Within every successful college athletic department are the staff members behind the scenes — those whose work is critical to the day-to-day operations while providing constant guidance and support.
Perhaps no one embodies this role more than Rhonda Ferguson, a.k.a. “Miss Rhonda,” to those who know her best. As the administrative assistant to the athletic director, she handles everything from budgets to travel itineraries — all while responding to dozens of email requests.
It’s not an easy task to ensure that coaches and student-athletes have what they need while keeping track of every dollar spent in this budget-conscious environment, but Ferguson enjoys her work and takes great pride in serving Morehead State University.
“I do love my job and want to make a positive impact on those around me,” Ferguson said. “The interaction I have with coaches and the student-athletes is the best part. Not only do I support them at work, but I also cheer them on from the stands. I’m an Eagle through and through — always have been.”
A resident of nearby West Liberty, Ferguson began working at MSU in 2009, but it almost didn’t happen. She and her husband, Okie, had just sold their family furniture business in Morgan County. She spent the next year at home but soon decided that wasn’t for her. Ferguson then took a part-time job at a local bookkeeping business before her daughter, Kristi, encouraged her to apply for a secretarial position with MSU Athletics.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I had a chance because I applied on the final day before the position closed,” Ferguson recalled. “But to my surprise, I got called in for an interview and the next day I was offered the job.”
Ferguson began as a secretary specialist before being promoted to her current role. MSU Director of Athletics Brian Hutchinson (96) offers high praise of Ferguson, who regularly goes above and beyond her assigned duties.
“Rhonda is truly selfless as it relates to her work for our staff and students,” Hutchinson said. “She provides a lot of services, most of which aren’t really part of her job. But she knows these things need to be done in order to keep us organized toward success and she does them without complaint. I appreciate her so much and know how fortunate we are to have her as part of our leadership team.”
One of the “extras” that Ferguson loves to do is sending text messages of support to MSU’s coaches. She understands the pressures that come with Division One coaching and is eager to offer encouragement.
“Win or lose, I want our coaches to know that I’m always cheering them on. After every game, it’s what I do. It reminds the coaches that they’re appreciated.” -[Rhonda Ferguson]
Among the many who get Ferguson’s texts are men’s basketball head coach Preston Spradlin, who began receiving her motivational messages when he first arrived at MSU as an assistant.
“Miss Rhonda is really the heart of our athletics program,” Spradlin said. “She has a personal relationship with nearly every member of our staff and is invested in the success of all our programs. The texts I receive from her after every game mean so much to me. She is always positive and certainly loyal to our student-athletes. I am forever thankful for her service and commitment.”
Ferguson has been employed by MSU for almost a decade, but her investment in the institution began many years prior. She completed a one-year secretarial certificate in the mid-1970s and her children, Kristi (98) and Bryce (03), both earned degrees from the institution.
“Morehead State has always been a big part of our family,” Ferguson added. “I love working here and plan to stay as long as they’ll have me. This is where I want to retire. This is home.”
For additional information about MSU Athletics, visit www.msueagles.com.