After an 18-year Hiram career, Director of Athletics, Ellen Dempsey, has announced that she will be stepping down from the athletic director's chair at the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year.
Despite no longer serving in the Athletic Director role, Dempsey, a long-time Terrier, is not yet finished leaving her mark on the institution as a whole. Following the conclusion of this school year, Dempsey will take on the role of major gifts officer.
"Though I have dedicated my entire career to collegiate athletics, it is these last 18 years at Hiram College which I have enjoyed and treasured the most," commented Dempsey. "The support, guidance, passion and collegiality that exist at Hiram, and the North Coast Athletic Conference, has made this experience truly amazing."
Dempsey began her Hiram tenure as the head women's volleyball coach in 2001, following 11 years serving multiple facets at the NCAA Division I level. With Dempsey at the helm of the program, the Terriers, who were new on the scene in the NCAC, quickly rose to prominence.
In her first season, Hiram posted a 17-17 mark. That would prove to be the lowest winning percentage of her Division III coaching career, as the Terriers put together 10-consecutive winning seasons. Dempsey's all-time Hiram coaching record of 267-113 stands as the gold standard for Terrier coaches, while her .811 winning percentage in conference play makes Dempsey the winningest coach in all sports in Hiram College history.
In her 11 seasons with the Terriers, Hiram clinched two regular-season championships, appeared in 11-consecutive NCAC Tournaments, making the championship match eight times, and winning it all in 2006. Additionally, the Terriers qualified for the NCAA National Tournament four times. Her players also collected many honors as she coached 18 All-NCAC honorees, including three Players of the Year; seven AVCA All-Region selections, and three AVCA All-Americans (Megan Taylor, Michelle Kozempa and Shana Toth).
While in the midst of her coaching tenure, Dempsey also started her career as a Division III administrator, becoming the Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Women's Administrator in 2004. She spent seven years in that role until being promoted to Associate Athletic Director during the 2011-12 academic year.
Dempsey was named the school's Director of Athletics in July of 2012 and has held the title ever since, helping bring her coaching/mentoring style to the rest of the athletic department.
During her time as the Director of Athletics for the Terriers, Dempsey not only reshaped the Hiram athletics landscape, but also spearheaded or had a hand in multiple renovations to both facilities and curriculum on Hiram's Campus.
Recently, the campus saw steady improvements to multiple facilities, including upgrades to Henry Field, Price Gymnasium, the Alumni Memorial Pool, Bill Belichick Olympic Lifting Center, Fishel Field at Proverbs Park, and the addition of the Integrated Exercise Science classroom and lab; all of which came with Ellen at the helm.
In addition to the upgrades in playing surfaces and facilities, Dempsey was also the co-author of the proposal to add an Integrated Exercise Science major, which is now a part of Hiram's curriculum.
Dempsey has been at the forefront in adding new opportunities for college athletes, as she proposed and facilitated the addition of Men's Volleyball (2016-17) and Women's Cheer/STUNT (2018-19).
"In my time at Hiram that are two things that I am most thankful for; the seemingly never ending stream of faculty, staff and students that are willing to come together, and an amazing environment in which to work, play and live," remarked Dempsey. "I look forward to the opportunity to use my Hiram experiences in my new role as a major gifts officer and continuing to support the great work of our students, faculty and staff.
"Hiram has given me much and I am very appreciative of the opportunity that has been presented. Go Terriers!"