View Full Version : Steve Dennis...5 years

Mike Cunningham
03-06-2010, 06:22 PM
Celebrating The First Five Years Courtesy: Ben Stanfield
Release: 03/04/2010

Cultivation and growth is achieved through strong leadership. The nurturing of a seed into a beautiful flower is a process that takes extensive care, effort and knowledge of how to get the job done. For Troy Athletics Director Steve Dennis (http://www.troytrojans.com//ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=17200&ATCLID=204765076), Troy Athletics is his garden and the growth has been immense.

“I can’t believe it has been five years,” Dennis said. “It has gone by in a hurry. When I look at my kids I can see how fast it has gone."

Dennis along with his wife Lisa and their four children Chris, Cale, Corey and Allison came to Troy five years ago. It was a great change for the Dennis family, and it was also a great change for the Trojan family as well.

“Everything here when I got here, you could tell it was a university on the grow and on the move,” Dennis said. “It was like the analogy that it’s on fire and I hope my job can put more gas on it. It was in great shape when I got here, and hopefully when I leave it will be even better.”

In that time many notable progressions have occurred in the life of the Troy Athletics family. The football program has experience storied success in its highest level of competition yet with four consecutive Sun Belt Conference titles, and the basketball program added another championship trophy to the ranks just recently.

“Obviously an athletic director is graded by wins and losses,” Dennis said. “From an athletic standpoint we won the conference (football) championship four years in a row. Basketball has elevated its play up into this league here in the last couple of years and this year they will compete in a post-season tournament.”

New facilities are being erected on a regular basis adding to the prestige of the department and advancing Troy to new heights in the NCAA’s highest level of competition. Troy baseball’s Riddle-Pace Field recently underwent a $5 million renovation, and the facility hosted the Sun Belt Conference Championship in its inaugural season of 2009. Troy also hosted the softball conference championship the year prior as one of the finest facilities in the league. Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium stands upon a plateau of its own as one that Sun Belt and even Big 12 opponents alike fear to enter, and one of the league’s toughest venues for basketball will get even tougher in the coming years as the Trojans move into a brand new, state of the art basketball and convocation center set to open in 2012.

Dennis said however without the successful coaches and successful student-athletes at Troy these facilities would be merely bricks. It’s the people that make Troy special, and it has been done by many special people. Student-athletes under Dennis’ tenure have exemplified championship efforts on their field of play, and they have also excelled in a championship manor in the classroom. Troy athletes have posted a 3.0 grade point average or better for a year over 600 times in that span, and all 16 of Troy’s sports have met the NCAA’s Academic Progress Report’s standards of a 92.5 percent grade.

“The main thing that we are all very proud of is what we are doing with APR, and what we’re doing academically in emphasizing the student-athlete,” Dennis said. “These young men and women really work hard in the classroom, and all of our sports are above the NCAA requirement. Our graduation success rate is around the 80 percent mark. We’re excited about what the young men and women are trying to do not just on the field, but what they are doing off. That’s what is most important.”

Academic priorities are nothing new when it comes to Dennis. As a student-athlete himself at Georgia, the 1978 defensive captain for the Bulldogs football team was on the Academic All-SEC team before graduating Cum Laude later that year.

The cultivation and growth of Troy continues with an epic pace. The championship style leadership that Dennis brings to the athletic department has engaged a snowball effect, and the Trojans are grateful for his active presence in the Troy family. Dennis prides himself upon his commitment to championship academics, and that in turn gains championships on the field. As the world and surroundings change so does Troy University, but Trojan Pride is forever and it begins in the classroom and Dennis is looking to keep that tradition rolling today, tomorrow and forever.