BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dena Freeman-Patton has been named Morgan State University’s director for intercollegiate athletics, becoming the first woman to oversee the historically Black university’s sports teams, President David K. Wilson said Tuesday.

A Baltimore native, Freeman-Patton most recently served as associate vice president and director of athletics at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

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Prior to that, she held positions in the athletic departments at the University of New Orleans; California State University, Bakersfield; and Georgia State University. She also also served as director of academics and career development at the University of Maryland.

“Given the stability of our athletics operations, the impressive academic standing of our student-athletes and the positive competitive trajectory of our sports teams, this was a very attractive leadership position to fill, drawing interest from across the country,” said Wilson. “Among those expressing a high interest, Dena Freeman-Patton was the most impressive, offering a wealth of experience and the requisite leadership capabilities to oversee a rising D1 athletic program.”

Over the last five years, the athletic department’s graduation rate among student-athletes has increased by 19%, allowing the school to emerge from NCAA probation, the university said.

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During that period, the collective GPA for student-athletes rose to 3.41.

Morgan State last year received a a $2.7 million gift allowing the Bears to again field a wrestling team. Earlier this month, the school announced an acrobatics and tumbling would start competition in 2023-2024, becoming the school’s 16th varsity sport.

Freeman-Patton played three sports at Lake Clifton High School and went on to play basketball at Liberty University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management in 1996. She went on to earn a master’s in sports administration from Georgia State University.

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In March, Wilson said deputy athletic director Erlease Wagner would lead the department in an interim capacity following the departure of Edward Scott.

Brandon Weigel