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Meet the A.D.

"Athletics is not about winning. It's about doing things right," says Peg Bradley-Doppes, the Pioneers' new athletic director. Photo: Tim Ryan

The University of Denver’s new athletic director does not like to finish second.

“If we were both eating lunch right now, I’d finish first,” she says. “That’s the way I am. I’m always interested in being better, faster and stronger.”

Meet Peg Bradley-Doppes. Determined? Utterly. Passionate? Unconditionally. Competitive? You bet.

“My passion and my competitiveness — well, they’re out of control,” Bradley-Doppes says.

Growing up in Cincinnati, Bradley-Doppes’ competitiveness emerged early. After all, it can be tough to get noticed in a family with nine children.

“It was pretty obvious early on that I had passion to be the best I could be,” says Bradley-Doppes, who, in sixth grade, earned a spot on the eighth grade volleyball team.

As a child, she dove headfirst into volleyball, softball, basketball and track. Volleyball eventually won out, and Bradley-Doppes went on to play at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. She then played professionally in Russia before earning the head volleyball coaching slot at Miami University in Ohio, where, at age 22, she assembled a 160-67 record and led the school to its first two Mid-American Conference championships. Her work at Miami earned her entry into the school’s coaching hall of fame. She then went to Chapel Hill, N.C., and directed the Tarheels from 1984-90. She became the youngest coach to achieve 300 wins, a distinction she still holds today.

After North Carolina Bradley-Doppes spent a year as head coach at the University of Michigan before becoming a senior associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator for the Wolverines. In 1999, she was named athletic director at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Last year, the All-American Football Foundation named Bradley-Doppes Outstanding A.D., and the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators tapped her as Administrator of the Year.

She says deciding to join DU was easy. “I’ve been impressed with DU and its visionary leadership for years. I’ve seen the strides in infrastructure, athletics and academics.”

Bradley-Doppes sees the commitment to students as DU’s greatest strength. “Nothing is more important than the students,” she says. “They’re the reason the school exists. DU is the school for the very talented athlete who wants a meaningful degree.”

Her top priority as the new athletic director is to start an endowed scholarship campaign. “We have to plan today for a future that’s centered around the student and make sure we have enough scholarships to build a solid foundation for that future,” she explains.

Bradley-Doppes points out that athletics is not the most important thing at DU. “Athletics is not about winning. It’s about doing things right,” she says. “We’ll continue to emphasize academics and doing things the right way, and winning will take care of itself.

“Athletics should enhance the University and its visibility,” Bradley-Doppes adds. “I see athletics as the front porch to the University, and that porch should have a welcoming feel to it.”

She notes that the welcome is extended to alumni especially. “We don’t want students for four years, we want them for 50,” she says. “Alumni have given us a blueprint for success, and we hope they come and fill our facilities for all sports. We want them to share in and show the DU pride.

“We promise a great effort,” she adds. “Alumni will never be embarrassed.”

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