THE ATHLETE IN CHARGE
Director of Athletics, University of Charleston
SUPERPOWER: Motivating others
Even before becoming the school’s legendary director of athletics, Bren Stevens was no stranger to sports at the University of Charleston. During her time there as a student, she was a four-sport athlete competing on the volleyball, basketball, softball, and rowing teams. Stevens says, most modern college athletes select fewer sports to focus their specializations. But it built upon the competitive nature she’d formed as a kid growing up south of Boston, playing sports with neighborhood boys. That spirit persists to this day. “I’m a competitor to the core,” she says.
Stevens always knew she wanted to pursue careers in education and coaching. “I had that passion, and I had some great teachers along the way that I absolutely loved,” she says. And now, the career she has cultivated is one that’s so impressive, so sprawling, that it’s difficult to concisely summarize. Nearly two decades as UC’s head volleyball coach led to the leadership position she now holds. She was named the Nike Executive of the Year by Women Leaders in College Sports. She has served on many NCAA committees, worked on mentor programs for women and other disadvantaged groups, and seen more than 75 UC teams advance to the NCAA tournament during her tenure as director of athletics. The foundation of all of this? Stevens absolutely loves motivating others to reach their full potential and become better leaders themselves. “I think that’s probably what I’m most passionate about.”
Her work is made all that much more special by the setting. “This is my alma mater,” Stevens says. “Having the opportunity to come back and work at where you went to school—I think that’s really special. I don’t know that many people get to do that. And so I feel like I get to give back to the university that gave me so much.”
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