May 10, 2012
BLOG: Young Athletics Leadership
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss Athletics has added experience and energy to its leadership with the hiring of Derek Cowherd as the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academic Support, as announced Thursday by Provost Morris Stocks and Director of Athletics Ross Bjork.
Cowherd comes to Ole Miss from LSU where he most recently served as Director of Academic Affairs, a position he held since April 2011. Prior to that position, he was the Interim Director of Academic Affairs for the Tigers and had been a member of LSU’s Academic Center for Student-Athletes since July 2007.
“We are very pleased that Derek Cowherd will be joining the University of Mississippi,” said Stocks. “He comes to our university from an established athletics program and has an outstanding record of planning and managing a complex academic support unit. Derek is a man of highest integrity and has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the academic and personal success of student-athletes.”
“The academic success of our student-athletes is one of our core values and is paramount to our mission in Athletics. Derek brings the highest level of expertise that we desire in this important position,” Bjork said. “His path as a student-athlete and academic professional provides him a wealth of experience and a passion for seeing young men and women achieve the ultimate goal of earning their Ole Miss degree. I am confident our student-athletes and program will benefit greatly from his knowledge and energy.”
In Cowherd’s most recent capacity, he had primary academic oversight of the LSU football team while also supervising seven full-time advisors, four graduate assistants and interns.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve the Ole Miss student-athlete population,” Cowherd said. “I look forward to joining this youthful, motivated and very talented staff as we strive to provide our students with the necessary leadership and life skills to navigate through higher education and on to greater success. I have been fortunate to have been mentored by great people over my lifetime; none more influential than my parents and grandparents. Academic and support staffs assume a mentor role during a student-athlete’s career.
“As a former student-athlete, it is my belief that the ‘student’ comes first in the term ‘student-athlete.’ Once the proper preparation and attention is given to putting education first, everything else takes care of itself. I am confident that our team will work to motivate our student-athletes to strive for academic excellence.”
Prior to LSU, Cowherd worked at the University of Louisville from 2003-07, starting as an academic counselor and tutorial coordinator before being named the Assistant Director of Academics in 2007.
On a national level, he serves as a facilitator for the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) and Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP). He is also a newly appointed NCAA Division I Athletics Certification Peer Reviewer.
A native of Greensburg, Ky., Cowherd graduated from Louisville in 1998 with a degree in biology. He earned his master’s degree in business and public administration (MBA) at the school in 2003. While at LSU, Cowherd was pursuing his doctorate in educational leadership and higher learning with a specialization in higher education administration.
Cowherd, 36, and his wife Misty are the parents of a seven-month-old son, Jackson.