Matt Dean Named Rhodes College Director of Athletics

a coach dressed in a suit and tie, standing in front of a desk in an office

Matt Dean has been named Rhodes College’s director of athletics. He has been interim director of athletics since October 2018.

Over the course of his now 28-year career at Rhodes, Dean served as head women’s basketball team coach for 15 years, becoming the college’s winningest coach in program history with a 230-166 record. His team advanced to the NCAA Tournament three consecutive seasons, from 2012 to 2015.

In the 1990s, Dean was an assistant coach for the men’s basketball program for nine seasons—during which time it had a 152-74 record and a 1993 NCAA tournament appearance.

Dean’s coaching career at Rhodes also includes serving as head coach of the women’s golf program. He was the college’s first head field hockey coach, and his 2001 team won the conference tournament championship. Earlier, Dean served as the intramural coordinator.

“Matt Dean has been a consummate professional throughout his entire tenure at the college. His positive energy and genuine respect for others is noticed by all who encounter him,” says Dr. Russell Wigginton, vice president of student life and dean of students. “He has been a very effective leader for athletics as interim director, and I am confident that the Rhodes Athletics Department is in great hands moving forward under Matt’s leadership.”

Dean received the college’s Outstanding Administrator award in 2014. His nominators lauded him not only for having an uncanny ability to mold successful athletic teams, but also for motivating athletes in a positive, constructive manner and being highly respected by his colleagues and high school coaches.

A native of Davenport, IA, Dean holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast news journalism and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Drake University. He is a former member of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Regional Advisory Committee for the South Region. Dean also served as a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s All-American Committee from 2006 to 2009. He has been a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches for 24 years. Three times, he has been named conference coach of the year.

Dean retired as head women’s basketball coach at the end of the 2017 season to assume the role of assistant athletics director, a position he held until being named interim director of athletics.

“It is an honor to be chosen as the next leader of the Rhodes Athletic Department,” says Dean. “I would like to thank Dr. Marjorie Hass and Dr. Russ Wigginton for their support in this decision. Without their leadership and mentorship, this would not be possible. I am also grateful to Coach Mike Clary and Herb Hilgeman for taking a chance on me 28 years ago. Coach Hilgeman helped shape me into the leader I am today. His iconic mentorship and presence for our department provided me a great template on how to grow every day. Rhodes is a special place, with amazing student athletes and coaches. I am humbled to be their next leader.”