Just two months shy of completing her first year in the athletic office, Barbara Dearing is adjusting well to the Pacific Northwest and her role as associate athletic director in charge of business operations at Portland State. She conveys a sense of passion and determination when speaking of her relatively new position. Her proactive approach to business and genuine concern for the athletic department is overtly evident.
An endearing personality
Just two months shy of completing her first year in the athletic office, Barbara Dearing is adjusting well to the Pacific Northwest and her role as associate athletic director in charge of business operations at Portland State.
She conveys a sense of passion and determination when speaking of her relatively new position. Her proactive approach to business and genuine concern for the athletic department is overtly evident.
“I’ve enjoyed the new challenge of helping us continue to grow and put processes in place that will allow us to have what I would call sustained growth,” Dearing said. “At the same time, shore up what I would call a good foundation to make it stronger. So, I’ve been busy.”
The scope of her duties is extensive. Anything from crunching numbers to helping new coaches settle into their position is part of Dearing’s job description.
“Currently, I oversee all the business and financial operations for the department,” Dearing said.
In addition to those responsibilities, Dearing has also taken on added tasks for the understaffed athletic department.
“I have taken on the human resources responsibility for the department: all the contracts, human resources paperwork and then actually getting all the new staff members onboard and acclimated so that they literally can get set up and start working.”
Athletic director Torre Chisholm said that Dearing brings experience and dedication to the athletic office. “She is very qualified and will assist us as we look to improve the condition of our athletics,” Chisholm said. “She is a great fit.”
Dearing also oversees the varsity athletic teams for soccer, softball, track and field, cross country and wrestling, as well as the strength and conditioning program as part of her administrator position with a sport supervision role.
“I am looking forward to working with those coaches in a more direct manner and being able to hopefully assist them in meeting their program goals and hopefully exceeding those goals that we have for them,” she said.
Dearing will likely have a positive effect on the coaches she interacts with given her extensive coaching resume, and she mentioned that she was excited to take on the role of mentor to some of the younger coaches.
Because of her coaching history, Dearing has high expectations of the student-athletes whom she refers to as citizen leaders.
“They are a student and an athlete representing the entire student body and we want them to make everyone proud with their performance both on and off the field,” she said.
Although new to Portland State, Dearing is no stranger to the college environment. In her 27-year career she has ventured from community colleges and small private universities to one of the largest public schools in the country, Ohio State University. Dearing said that she feels that her varied background has prepared her for the diverse urban community at Portland State.
After working throughout the country, Dearing said that replacing the retired Teri Mariani in the athletic department has been difficult.
“Her shoes will never be filled because Teri did so many things for the university that everyone jokes she probably bleeds green,” she said.
Dearing said she would look to walk down the path Mariani walked but that she would walk in her own shoes.
“Sometimes the steps will be a little smaller and sometimes the steps will be a little larger than hers were,” Dearing said. “But, I’ve got a good example and a good compass of the direction we need to go.”
When Dearing isn’t walking the path into the athletic office, she tends to find her way outside and, when the weather isn’t cooperating, to an opera house.
“One of the reasons why this position was attractive to me is the quality of life that is present here,” Dearing explained. “Portland has all the arts, all the outdoors, the ocean and the mountains are an hour away and it has a reasonably mild climate year round.”
In addition to the many hours that she puts in for the athletic department, Dearing finds relief on the golf course, a hobby she recently picked up.
“It has been a great way to meet a lot of different people,” Dearing said. “My goal is to break 100 by the end of the summer.”
Although she boasts an impressive resume, Dearing seems most proud of the things she does outside of work. She has volunteered for the nonprofit organization Leader Dogs for the Blind training a puppy that would be eventually used as a guide dog.
As Dearing continues to settle into her position and wrap up her first year at Portland State, she has started researching similar opportunities to work with animals in the Portland area.
Through it all Dearing stays committed to a principle taught to her long ago by a high school coach–set your goals high and work towards accomplishing them. And now she is committing to helping the athletic department move towards their aspirations.
“We want to build and move our program to the next step so that we are the best in the Big Sky,” Dearing said.