"I am thrilled to have someone of Brenda Patterson's character, work ethic, and expertise leading our athletic program," said Boone. "Dr. Patterson is a graduate of Trevecca and has a distinguished career in Nazarene higher education. Her devotion to God will influence the next generation of Trevecca coaches and athletes."
Patterson was chosen after a national search that started in late January and was conducted by Trevecca Provost Stephen Pusey and Associate Provost and Dean of Student Development Steve Harris. Following interviews with the top eight candidates, five of those candidates were brought to campus for interviews with University administrators and coaches. The list was narrowed down to three candidates before Dr. Patterson was chosen.
Dr. Stephen Pusey believes that the exhaustive search netted the desired candidate, “I believe our search, while extensive, has helped identify not only an outstanding and well qualified individual but also a Tennessean and a Trevecca alumna. Brenda returns to Trevecca with a background as a successful coach and athletic administrator; however, just as important, Dr. Patterson brings years of significant experience as an educator and academic administrator in Christian higher education. She clearly exemplifies the mission of Trevecca and will be a great example and leader for our student-athletes and coaches.”
The 1975 graduate of Trevecca received a bachelor of science degree in physical education and health, was member of both intercollegiate volleyball and tennis teams, and was inducted into the Phi Delta Lambda Nazarene Honor Society. Patterson earned a master of arts degree in education with an emphasis in physical education from Middle Tennessee State University in 1977, an education specialist degree in educational administration from Middle Tennessee State University in 1984, and a doctorate in educational administration from Tennessee State University in 1999.
The TNU alumnus has 28-years of experience at the collegiate level. She joins the Trojan staff after serving as Olivet Nazarene University's chairperson for the Department of Exercise and Sports Science and as the associate athletic director for the last 12 years. As a professor, Patterson primarily taught upper-division teacher education courses for the physical education/health teaching major. She also served as a student teacher supervisor within the department, internship coordinator for both the exercise science and sports management majors, and ONU’s coordinator of its Athletic Training Education Program Accreditation Committee.
Patterson, 53, was Olivet's volleyball and softball coach from 1978 through 1995. During her 17 years as coach the teams earned many honors, including leading the volleyball program to a third place finish in the NCCAA National Tournament.
Following her coaching career Patterson began to focus her work in athletic administration through a number of different capacities. Patterson gained experience by serving as a member of the Olivet’s Intercollegiate Board and as tournament director for the 1997 and 1998 NAIA National Volleyball Championships that were hosted by Olivet Nazarene University.
Patterson has obtained other administrative experience by being appointed to serve on various faculty committees including Teacher Education, Academic Standards, Academic Assessment, and the Honors Program.
As a member of College Church of the Nazarene, Patterson has been actively involved in several ministries of her local church. She has served as church board secretary, chairman of the Policy Committee, and has also been involved as a teacher in the children’s ministry.
As the athletic director at Trevecca, Patterson will oversee one of the most successful athletic programs in the TranSouth Athletic Conference and the NAIA. The Trojan athletic program is currently second in the 2006-07 TranSouth all-sports trophy rankings. It is the second consecutive year for Trevecca to finish second overall. Trevecca fields nine intercollegiate athletic programs, including men’s and women’s teams in soccer, basketball, and golf as well as women’s volleyball, and softball and a men’s baseball team.
Dr. Patterson is eager to return to Trevecca: “I am excited about the opportunity to serve as the new director of athletics at my alma mater. The athletic program here at TNU is a very integral and visible part of who Trevecca is. It is important that athletics reflects Trevecca's motto, esse quam videri, (meaning "to be rather than to seem”). Through the avenue of athletics we are given opportunities to be ambassadors for the University. As we begin this next chapter in TNU athletics, I look forward to working with the administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni to provide ministry through athletics. Under the leadership of Alan Smith, along with the dedication and commitment of a great coaching staff, Trevecca has become a premier program in the NAIA. The future looks bright as we all work together to strategize and find opportunities for TNU student athletes avenues to be successful in the athletic arena, but more important, as we prepare them for their future calling in life.”
This year nearly 150 student-athletes competed for Trevecca’s athletic teams. During the last three years TNU teams have won 13 TranSouth regular season or tournament championships. In addition the women’s basketball team has reached the conference tournament championship game in each of the last two years. Trevecca’s softball team won the NAIA Region XI Tournament last year, and the baseball team reached its region championship game. Women’s golf finished second in this year’s region tournament while the softball team is the #1 seed in this year’s region tournament and the baseball team is the #2 seed.
Nationally during the last three years, six teams have advanced to their respective NAIA national tournaments. Women’s basketball has reached the elite eight three consecutive years, men’s basketball has been to the sweet 16 twice, and last year’s softball team advanced to the final six teams in its national tournament. Nearly all of TNU’s teams have seen their highest ranking in the last three years. Men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, softball, women’s golf, and volleyball have all been ranked in the NAIA Top 25 during this three-year run. Men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, and softball have all spent significant time in the NAIA Top 10 during the last three years.
Academics in athletics is a emphasis at Trevecca, an outcome that is supported in data from the most recent graduation report. Trevecca student-athletes graduated at a 60 percent rate, a figure above the national average and greater than the graduation rate for all TNU students. Last year Trevecca had 32 student-athletes make the TranSouth Conference Scholar-Athlete list, and three players earned NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors. This year’s student-athletes are on pace to exceed those numbers.
As a native of Columbia, Tenn., Patterson welcomes the opportunity to spend time with her family and friends who resides in the Nashville area. Patterson played high school basketball at Columbia Central High School. She taught seventh grade math and was a physical education instructor at Pioneer Christian Academy in Nashville from 1975-1978.