M. Dianne Murphy, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor

M. Dianne  Murphy, Ph.D.

Dr. M. Dianne Murphy presided over one of the most successful periods in Columbia University Athletics history during her 11-year tenure (2004-2015). She also served as the University Advisor on Athletics Issues until retiring from Columbia where she joined The PICTOR Group. Murphy is an expert in strategic planning and leadership. She is a highly sought-out Executive Coach and serves as a mentor to numerous athletics administrators as well as head and assistant coaches.

A prominent and active athletics administrator on the national collegiate athletics landscape, Murphy was named to the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee in February 2011 and completed her term five-year term of service in September 2016. She also developed an elite leadership-training program for college women’s basketball coaches, The Center for Coaching Excellence, in conjunction with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). She continues to work closely with the WBCA on the So You Want to Be A Coach Program.

Columbia teams excelled during her tenure, as Columbia has won a total of 30 Ivy League titles in 11 different sports including baseball, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, men’s fencing, women’s fencing, men’s golf, women’s golf, women’s soccer, women’s indoor track and field, men’s tennis and women’s tennis. Columbia won a NCAA National Fencing Championship during her tenure and the men and women’s tennis teams were also nationally ranked. At Columbia Murphy spearheaded The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence which raised over $100 million for Columbia Athletics.

Murphy has overseen a number of initiatives aimed at transforming the experience of Columbia’s more than 700 student-athletes. She created and executed a Strategic Plan aimed at excellence in athletics. Murphy spearheaded the creation of the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame. A steward of leadership initiatives, Murphy created the Leaders for Life program designed to provide comprehensive leadership training to student-athletes. Murphy also created the First-Year Transition Program, for incoming student-athletes.

Murphy came to Columbia after six years as Athletics Director at the University of Denver. Under Murphy’s leadership, eight Denver teams made NCAA tournament appearances and, on four occasions Denver teams won a national title. In 2003-04, Denver enjoyed its best season when it won the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship, placed third in the NCAA Skiing Championship, and advanced to NCAA tournaments in women’s soccer, women’s tennis, and men and women’s golf.

Murphy has received numerous national awards for her visionary leadership in college athletics. In 2016 she was honored by Women Leaders in College Sports with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017 Murphy was elected into the NACDA Hall of Fame. In 2020 the WBCA awarded her with the prestigious Jostens-Berenson Lifetime Achievement Award. Murphy serves on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund Board of Directors, WeCOACH Board of Directors and the Tennessee Tech Foundation Board of Directors.

Prior to becoming an athletics administrator, Murphy coached NCAA Division I women’s basketball for 13 years. She was the head women’s basketball coach at Shorter College (1973-76), Florida State University (1976-79) and Eastern Kentucky University (1979-86).

Murphy holds a Ph.D. in administration and curriculum from Florida State (1980), and master’s (1973) and bachelor’s (1972) degrees from Tennessee Tech. The Tennessee Tech Alumni Association honored her with its 2005 Distinguished Alumna Award. Florida State presented her with its “Grad Made Good” award at its 2005 Homecoming.