GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Indiana Tech Director of Athletics Debbie Warren was named the 2019-20 Terry Bocian Athletics Director of the Year, presented by Kuhn Specialty Flooring, Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) Commissioner Rob Miller announced Monday at the conference’s spring Executive Council Meetings.
Warren, in her fifth and final year as the head of the Warriors’ athletics department, is the second Warrior AD (Martin Neuhoff, 2014-15) and the first female AD in WHAC history to win the award. The first female Athletics Director in school history when she arrived on campus in July 2015, Warren became just the second full-time AD at any WHAC school (there are four female athletics directors currently among full-time members). Her impact was felt not only in the athletics department, but also around campus.
“I am fortunate to work with such a great group of people in the WHAC, together we make a difference in the lives of so many,” Warren said. “I am honored to be selected as the 2020 WHAC AD of the Year among so many dedicated, hardworking, successful and caring professionals.”
Warren oversaw an athletics department that was always moving forward and focused on improving, even after winning the WHAC All-Sports Trophy (now the Fred Smith Commissioner’s Cup) three straight years and having four consecutive years of finishing in the top-10 of the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup. The 2019-20 season saw the university’s new athletic complex, Warrior Park, become a fully operational facility with a state of the art softball stadium, outdoor track and field complex, and multi-purpose building that house the Tech wrestling programs along with offices, locker rooms, team meeting rooms and a commercial laundry room, which was her favorite part of the whole building.
She was instrumental in bringing new sport offerings to campus, with men’s volleyball and women’s wrestling being announced last year, and the former playing in its first season in nearly 40 years this past semester while the latter will begin competition this coming fall semester. Women’s ice hockey was just added as the newest Warrior program back in April and will begin competing in the 2021-22 academic year.
Warren also oversaw the Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony and selection process, which was reinstated in 2017 and had secured sponsorships for the 2020 event prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight Tech teams had won their respective conference championships before the cancellation of college sports due to the pandemic, while 10 teams had qualified for their respective national championships in 2019-20.
A member of multiple committees at Tech, including the Strategic Planning Taskforce and Risk Management Committee, she was involved in numerous search committees for faculty and staff members outside of the athletics department.
Her campus spirit is something that sets her above the pack, as she attends the vast majority of Warrior home contests and be heard shouting, “Go Warriors!” from any game, event or meeting on campus, while she leads the Warrior Pep Band at Tech basketball games to give the Orange and Black a distinct home court advantage.