The mission of the Georgia State Athletic Department is dedicated to “shaping champions for today and leaders for tomorrow.”
Many times, that can extend to other areas, like helping young coaches grow into successful mentors and allowing other administrators to take on new roles or climb the ranks within their specific field. The student-athletes are our first priority, but making sure we have the best support system around them is also crucial.
Dena Freeman-Patton, who is in charge of the academic support area (also called student-athlete development) and has been at GSU since 2007 and also had a previous stint as a graduate assistant with Panthers in the late 1990s, recently had a first-hand experience helping up-and-coming athletic administrators who are looking to some day guide programs across the country. Here are a few of her thoughts she was able to share before heading to the Sun Belt Conference meetings this week with other academic coordinators:
“I was fortunate to be able to participate on a panel at the Emerging Administrators Academy in Atlanta over the weekend. The conference is designed for people who would like to work in collegiate athletic administration but are still growing in their career. I was able to represent Georgia State University and speak about how the Student-Development Office works to assist our student-athletes to be successful in the classroom while at the same time pursuing their athletic goals. It was great to be an instructor during the inaugural year of the academy. Other instructors included: host Tim Duncan, director of athletics at Paine College; Dr. Derrick Gragg, director of athletics at the University of Tulsa; Dr. Tamica Smith-Jones, director of athletics at Clark Atlanta University; Dave Brunk, the Peach Belt Conference Commissioner; and other great administrators.”