|Denison AD Nan Carney-DeBord|
Title: Director of Athletics and Recreation; Chair, Physical Education
I am originally from ... South Jersey. A jersey girl!
Why do you have an awesome job? Having the opportunity to serve in a leadership position at one’s alma mater is a privilege. But, working with the staff in Athletics, Recreation, Physical Education and the faculty and administrative leaders at Denison, is an honor.
When did you know you wanted to be a an Athletic Director? My passion is in leadership development. Being a Director of Athletics and Academic Chair is one forum in which I can put theory into practice.
Favorite thing about Denison? There are many. First and foremost, the students. They are curious. They have a thirst for knowledge. They question, they research, they question again. They are engaged. The faculty is advanced. They challenge the student and nurture simultaneously. It’s magic. They are incredible leaders completely dedicated to their professional growth and development in teaching, research and leadership in an effort to better serve the student. Like the Denison mission statement, the Division III “inspires and educates students to become autonomous thinkers, discerning moral agents and active citizens of a democratic society.”
Favorite thing about the NCAC? Its broad-based programming. Its philosophy of equity: athletically & academically
How would you describe the philosophy of NCAA Div. III? It is one of balance, self-exploration, integrated thought and worldwide view. Division III is a pure form of athletic competition. It has always been my belief that competition is a neutral term. Our student-athletes are fierce competitors, in the playing arena and in the classroom.
How did your collegiate experience help to prepare you to be an administrator at the Div. III level? Being a dual-sport athlete at Denison transformed me. I was exposed to some of the greatest mentors, role models, and teammates. It is not surprising that many of my teammates are in leadership positions and that my mentors have continued to grow and succeed in their own professions.
Which historical sporting event would you have liked to witness? The Harry Vardon vs. Francis Willmette Early 1900’s Golf Match.
What's the most impressive meal you've ever cooked? The only domestic quality I have is that I live in a house!
What’s your favorite sports team/Who’s your favorite athlete? Other than ALL OF THE DENISON TEAMS ... The Red Sox. Favorite athlete: Jackie Robinson
How has your experience been in making sure that student-athletes have a balance among athletics and academics at Denison? Much of the on-going balance can be attributed to the work of my predecessors, since I am a newcomer to this position. Larry Scheiderer is a tough act to follow, so I will choose, instead, to walk beside and hopefully continue to enhance the rich tradition of the past 20 years as well as the history of success that is deeply embedded in Denison athletics.
Why did you choose to work at a NCAA Division III institution? There comes a point in time in one’s career in athletics where you find your identity. I teetered with other Divisions and realized that the Division III is my calling.
When you find your niche and you view it as the ultimate, you are much more able to thrive in your environment. If you are constantly looking for ‘more’ or ‘better’, you may miss the “prize”. I believe that the Division III is the quintessential athletics division in the NCAA. That belief carries me and challenges me to pursue excellence in all that we do, each and every day.
What did you do before this? I was a full professor of Physical Education, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Ohio Wesleyan University. I also coached field hockey and was an athletic administrator for much of my career.
What do you do all day? My administrative assistant would say, “I go to meetings!!!” I did have 47 meetings from August 11 – September 13th. However, there is not enough room in this blog to talk about all of the details!!
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why? Probably a chemistry professor. In an effort to be a successful athletics department, you need stellar leaders in many roles, but ultimate success comes from TEAM chemistry and I enjoy studying that phenomenon!!! :)
People may be surprised to know that ... I love to slalom water ski and continue to have the strength to do so.
If you are stranded on an island, you would like to be with ... My boys!!
Are there any major obstacles that you’ve had to overcome when dealing with Div. III athletics? Resources are probably most directors’ biggest challenge.
Do you have any hidden talents that very few people know about? I play the piano, I was in a rock band in high school (but who wasn’t if you lived in NJ!), I write limericks.
What has been your most memorable moment in your administrative career at your institution? In administration, seeing the growth and development of women’s programs since the 80’s.
Or over your entire career? As a coach, advancing to the Final Four of the National Tournament in basketball. We were competing with programs with more resources in terms of budgets and staffing, and there we were. Sitting on my bookshelf is a clay woman’s dress shoe. In side it reads: 2001 “Cinderella TEAM”. It’s a good looking trophy, for sure!
What are the toughest issues facing Div. III athletes today? I believe achieving balance. There is so much pressure to practice more; play longer; thrive in the classroom and be social human beings, with developing moral and ethical foundations. It is difficult to center oneself with all there is to experience through technology in our global society.
What’s currently playing on your I-Pod? Yikes: Bach, Beethoven, Black Eyed Peas, Pit Bull, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Usher and more…… OK, really? Yes!
What do you feel are the most rewarding aspects of being a college administrator at the Div. III level, and what may be some of the least rewarding aspects of the job? Most rewarding is creating an environment where your coaches & staff are working at an optimum level of motivation with the student’s interest at the forefront of their effort.
Most difficult: creating a long-range, strategic plan that will hold interest and include buy-in.
Least rewarding: having to say “No” more often than “Yes”!
What is your most prized possession? My Bible and…..my photos…………past and present.
What are some of the life lessons that you believe student athletes can learn by competing at the Div. III level? Athletics is a microcosm of our society. The skills learned through athletic competition are all transferable, ie: discipline, persistence, self-awareness, emotional control, following a plan, agony and ecstasy of winning or losing the close contest, leadership, team/group productivity.
What would be your advice for someone that is considering enrolling as a student-athlete at a NCAA Div. III institution? You can do it all, if you are creative with your time. ‘Time Management” is an overused term, as is 'balance'. It is really about creatively carving your time and interests at a given time in your development, physically and cognitively.
If you could be NCAC Commissioner for a day, what's the first thing you'd do? Recognize Dennis Collins by demonstrating the ideals and vision he had for the conference. I would also create an award for Keri Alexander Luchowski…..it would be the “unsung hero” award for patience, persistence, and the vision to follow a plan!
If you could excel at any competitive sport (other than your own) which would you choose? Quidditch
My favorite sports memory is … As a player, winning the South Jersey Championship in Field Hockey in 1976!!
As a coach, advancing to the Final Four in 2001.
As an administrator, observing four national championships: one in men’s basketball in 1988; three in men’s and women’s soccer. …all at Ohio Wesleyan University.
Any Pet Peeves? Negative attitudes + negative lateral communication = negative energy!
Best/worst summer job? Being a dental assistant in my Dad’s dental office. In the 70’s, we didn’t use latex gloves (the worst part)!
Realizing that “psychology” was fundamental to Dentistry ... no one REALLY ever wants to go to the dentist and people in pain are not at their best. I enjoyed realizing that challenging environment (the best part!).