Professor draws on own student-athlete experience for new role

Deborah Craig

A background in athletic training and experience as a student-athlete should provide Deborah Craig with a solid foundation as she begins a new role as faculty athletics representative this fall.

President John Haeger appointed Craig, director of the athletic training education program, to the position charged with ensuring academic integrity, NCAA compliance, enhancement of the student-athlete experience and communication with university administrators.

Craig assumes the role from Tom Destefano who is returning to teach in the College of Education.

“Deborah is a natural fit for this important commission to instill deep values and ethics in our student-athletes,” Haeger said. “She has demonstrated her commitment to success of the athletics program and its expectation for meeting the highest standards for our students.”

Craig has been with Northern Arizona University for a decade, with nine years as an associate professor of athletic training and physical therapy. She’s spent 15 years as an athletic trainer at the collegiate level, with extensive experience working with and teaching student-athletes.

“I have had an opportunity to work with Dr. Craig on the Intercollegiate Athletic Council and am very excited about her appointment,” said Lisa Campos, vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics. “She has first-hand knowledge of what our student-athletes go through and will help us continue to provide them with a great experience culminating in graduation. We are glad to have her on board and I look forward to working with her in this new role.”

“It is an honor to receive this appointment from President Haeger and to serve NAU in a new capacity,” Craig said. “It is an exciting time to step into this role. Dr. Campos has created an upward trajectory for NAU athletics that is infectious.”

Craig earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Chico, and master’s degree from the University of Arizona, both in athletic training, and doctoral degree in educational leadership from Colorado State University.

Craig said she will draw on her own experience as an undergraduate student participating in field hockey and her understanding of what it takes to balance the demands of a busy college career.

“My intention is to serve students and the university to ensure the success of both,” Craig said. “I hope in this new role to effectively spread the excitement for and gain greater support of our student athletes across campus, the community, the Big Sky Conference and the NCAA.”