Assistant Director of Athletics earns Phyllis Law Googasian Award


Since 2006, Holly Kerstner has worked for Oakland University as the assistant director of athletics for student-athlete services, a position where she helps athletes with academics during their time at OU as well as guides them in their transition to life after college.

On March 6, it was announced that Kerstner will be presented the Phyllis Law Googasian Award, an honor that has been given out annually since 1992 to the member of the Oakland University community who has contributed to the advancement of women at OU.

Her broad range of interaction has undoubtedly influenced the lives of several OU student-athletes.

During her time at Oakland, she has overseen the Grizzly Center for Graduates and Champions, which provides academic tutoring for athletes; helped to maintain an environment of gender equality as the Senior Woman Administrator (the highest ranking female in an NCAA athletic department); acted as the administrator for the tennis, softball and volleyball teams; and presided over the Lifeskills program to aid student-athletes with their post-graduation goals.  

Kerstner’s extensive involvement in athletics and academics has led her to feel a sense of enthusiasm and satisfaction upon the culmination of the transformation process.

“I enjoy seeing the change occur in student-athletes,” she said.  “It’s rewarding to see the ‘ah-ha’ moment when they decide on a major or realize what they want to do after college.”

Evan Dermidoff, an academic advisor in the athletic department, recognized her importance to the university and nominated her for the award.

“From an academic standpoint, she is all-knowing,” he said.  “Holly meets with student-athletes on a regular basis to make sure they are doing what the need to.  This is long overdue, she definitely deserves it.”

Kerstner’s modest attitude toward her work left her surprised when she first heard the news.

“I was shocked when I heard I’d won, I didn’t even know I’d been nominated,” she said.  “It was very humbling.”

Nobody has ever won the award more than once, but with the significant impact Kerstner has had, Dermidoff believes she has what it takes to become the first.

“She could win it in back to back to back years if that’s allowed,” he said.

Kerstner will formally accept her award at noon on March 18 at the 22nd annual PLG luncheon.  Tickets are $15 and the ceremony will be held in the Oakland Center Banquet Rooms.