, along with participation in service projects for both your campus and community, defines Division II. From my perspective, this has always been a winning combination: development of "citizen leaders" who will serve their communities in which they live and work once they have graduated and completed their collegiate playing days.

Extracurricular Activities: I enjoy the outdoors by hiking, camping, fishing and trying to play golf. I also enjoy classical music, jazz and opera. In recent years I've developed an interest in the Williamette Valley's award winning pinot noir wines.

Best Advice You Would Give To Student-Athletes: Don't let anyone take away your dreams! Determine who you are as a person, what talents you already have and what your passion is. Once you have made these decisions, find the platform that allows you to demonstrate your talents and passion, and that will also provide the opportunity for you to further develop and add new skills.

If You Could Spend The Day With One Person (Past Or Present), Who Would It Be And Why: Babe Didrikson Zaharias, who was named "Woman Athlete of the Half Century" in 1950 for her skills in basketball, track and field and golf. She did not allow her humble beginnings, or the social norms of the day, to stop her from achieving world records and playing professionally in the LPGA. I'd like to hear from her what it took to overcame the obstacles she faced, including her last battle with cancer. She was a pioneer in women's sport.

Favorite Sports Teams: Detroit Tigers for my American League team and the Philadelphia Phillies for my National League team. I've always been a baseball fan and one of my "bucket list" items is to visit every major league ball park. I've got four more to visit!

Favorite Athlete: Babe Didrikson Zaharias (see above).

Most Memorable Sports Related Moments: I have many, but the three that top my list are:

1. Walking into the ASA Hall of Fame Softball Stadium for the NCAA Division I College World Series, and seeing the stadium I had reviewed with other members of the NCAA Softball Committee 20 years before on a set of drawings developed with the Oklahoma City Sports Commission. It was a surreal moment because everything had come to life that was on those drawings. It was the Softball Committee saying "what would this look like if we did this", and then seeing it become a reality.

2. Western Oregon hosting its first ever NCAA Division II West Regional men's basketball tournament in Monmouth, winning its first-ever NCAA Division II West Regional Championship on WOU's home court in front of an amazing crowd while setting a NCAA record with zero turnovers in the game, and the team moving onto the Elite Eight and finishing as the national semi-finalist with a 31-4 record (best in school history). It was a historical season.

3. Watching WOU's 2017 men's distance medley relay team win the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championship title with a record time along with WOU sending six student-athletes to that national championship indoor meet and all six achieved All-american status (another first in WOU's history)!