Maryann Mitts, Ph.D. ('87)

Director of Athletics and Women’s Basketball Coach
Cottey College
Assistant Professor
Missouri State University

As athletics director at Cottey College, an all-women’s private school in Nevada, Missouri, Maryann is responsible for overseeing the college’s eight athletics programs and athletics department personnel. She also serves as head basketball coach of the Cottey Comets and as assistant professor at Missouri State University. She previously was head basketball coach at Missouri Southern State University where she is the winningest coach in the program’s history.

Get to Know Maryann

What talent would you most like to have?
To be able to sing

What living person do you most admire?
My 93-year-old mother―the epitome of a strong, resilient woman

Favorite fictional character?
Elizabeth McCord (Madam Secretary)

Favorite musical group?

Most treasured possession?
My late father’s rosary

Favorite pastime?

What led you to a career in coaching and athletics administration?
Through athletics, I learned the importance of overcoming adversity, failing forward and mental toughness. I began my career in coaching and was able to fulfill my lifelong goal of becoming an athletics director upon joining Cottey College. The college’s mission and my role align with my deeprooted beliefs of empowering women through a holistic (physical, mental and spiritual) approach.

What prepared you most for your career?
My education at St. Teresa's Academy was pivotal. It was instrumental to the development of my leadership skills and confidence. I’ve also been blessed with many female mentors who paved the way for women like me to excel in the sports world. 

What's the greatest challenge you've faced in your career?
Being a woman in a predominantly male profession has its challenges but is also very rewarding. While I had to work to get a seat at the table, gaining a voice at the table was the greatest challenge. 

What's your greatest success?
In my eyes, success is about inspiring student-athletes to be the best versions of themselves. My goal is to be a role model and instill in young women that it’s okay to be competitive, to demand excellence in themselves and others, and to break the glass ceiling personally and professionally.

What advice do you have for women who aspire to become leaders in their fields?
Read personal development books and surround yourself with quality individuals who will support and edify you. My success has been based not only on my qualifications, but also on the relationships I’ve developed over the years. Also, be willing to pay your dues. Get the education and experience needed to be in leadership. Outwork others and be willing to give more of yourself without expecting something in return.

What quality do you admire most in a woman leader?
Genuineness and passion

What's your leadership style?
Servant leadership