Coach Ange ascends the ladder, lands new title as LC’s assistant athletic director

Photo of Coach Ange in gym
Courtesy of Lewis & Clark

On Jan. 6 2023 Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Angela Dendas-Pleasant was promoted to assistant athletic director, while retaining her other duties. Dendas-Pleasant is thrilled with the opportunity to impact students lives in her new role

“I’m excited to enhance our student athlete experience,” Dendas-Pleasant said. “We have a lot of projects in the work that’s related to facility upgrades that I think are just going to benefit our student athletes that are currently here and then the ones that are coming.”

Dendas-Pleasant started filling a more administrative role during the pandemic, and kept it up afterward. Mark Pietrok, director of physical education and athletics, was a proponent of her promotion. 

“I’d asked her to do different things and you know she did him really well, as usual,” Pietrok said. “It finally got to a point where I wanted it to be recognized. It’s now part of her job, this administrative piece.”

Dendas-Pleasant turns the athletic administrative staff into a trio, between herself, Pietrok and Associate Director of Physical Education and Athletics, Senior Woman Administrator Sharon Sexton. Having three lead administrators is atypical for college athletics; most staffs are larger. Additionally, Dendas-Pleasant is the most recent to join the college’s staff. 

“Our longevity allows us to kind of understand where some of the issues are and see them coming and be able to plan it out a little bit,”  Pietrok said. “(We are) able to accomplish those things in a way that somebody who has not been here very long would probably struggle with.”

LC is an exception in having a majority of women in senior administrative roles. Dendas-Pleasant reflected on her position in a male-dominated field.

“Now, there’s great female coaches that have really kind of paved the way and been great examples of holding head coaching roles or director roles, roles with more responsibility and greater leadership,” Dendas-Pleasant said. “Seeing this as an opportunity to kind of move to that direction, I think was kind of the main thing that really kind of intrigued me.”

Between prioritizing hiring from within and having a smaller administrative staff, LC athletics have a family-owned sort of dynamic. This environment is seen in the response to Dendas-Pleasant’s promotion.

“A lot of support from former alumni that were, I coached some of them my first few years here,” Dendas-Pleasant said. “You start to build kind of those relationships and then to have them reach out and show some love and support, was great and a little bit overwhelming.”

It’s Because of relationships like those that Dendas-Pleasant wanted to continue leading the strength and conditioning program and keep working with athletes.

“I think that’s kind of always been my why of getting into this field is being able to have an impact on these young adult lives through athletics,” Dendas-Pleasant said. “I think athletics is a great vehicle to really do that.”

Pietrok recognized Dendas-Pleasant’s skill with amplifying student voices, and is particularly excited to have her bring that perspective to the leadership team.

“She has a real good sense of what students are thinking and whatnot, so I’m able to get some feedback in that area,” Pietrok said. “That really helps me see some things through that lens as we have to make various different decisions.”

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