Dena Freeman-Patton became Administrator of the Year by Women Leaders in College Sports in 2018 (Courtesy of CSUDH Athletics)

New California State University Dominguez Hills Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Dena Freeman-Patton has a stellar career of service to the wellbeing of student-athletes. She began her tenure at CSUDH on April 12.

Throughout her career, Freeman-Patton showed how she can run a thriving athletics department while prioritizing the overall success of the student-athletes. In 2018, Freeman-Patton became Administrator of the Year by Women Leaders in College Sports.

Before working at Dominguez Hills, Freeman-Patton was the deputy athletics director and chief operating officer at the University of New Orleans (UNO). She was an overseer of several factions, including facilities, operations, budget, facility rentals, sports medicine, and equipment room.

As the chair of the Athletics COVID-19 task force, she had to implement testing and quarantining sites as well as ensuring fans and players remained safe.

“We did new floor designs for both of our courts this past summer even though we were in COVID,” Freeman-Patton said. “Our sports competed here in New Orleans this past year and our facilities and operation staff figured out how to change everything.”

One of her final projects at UNO was improving their Beach Volleyball program.

“I’m over facilities and operations, so we looked at a new facility for the beach team and looking at improving, increasing their staff,” Freeman-Patton said. “That’s something you have to look at on a consistent basis.”

Freeman-Patton has spent one year as chair of the NCAA Minority Opportunity and Interests Committee. She has spent four years on the committee and was a vice chair last year. Freeman-Patton knows that making an impact on the national level will help her program as well as others.

“One of the things we were able to accomplish is getting some legislation passed,” Freeman-Patton said. “To have an athletics diversity and inclusion designee on every campus and in every conference of the NCAA, that was a four to five-year project.”

Creating legislation for an athletics diversity and inclusion designee was rewarding for her. Freeman-Patton also made big accomplishments during her time as Deputy Athletics Director at Cal State Bakersfield.

She played a key role in the opening of the Kegley Center for Student Success by spearheading the effort of acquiring the NCAA Accelerated Academic Success Program grant that was worth $870,000 and paid for most of the $1 million project.

“We coordinated a committee on campus that involved everybody from the provost to student-athletes, coaches, academic senate, everybody,” Freeman-Patton said. “We put together a plan which included the facility … We started our leadership academy through that grant as well.”

When she noticed that alumni were not engaged with Cal State Bakersfield athletics, she assembled a committee to create a Varsity Club. When they asked for small donations, most alumni gave more than required.

“What that did was add 60 to 80 … of additional donors to our database,” Freeman-Patton said. “We also had alumni events, just bringing them on campus to get them engaged, building up some excitement around the program.”

A native of Baltimore, MA Freeman-Patton played three sports in high school. She went on to play basketball at Liberty University and earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management. Three years later, Freeman-Patton earned a master’s degree in sports administration from Georgia State.