Eastern Mennonite University has named Carrie S. Bert as the next director of athletics. Bert, who has been acting as interim director since May 9, began her role Aug. 1. She takes over from David King, who retired after 17 years at EMU earlier this summer.
Bert, a former volleyball coach and player at EMU, served the previous two years as the assistant director of athletics and Senior Woman Administrator (SWA), an NCAA-designated position for the highest-ranking female in each NCAA member’s athletics department. Bert has also served on the SWA Committee within the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).
Bert is the first female to lead EMU Athletics in university history. She joins four other female athletic directors in the 16-member conference.
“I am excited and humbled at the opportunity to lead a program that has been formational for me in so many ways,” Bert said. “My commitment is a direct reflection of my love for the university and the opportunities for growth and success afforded me through participation in athletics. Dave King served our Royals well, and foundational female leaders like Mim Mumaw and Sandy Brownscombe have set a standard of excellence I hope to continue.”
The search was led by Mary Jensen, vice president for enrollment and strategic growth, and a search committee broadly comprised of representatives from athletics, academics, student life and advancement.
“Carrie is an exceptional and inspiring leader with the vision, experience, and drive to excel in this role,” Jensen said. “She is a passionate and collaborative leader, grounded in the EMU mission, and committed to excellence.”
Brad Bankston, ODAC Commissioner, shared his enthusiasm for Bert’s appointment earlier this week. “I am pleased to learn that Carrie has accepted the director of athletics role at EMU,” he said. “Her dedication to the university and passion for its student athletes are evident in all that she has done. She has been instrumental within the conference SWA Committee, excellent preparation for this next step in institution and conference leadership.”
Before becoming an administrator, Bert was head coach of the women’s volleyball team from 2015-19 and assistant coach from 2010-14.
Bert had a significant impact on the lives of student-athletes and other coaches, among them All-American Hannah Chappell-Dick ‘20, who returned to her alma mater to coach in between several years as a professional runner, earning an MBA while coaching at University of Florida. She is currently assistant track and field and cross country coach at Brown University.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Carrie in many different capacities, and she is the real deal,” Chappell-Dick said. “She has always gone above and beyond. When I was a new coach at EMU, she was the one who took the time to mentor and onboard me into both the culture and processes of the athletic department. She is organized, passionate, and sharp. She will do a great job.”
Bert graduated cum laude from EMU in 1997 with a liberal arts degree and elementary school licensure with coaching and music minors. She also holds a masters of education in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Austin. She is fifth in the EMU women’s volleyball record books with 293 career blocks. She also finished her career with over 700 kills and was named All-ODAC in 1996.
“Our Royals are positioned for bold and positive impact, excellence, engagement, and personal growth,” Bert said. “It is an honor to work alongside coaching and support staff who are committed to the wellbeing and achievement of our student-athletes. I will work to nurture a place where all EMU Royals can thrive.”