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Colorado Mesa University Names Joan McDermott as Interim Director of Athletics

Today, Colorado Mesa University President John Marshall named Joan McDermott interim CMU Director of Athletics. McDermott is a longstanding NCAA Division II professional whose career at Metropolitan State University Denver (MSU Denver) included programs that consistently ranked in the top 10% of the NACDA Learfield Cup with a 13th finish in 2009. Her appointment is official as of March 7 with McDermott starting her role at CMU on March 27. 

“The Maverick athletic community is pleased Joan has agreed to join our team in CMU Athletics,” said Marshall. “She brings a winning record with decades of experience, and more importantly brings an authentic emphasis on student-athletes that is exemplified over her entire career. Joan’s heart is in Division II athletics, and we’re thrilled to make her new university home Colorado Mesa University, where her love of supporting student-athletes and transforming them into future community leaders matches her desire to win. I am excited to see her impact on CMU Athletics.”    

McDermott brings to CMU Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) experience that includes two decades of success serving as director of athletics at MSU Denver from 1998-2015. During her tenure, McDermott led the university’s management, administrative and supervisory aspects of NCAA Division II athletics including fundraising, personnel administration, promotions, marketing, facility management, NCAA compliance as well as the budget for 16 sports, 240 student-athletes and 36 employees.   

“I become a Maverick today as I proudly stand on my previous record and successes in Colorado NCAA Division II Athletics,” said McDermott. “I am honored by the opportunity to serve CMU. When I look back on my career, winning national championships and conference championships was fantastic. But the true indicator of building a well-rounded, successful program for all student-athletes was when in 2008-09 we were awarded the RMAC All-Sports Cup. I want to bring that same well-rounded ethic to CMU and I want to thank President Marshall for the opportunity to do so.” 

During McDermott’s leadership at MSU Denver, she enjoyed acquiring four NCAA II National Championships in men’s basketball and in women’s soccer. The men’s basketball team acquired the distinction for the most winning program in NCAA II history. She also supported two national champions in men’s track and celebrated three NCAA II national players of the year. Her work also earned a litany of conference commendations including RMAC championships and many academic awards and accomplishments.  

Student-athletes enjoyed graduation rates twice that of the general student body during her time as athletic director as she also assisted in planning, implementation and oversight of a new outdoor athletic complex from planning through construction. 

Stephen Jordan, PhD, is President Emeritus of MSU Denver where he served with McDermott for 12 years. Jordan applauded the appointment of the nationally recognized Division II athletic director and trusts McDermott will benefit CMU in the years to come.  

“I am pleased to see Joan returning to Division II athletics to bring her culture-building skills and talents back to the RMAC,” said Jordan. “President Marshall and the entire Maverick program will be pleased at the contributions that Joan will make to CMU athletics. She’s the best coach development and mentor I’ve ever seen in my career. I wish her the best and am excited to see her back in Colorado.” 

In addition to serving as athletic director at four institutions, including the University of San Francisco, McDermott began her career in athletics as a successful coach. She served as Metropolitan State College of Denver head volleyball coach from 1988-1989 and 1996-1998; Morningside College from 1990-1995 and Saint Mary’s College of California 1982-1987.  

“Coaching was and always will be the highlight of my career,” said McDermott. “It’s a time when you get to know students and work to shape their futures in a way that cannot be replicated anywhere else. Their development on the court can be transformational and as a coach you get to witness that courtside and there is nothing more rewarding. I am excited to support CMU coaches in having that same experience with Maverick student-athletes at CMU.” 

McDermott has served on the NCAA Athletic Director Executive Committee; the NCAA Gender Equity Committee; the NCAA Return on Inclusion Diversity Training and served as chair of the NCAA National Beach Volleyball Committee. She has served on dozens of boards, commissions and committees in service of NCAA Division II athletics. 


Written by David Ludlam