Defying the Status Quo with Meg Stevens


Cliresa Hall, Staff Writer

Athletic Director Meg Stevens is a familiar face at Averett University. With many students being athletes, Stevens is no stranger on campus. Her role as Athletic Director not only requires hard work but also challenges gender norms.

Originally from a small town outside the city of Albany in upstate New York, Stevens has exhibited a passion for sports since childhood.

“The way I grew up was just through sport, it’s what both of my parents did,” Stevens said. “I was the kid who played a little bit of everything, no matter what it was I just wanted to play.”

Eventually, Stevens’s love for sports would motivate her to pursue a career in the field during college.

“I did an internship with the Women’s Sports Foundation out on Long Island,” Stevens said. “I worked with Billie Jean King and Donna Lopiano, who are obviously incredible female leaders in the industry. I found myself coaching at my old high school and I really enjoyed coaching more than I ever thought I would.”

In terms of female representation in the world of athletics, Stevens acknowledges that the field can be more representative of men than of women.

“I didn’t have female coaches growing up, so I never thought I could be a coach, because I didn’t see anybody that looked like me,” Stevens said. “I didn’t have a female coach until I went to college. It became a new opportunity and I thought okay this is something I can do.”

Further, Stevens’s drive for the field of sports would motivate her to coach at the collegiate level.

“Through a little bit of the work I had done with the NCAA while I was in college, I got connected with the right people. I ended up as a college coach at 23 years old at Buffalo State,” Stevens said. “ I stayed in upstate New York for a little over 11 years and I loved my role as a coach. I got more into administration to get my career going and I really knew that was I path I wanted to follow.”

This career path would ultimately lead Stevens to find Averett University.

“It was the late Charles Harris who had found me, I had met him as a student. We actually worked together at the NCAA convention at the same time and he said there’s an opening for an athletic position at Averett and I think you should apply,” Stevens said. “I came to my interview at Averett and very much like a recruiting visit, it felt like home. It was the right fit for me. Dr. Franks made me feel very much at home.”

In terms of gender equality, Stevens recognizes the importance of using her position to spread awareness.

“They (women) are less than 23% of the population of its athletic directors across the country,” Stevens said. “I think for women one of the things that I really live by is to lift as you rise. The higher I get in my career, I want to make sure I’m pulling someone else along with me.”

When it comes to Averett University, Stevens accredits the institution for being ahead in terms of diversity and equal representation.

“I also saw in our leadership here at Averett we have a female president (Dr. Franks),” Stevens said. “I don’t know the percentage of (female) presidents, but that made a big difference for me. Having a strong female leader, I think is important.”

Ultimately, Stevens feels that regardless of gender it is important for students to work together to induce a positive change.

“I think a diverse team is important and we have got make sure we’re actively a part of them. You’ve got to be aware of underrepresented groups in multiple case scenarios,” Stevens said. “You’re trying to leave the world a better place than you came into and I think that takes everyone around the table.”