Under the direction of Provost Jody Fournier, Capital University has announced that Dixie Jeffers will serve as its interim director of athletics and recreation. The announcement was delivered on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. Jeffers has been the Capital Women’s Basketball head coach since stepping foot on campus in 1986 and immediately worked herself into the role of the athletic department’s senior woman administrator (SWA). She gained such respect in just two years following her arrival that she earned the title of associate athletic director, a position she has held since 1988.
“Dixie has been dedicated to Capital University and our mission for decades,” said Capital University Provost Jody Fournier. “She is passionate about student-athlete success, learning and the skills they develop which strengthen all aspects of their lives while at Capital and beyond. She is strongly suited to lead the department effectively in the interim.”
“I want to continue to serve the University in any capacity that they see fit,” said Jeffers. “Given the situation we find ourselves in as an institution and community, and considering my investment in Capital over a long span of time I feel confident that I can help stabilize and grow the Athletic Department and lead it in a positive manner.”
Jeffers takes the reigns of the department from Dr. Steve Bruning who had served as interim director of athletics from February through the month of May while a national search was conducted to find a replacement. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, related restrictions and University leadership changes, the decision was made to lean internally and offer the opportunity to Jeffers. When asked about what is on the horizon for Capital Athletics, Jeffers said, “Our first priority is to assist in creating a safe and healthy plan to help return our students and student-athletes back to campus. We’ll also continue to work with our staff to come up with fundraising opportunities and continue to create a unified front moving forward. Together, we’ll also help re-engage our alumni so that they can see and experience firsthand that Capital is still a very vibrant place and that we all need to come together to overcome these challenging times.”
The 38-year coaching veteran is a proven leader on the court and a two-time national champion as head of the Capital women’s basketball program. Between 1990 and 1997, Capital Women’s Basketball advanced to the NCAA Tournament seven times, finished third nationally in 1997, was national runners-up in 1993, and won back-to-back national championships in 1994 and 1995. Both national championship teams were inducted into the Capital Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013. Following both national championship seasons she was named NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year and is a six-time OAC Coach of the Year. Collectively, Jeffers has racked up 736 career wins with 684 of those achieved while at Capital. She is also a member of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame, a feat achieved in 2007. She will continue to serve as head women’s basketball coach while in her new role as interim director of athletics and recreation.
Jeffers has a long history of aiding other Capital programs over the course of her career after serving as head and assistant softball coach in the mid-1990s as well as assistant women’s golf coach through the program’s infancy in the early 2000s. Among the many projects she has engaged in over the years, Jeffers was key in bringing national attention to the University when Capital served as host to the 2016 NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Semifinals and The Basketball Tournament (TBT) in 2018 and 2019. Capital was prepared to host the 2020 Division III Women’s Basketball Final Four prior to the championship’s cancelation due to COVID-19, and is at this time slated to be the host site for the 2020 NCAA Division IIIVolleyball Championships.
“I wish to thank Provost [Jody] Fournier for the opportunity, and I am excited to get the chance to lead the athletic department and our student-athletes. It is my hope that with the diligent and collaborative work alongside the rest of the University, Ohio Athletic Conference, NCAA, and Ohio State medical staff that we can ensure the ability to not just manage the upcoming athletic season but to grow through these times. We will need patience and complete buy-in from our student-athletes, staff, faculty, alumni, and supporters to build on our efforts that will create safe and enjoyable environments and bring championships to Capital this athletic season and beyond.”
Ryan Gasser is the sports information director at Capital University and has over a decade of sports information experience at the Division I, II and III levels. In addition to his role as sports information director, Gasser also serves on the University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications team, which manages the public and media relations, branding, and messaging for Capital.