Courtesy of Denison Athletics
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Denison University Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, Nan Carney-DeBord, has been selected as the 2018-19 Division III Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. She will be honored at the NACDA Convention this June in Orlando, Florida.
In her eighth year at the helm, Carney-DeBord has made a definitive impact on the Denison athletics department with her brand of competitive excellence. She returned to her alma mater in 2011 as the Director of Athletics and faculty chair of the Health, Exercise and Sport Studies major and was promoted to Associate Vice President in 2016. In returning to Denison, Carney-DeBord stepped away from one of the most successful careers in women’s basketball coaching history, with 433 victories and seven NCAA Tournament appearances in her 25 years at Ohio Wesleyan.
Denison University President Adam Weinberg said, “This is such a well-deserved honor. Under Nan’s leadership, Denison has developed one of the premier Division III athletic programs in the country. What I admire most about Nan is the way she has worked with our coaches to create a culture of mentorship, lateral learning, and performance. Our teams are winning, and they are doing so in ways that is preparing our students to succeed in their personal and professional lives. Nobody understands, is committed to, and contributes more to college athletics that Nan Carney-DeBord. She is a truly great Denisonian and I feel honored to work with her.”
“This is truly a team award from our leadership team, coaches and staff to our President, senior staff and board of trustees,” said Carney-DeBord. “The foundation is laid by the exceptional mentoring, leading, and character building of our coaches and athletics staff. Teamwork makes the dream work and success in Denison Athletics has been a direct result of all team members pulling in the same direction. It is an honor to serve my alma mater in this leadership role.”
Denison athletics’ foundation of competitive excellence is based on the values of trust, teamwork, integrity, leadership, growth mindset and diversity.
Athletics teams at Denison consistently perform at conference and national levels. Denison is one of only 10 colleges nationally — and the only college in the Midwest — that is recognized in the top 50 of both the U.S. News and World Report National Liberal Arts rankings and the Learfield Director’s Cup D-III standings.
This level of success is evident across all varsity sports. Denison won the North Coast Athletic Conference All-Sports Championship for a record 16th time in 2017-18. Highlights from that year included capturing the fourth NCAA national championship in men’s swimming and diving and the 10th consecutive conference championship. In addition, Denison’s women’s swimming and diving squad placed fourth in the nation. Overall, 42 Denison student-athletes have achieved All-American status and three individuals received CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades, running Denison’s total of Academic All-America selections to 91, which ranks DU amongst Division III’s national leaders in this prestigious category.
Aside from the successes on the playing fields, on the court, on the track and in the pool, Carney-DeBord has spearheaded growth within the department. Coaching and support staff have increased by more than 35 percent since her arrival and goodwill among alumni is tangible.
In addition to her role as Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, Carney-DeBord is a faculty member and chair of the Health, Exercise and Sport Studies (HESS) major, for which she provides vision and leadership. In the HESS major, students frame the sciences of health, exercise and sports within the liberal arts, providing a larger context to understand the whole person. A unique approach woven into the major is its mentorship focus. As each student progresses through the major, they collaborate with a faculty mentor who assists in the preparation of a professional philosophy narrative. Carney-DeBord’s vision has led HESS into one of the fastest growing majors on campus.
In her time as a Denison student-athlete herself, Carney-DeBord was a four-year letter winner in basketball and field hockey. A wing and point guard in basketball, she was a team captain and was named the team's Most Valuable Player as a senior. As a back on the DU field hockey squad, she was a three-year captain and helped lead the 1979 team to a 12-3-1 record. In 1998, she was inducted into Denison’s Varsity D Association Athletics Hall of Fame. She was inducted into Ohio Wesleyan’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016. In addition to her bachelor's degree in physical education from Denison, Carney-DeBord earned a Master of Arts in athletics administration from Kent State University.
Carney-DeBord currently serves as the liaison to field hockey for the NCAC and previously served as the liaison to men’s and women’s golf for the conference. She is an active member of the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) and Women’s Leaders in College Sports. She was a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Board of Directors from 2005-11 and previously attended the Myles N. Brand Center for Coaching Excellence.
Carney-DeBord and her husband, Jack, live in Granville and have two sons, Tyler and T.J.