Division I FCS Nike Executive of the Year
Director of Athletics, Mississippi Valley State University
Dianthia Ford-Kee is entering into her 8th season at the helm of Mississippi Valley State University’s Athletics program. She continues to enhance the student-athlete experience and raise the bar in the area of academic success, health and wellness for our student-athletes and building championship programs. In our academic pursuit of excellence, all sport teams continue to improve their overall grade point averages (GPA). In spite of a global pandemic, the student-athletes amassed an overall GPA of 3.15 with 163 student-athletes ranging from 3.0 - 4.0. MVSU ranked 2nd in the Southwestern Athletic Conference with the highest GPA of all our student-athletes. Because of these improvements, MVSU shared in the NCAA Academic Revenue Distribution for Fall 2020.
Ford-Kee has enhanced and improved the overall health and wellness for the student-athletes such as improving the student-athlete trainer ratio. The increased athletic training and medical staff has improved recovery time of student-athletes return to play for non-season ending injuries. Students-athletes are receiving programing to include mind, body and soul wellness.
Facility improvements continue to be a focal point under her leadership. Current facility improvements include renovations at the football practice facility and Rice-Totten Stadium, along with the “Touchdown 4 Turf” campaign to upgrade Charles “Chuck” Prophet field to a turf playing surface and resurfacing the track. She played a viable role in the final renovations for
the R.W. Harrison HPER Complex and the completion of the baseball, softball and soccer field renovations. Ford-Kee also coordinated the unveiling of the court naming in 2017 in recognizing the two winningest coaches in MVSU basketball history, Lafayette Stribling and Jessie Harris. She completed renovations within the Devil’s Den along with the renaming of the facility to the Archie Cooley’s Devil’s Den.
November 2020, MVSU became a Charter Member of The Black Collegiate Gaming Association (BCGA). Fall 2021, students attending MVSU will be introduced to the Esports gaming industry, be connected to potential internships, full-time career opportunities and more. Another Valley in Motion move to keep up with the trends in the collegiate athletics industry.
MVSU was awarded the Women’s Sports Foundation - Tara VanDerveer Grant for the second straight season to hire an entry level female assistant women’s basketball coach. The Grant provides a stipend and professional development opportunities for the aspiring Fellow.
On June 13, 2016, Ford-Kee was recognized by the United States Congress as the Honorable Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi for her work as a director, leader and educator for her dedication to serving others and giving back to the African American Community.
Previously, Ford-Kee served over five years as the Director of Athletics at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania having successfully navigated Lincoln’s Athletic Department to active membership in NCAA Division II and return to the CIAA. Ford-Kee came to Lincoln from Shaw University where she spent 18 years working in athletic administration and coaching. Ford-Kee was named the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA) - NCAA Division II Female Athletic Administrator of the Year in 2006 while serving as Shaw’s Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator.
Ford-Kee is a member of the CIAA John McClendon Hall of Fame (2016), Shaw University’s Athletic Hall of Fame (2016), and Fayetteville State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame 1997. The Black Women in Sports Foundation honored her for her accomplishments at Lincoln University-PA with the Legends Award for her work in athletics. She has received several honors in the state of North Carolina; she was a 1998 inductee in the Wake County Academy for Women for Athletics and a 1999 nominee of the Governor’s Distinguished Woman Award for Athletics. She has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success with her softball and volleyball programs. Her team members have won NCAA national statistical honors, CIAA Divisional Titles as well as NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships. Her team won the CIAA Softball Championship four times (1993, 1994, 1996 and 2003) and the CIAA Volleyball Championship twice (1993 and 1995). A four-time softball Coach of the Year with two more in volleyball, Ford-Kee led Shaw to a volleyball conference record of 196-61 and an overall record of 247-158. Softball conference record of 121-37 and overall mark of 309-207. In November 2016, she was inducted in Shaw University’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
While competing in the sports of basketball and softball as a student-athlete at Fayetteville State University, she was a member of the 1979 CIAA Women’s Basketball Championship Team and the 1982 CIAA Softball Championship Team. Ford-Kee earned several All Conference and Tournament Team honors and was selected MVP of the 1982 Softball Championship Tournament. In 1982, she was selected as Fayetteville State University’s Athlete of the Year and was the youngest inductee into Fayetteville State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame (1997). Ford-Kee will be celebrated as an HBCU Living Legend on September 4, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina for her contributions in sports and higher education.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Fayetteville State University in 1982 and a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from Northern Illinois University in 1984. A native of Lawrenceville, N.J., Ford-Kee was inducted into the inaugural class of Lawrence High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008 as the first athlete in the history of the high school to score over 1000 points playing only 3 years of high school basketball. She currently holds basketball records that have not been broken at Lawrence High School in almost 55 years of existence.
Ford-Kee is married to Preston G. Kee, Jr., and the mother of Brandon and Fannézha Ford and Iman Kee.