Deidre Pierson, Hamilton’s new associate athletic director, has responsibilities that take her from her office to the classroom to courtside. She’s also senior woman administrator, NCAA athletics diversity and inclusions designee, director of compliance, and associate professor of physical education.
Since 2020, Pierson has been Hamilton’s assistant women’s basketball coach, coming to the position after four years of coaching in the Liberty League. Prior to coaching, she worked in the legal, compliance, and financial services fields for more than 20 years. As a student, Pierson played Division I basketball at Boise State University.
We asked her to answer three questions. Here’s what she had to say.
What do you most look forward to in your new position?
Engaging with the coaches and student-athletes of our 29 sports to see how I can best help support their efforts in competing at a high level within the NESCAC. It will take some time to get to know all the student athletes; however, it is my hope that I will help make their academic and athletic experience memorable through their participation in varsity sports. I’m also looking forward to collaborating with faculty and staff to help support our physical education offerings and the overall activity and wellness efforts of the campus community.
You’ve conducted and presented research on diversity and inclusion in intercollegiate athletics. What drives your interest in this issue?
Though I am a recipient of the many 1972 Title IX equity in athletics programs in intercollegiate athletics, and though we have seen the number of underrepresented populations fill positions of leadership within intercollegiate athletics over the last several decades, there are still many inequities that require our attention. My interests continue to rest with the lived experiences and perceptions of underrepresented populations in coaching, in addition to the lived experiences of those in allyship positions within the field.
How has playing at the Division I level informed your professional life?
Playing Division I basketball — rather college athletics in general — helped build resiliency, adaptability, perseverance, and it fostered the importance of teamwork and collaboration. I was able to take those skills and apply them throughout my career in the corporate sphere. When I returned to athletics as a coach, these same skills permeated my daily interactions. Now that I’ve transitioned to athletics in an administrative capacity, these skills are ever more necessary in dealing with the societal issues of today. I hope to find ways to offer mentorship to Hamilton students and to pass along some of the insights I acquired and continue to gain in my professional life.
I will add that the recent unexpected passing of June Daugherty, my head coach while at Boise State University, and the many coaches I have worked for and with, highlight the tremendous impact coaches and college athletics have on young minds. As such, I aim to help support coaches and student athletes navigate their athletic and academic pursuits at Hamilton in a safe, mindful, and fulfilling way.