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Peg Bradley-Doppes Honored by NACDA Hall of Fame

Former DU vice chancellor recognized for four decades of success

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Peg Bradley-Doppes
Peg Bradley-Doppes (Photo: Wayne Armstrong)

In a field traditionally dominated by highly competitive men, Peg Bradley-Doppes has always emerged as one of the top performers — whether as a student-athlete, a coach, or an administrator. She’s not one who believes her gender has ever gotten in the way of success.

“Good is good, and it’s about what you bring to work every single day,” she says. “If you do your job and you do it well, I think people forget right away whether or not you are a woman.”

A year after retiring as DU’s vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and Ritchie Center operations, success continues to follow Bradley-Doppes. On Wednesday, she will be inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fame.

“This is a very special honor,” Bradley-Doppes says. “To be recognized by what I think are the best of the best in the business and to be inducted into the hall of fame is a great testimony to the incredible institutions I worked at.”

Her 38-year career began as a women’s volleyball head coach. She spent 11 seasons at Miami University, University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) and Michigan, where she compiled a record of 304-144. She then moved into administrative roles at Michigan and UNCW. While she was athletics director at UNCW, USA Today and the NCAA ranked the program first in the nation for student-athlete graduation rates. In 2005, in keeping with her interest in fostering classroom achievement, she moved to the University of Denver, largely because of its focus on academics.

“There are not a lot of places in the country where the administration would have the patience and understanding that the student part of student-athlete comes first,” Bradley-Doppes says. “At DU, we expect our graduation rate to be the best in the country.”

Since 2001, the University of Denver’s Division of Athletics has had the highest graduate success rate of any school in Colorado. Last year, DU registered a 95% graduation rate, the highest in program history and 33rd highest in the country.

That’s impressive enough, but don’t forget the fact that during Bradley-Doppes’ tenure at DU, the University won eight NCAA championships, 10 NCAA 1-AAA Directors’ Cups and 109 conference titles. To top it off, the program boasted 75 conference coach of the year honors.

Still, it’s the success in the classroom that she finds most fulfilling.

“DU has those accolades, and I am happy to be a part of them,” she says. “I’m most proud that we were able to keep the incredible commitment to academic, athletic and integrity balance and enhance it with more competitiveness. There was never a time where I thought we needed or we would ever compromise who we were and why we were here.”

Bradley-Doppes believes DU’s culture helped her succeed in the most important role of her job — recruiting good people to come to campus.

“Institutions are the reason why people decide where to go, and I think all I had to do was make sure we never settled,” she says. “It’s a privilege, not a right, to be a part of the Pioneer family, and our people don’t look to leave”

That’s perhaps why Bradley-Doppes has not completely left the University of Denver. She continues to work a couple of days a week assisting the chancellor’s office in various ways.

“I love this university and I love what we stand for,” she says. “The wonderful friends, donors and alumni of this university have helped us reach this special place.”