Becoming the Athletic Director at Longwood University was not something Michelle Meadows, former interim athletics director, saw happening. For 13 years she worked alongside former Athletics Director Troy Austin as someone he could share ideas with to better the athletics program.
“I had never honestly anticipated being on the front lines, but these past eight months have shown me things about myself and shown me the opportunities that this position provides that I wanted to take advantage of once I was exposed to that to help advance our department and advance the experience of our student-athletes,” said Meadows.
After Austin returned to his alma mater Duke University as Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Internal Affairs in October 2018, Meadows assumed the role of Interim Athletics Director of Longwood University.
The eight months she served in the position came to a culmination Monday as Longwood University President W. Taylor Reveley IV announced Meadows as the university’s newest Athletics Director, via press release.
“Michelle Meadows profoundly understands the mission of Longwood athletics and the university’s vision for our program,” said Reveley in the release. “She has experience that prepares her for every facet of the job, and she is a deeply valued, admired and respected member of our broader university community who knows this place well."
She said the interim period helped her become more flexible and understand the inevitability of knowing what the day ahead holds.
“It’s the staff and coaches and the student-athletes that are the heart of Longwood athletics and I want to each and every day give my very best to serve them and lead them in a way in which they can be successful,” said Meadows.
Meadows joins 39 other female athletics directors in the Division I ranks among 347 total schools.
“I see it as a responsibility to do my very best and to be an incredible representative for Longwood University, not just for females that may be aspiring to this position, but anyone who would aspire to this position to know that dreams can come true if you’ll put in the work and continue to learn and continue to grow and bloom where you’re planted,” said Meadows.
While Meadows looks to bring streamlined success for Longwood Athletics, she is no stranger to success on the field of play. In 2010, she was elected to the Virginia Tech Hokies Athletic Hall-of-Fame in celebration of a prolific career on the softball diamond.
Meadows still sits first all-time in doubles, second all-time in hits and third in batting average for the Hokies.
Even though her on-field career ended 19 years ago, Meadows said she will use her experience of being a student-athlete to assist her in the position.
“There’s the piece of the experience for the student-athlete themselves, but there is also incredible opportunity in the platform that sports gives us to help those around us," said Meadows. "I am equally passionate about that in ways we can serve our community both here on campus and to a larger extent the Farmville community."
She has also shown the same level of passion and courage through her past battle with breast cancer, which serves as a motivating factor as she fully takes on her new position.
“I never felt like there were ever any limits to what I could achieve because of those values that my parents instilled in me and that’s just from a very young age, created a perseverance that, you know, leave it all out on the field, continue to get better and good things are going to happen,” said Meadows.
Women’s soccer head coach and program founder Todd Dyer established his program in 1993 and has served under the leadership of multiple athletics directors in his time at Longwood.
According to Dyer, Meadows' experience as the interim athletics director gives her more "freedom and opportunity" as the full-time athletics director.
“Her being our supervisor for women’s soccer the past couple years, you can see how passionate she is for our team and how much she will do everything in her power to help us move forward,” said Dyer.
With the position, Meadows takes the reigns of Longwood’s 14-sport program.
“We’ve made incredible strides over the last 14 years that I have been fortunate to have been a part of and I think that we can continue to strive to new heights and I want to stretch us to do that each and every day,” said Meadows. “I am honored to be in this position and will work tirelessly every day to do what’s best for Longwood and for everyone who loves Longwood.”