Metzgar-Deacon Featured as 'Women in Sport' Panelist
In her third year at Western Oregon, Cori Metzgar-Deacon is in charge of the strength programs for all 13 of the Wolves' varsity sports.
In her third year at Western Oregon, Cori Metzgar-Deacon is in charge of the strength programs for all 13 of the Wolves' varsity sports.
Growing up in Juneau, Alaska, Metzgar-Deacon first developed an interest in weight lifting as a supplement towards her skiing competitions as a teenager.
Growing up in Juneau, Alaska, Metzgar-Deacon first developed an interest in weight lifting as a supplement towards her skiing competitions as a teenager.

Friday, April 11, 2014
by Evan O'Kelly, Media Relations Assistant

Eighth in a series

Previous Panelist Profiles
Lynda Goodrich, WWU (Jan. 24)
Kimberly Ford, NCAA (Jan. 31)
Chelsea Herman, Seattle University (Feb. 14)
Erin O'Connell, SPU (Feb. 28)
Katie Simons, SMU (March 20)
Tammy Dunn, SCSC (March 28)
Ariko Iso, OSU (April 4)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Hitting the slopes in Juneau, Alaska, as a kid growing up, competitive skiing was one of the many sports Cori Metzgar-Deacon was encouraged to participate in by her parents.

Her father Ronald Metzgar had played collegiate baseball and was a natural influence on his daughter’s early interest in athletics. Metzgar-Deacon’s mother, Beverly Deacon, proved to be equally as inspirational despite having missed out on the opportunities Ronald had during his youth.

“When my mom was growing up she didn’t really have the opportunities she would have liked,” Metzgar-Deacon said. “She encouraged all of my siblings but especially me to play sports from an early age.”

Today, Metzgar-Deacon serves as the Director of Sports Performance at Western Oregon University, coordinating the strength and conditioning programs for all 13 of the Wolves’ varsity sports teams.

Metzgar-Deacon will bring her experience to the Women in Sports Career Seminar, hosted by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference on May 17 at the Washington Convention and Trade Center in Seattle.

Currently in her third year at WOU, Metzgar-Deacon has established herself as a valuable resource for student-athletes as she applies her passion for weight lifting and conditioning towards her everyday work.

“Skiing is how I first got involved in lifting, and I started when I was 13 or 14,” Metzgar-Deacon recalled about the first time she was introduced to a weight room. “My parents were always very adamant that sports be a part of my life, and when I started lifting is when I remember really starting to love skiing more.”

Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., seemed to be a natural fit for the lifelong ski racer, as Metzgar-Deacon ventured into the lower 48 to pursue two of her passions.

“I played soccer and ski raced at Fort Lewis, and I studied exercise science as an undergraduate,” said Metzgar-Deacon. “When I was in high school, there weren’t very many jobs for women in athletics administration, but I had always loved training people.”

Originally following a path towards a degree in education, it was a work-study position Metzgar-Deacon obtained during her sophomore year of college that jolted her interest in pursuing strength and conditioning.

“I was an education major at first, and thought that I would be a teacher and coach,” Metzgar-Deacon said. “I started working with Dale Lloyd the strength coach at Fort Lewis, which really piqued my interest in training.” 

Until she began as a student assistant, Metzgar-Deacon was virtually unaware that being a strength coach was a viable career option. “I didn’t really even know that it was a career, but I remember when Dale told me he thought I would be good at it,” Metzgar-Deacon recalled. “I called my dad and I was really scared to tell him I was changing my major, but he was very happy and excited for me. Both of my parents have been my biggest supporters in my pursuit of this career.”

Metzgar-Deacon followed a lead to a graduate assistant position at Western Michigan University, where she earned a master’s degree in physical education. It was not until she was thrown into a lead role that she truly realized her passion for a seemingly unlikely sport.

“I had a job as an assistant at Colorado State, and when both the head and assistant strength coaches left, I ended up being in chare of the football program,” said Metzgar-Deacon. “I was nervous but we had a great summer of training and one of the best years of football that Colorado State had seen in a long time. 

“That was where I realized my passion for training football and that I loved the sport.”

The success Metzgar-Deacon experienced at Colorado State led to a job at a Division I program in Washington State University, where she spent three years as an assistant football strength coach. Taking the next step and moving into a full-time director position was only a matter of time, and when the opportunity arose at Western Oregon, Metzgar-Deacon took advantage of it. 

“I applied for the job at WOU but didn’t think I was going to leave the D-I level,” Metzgar-Deacon remembered. “I came down for an interview and just fell in love with it, so I called my husband and decided to take the job.”

The fit with the Wolves has worked out well thus far, but Metzgar-Deacon recalls facing doubt and discouragement throughout the path to her current position. 

“I have been at schools where head football strength coaches wouldn’t even let women into the weight room,” said Metzgar-Deacon. “Early on I knew that there would be obstacles, but I have encountered so many great people along the way and I try not to let the negativity get to me.”

Having the confidence to pursue a career filled with consistent judgment and preconceptions takes significant mental strength and determination. Doing so while maintaining a personal life and starting a family is an even tougher task, but is one that Metzgar-Deacon has embraced. 

“It was tough to decide to have a family but now that I have my daughter she has brought great balance to me,” Metzgar-Deacon said of her young daughter Reba. “She has shown me what true happiness is, and I love going to work and coming home to be with this little one.”

Home for Metzgar-Deacon is now Monmouth, Ore., a far stretch from her original roots in Alaska. “It’s kind of funny because I had always wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest,” Metzgar-Deacon commented on ending up in Oregon. “I have always believed that if you have something in your head that you want for yourself, that if you work hard enough you can make it happen.” 

The journey to arrive at WOU was not without tribulation, but Metzgar-Deacon’s strength continues to grow every day that she spends mentoring her student-athletes. 

“It has been a 16-year journey since I started graduate school, and I just think about all of the kids I have met and worked with and how much they’ve developed,” Metzgar-Deacon said. “To me that is the most rewarding part, seeing them grow into themselves as confident, wonderful human beings with morals, discipline and a strong work ethic.”

When Metzgar-Deacon sits among fellow women who have succeeded in athletics careers during the Women in Sports Career Seminar, she hopes to convey a powerful and inspirational message to attendees.

“I’d like to speak on the idea that you can have it all, and it’s all about how you balance your life,” Metzgar-Deacon said. “For me, it is not just about lifting some steel. It’s about finding who you are and what drives and motivates you to see what you can accomplish.”

For more information on the Women in Sports Career Seminar, visit the "related links" section of this article. To register now for the event, click here.