You are here

Leadership Development Realigns To Better Support the Association

The NCAA leadership development function has taken a more focused approach to the learning and development efforts provided to the membership and national office with a strategic realignment of its programs and senior personnel.

Providing a more streamlined direction, the realignment strategy focuses on building, launching and advancing careers in athletics administration and coaching. Thus, the leadership development programs have been aligned for the following three target audiences:


  • Student-Athlete Leadership Forum.
  • Career in Sports Forum.
  • Elite Student-Athlete Symposiums.

Athletics administrators

  • Achieving Communication Success Workshop.
  • Divisions I, II and III Pathway Programs.
  • Dr. Charles Whitcomb Leadership Institute.
  • Effective Facilitation Workshop.
  • Emerging Leaders Seminar.
  • Leadership Academy Workshop.
  • Lessons in Management.
  • NCAA Postgraduate Internship Program.


  • Basketball Coaches Academy
  • Champion Forum.
  • NCAA and NFL Coaches Academy.

This leadership development vision is put into action through the “vistas of realignment” strategy. This comprehensive and outcomes-based strategy reflects the training and development needs and gaps expressed by the membership. Vistas of realignment is in alignment with the goals and objectives of the NCAA Board of Governors Committee To Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity. With a refreshed tagline, “Building Tomorrow’s Leaders Today,” it is critical that the programming pipeline initiatives are keenly focused on enhancing the student-athlete experience. Programming is geared to equip student-athletes with the skills and tools to be leaders both on campus and after graduation. It also prepares leaders in “future-proofing” the industry. Through the programming, leaders will have the necessary leadership skills to meet the current and future needs of intercollegiate sports. The approach is also specific in developing diverse leaders to more proportionally reflect the diversity of student-athletes, sports and society. Hiring authorities and key decision-makers soon will have access to a leadership pipeline resource, which is being developed and will launch this spring. The web-based database portal of top-flight diverse candidates will help diversify hiring candidate pools for coaching and athletics leadership positions.

Along with the program refocusing, the leadership development unit also has realigned its staffing model. Deidre Merritt, having served as the acting director of leadership development for a year, has been named director. Merritt also guided the comprehensive assessment and implementation of the new strategy and model. In her role, Merritt will continue to lead the execution of leadership programming that builds, launches and advances careers in athletics administration and coaching in the membership. She also will bring best practices and best-in-class leadership programming to the NCAA national office.

Peter Roby, a current member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and former director of athletics and recreation at Northeastern, will serve as a strategic consultant advisor to implement the new model and elevate communication to key industry decision-makers.