Posted: May 19, 2022
New Orleans – The Dillard University athletics department announced today, May 19, that Norbert Rome, the school’s current Head Women’s Basketball Coach, has been named the Interim Athletics Director. He will officially take over in the interim role on June 1.
Coach Rome just completed his ninth year leading the Lady Bleu Devils. It was his 15th consecutive season as a member of the women’s basketball coaching staff at Dillard.
“All I have learned while working here in Dillard athletics is how to work hard, work with people, build a culture, unite a department, inspire students, coaches, and support staff; listen, learn, and ultimately develop the individuals around me,” Coach Rome explained. “I will continue to do what I have been taught while having the opportunity to serve as interim director of athletics.”
“Coach Rome will do a great job of leading Dillard’s Athletics Department as the interim director,” said Dillard’s Athletics Director Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes. “I have known and worked closely with Coach Rome over these last 16 years. In that time, Coach Rome has shown himself to be a person of high character that cares deeply about all our student-athletes and believes strongly in the mission of Dillard University.”
He returned to his alma mater prior to the 2007 season as the lead assistant coach under then former Dillard Women’s Basketball Head Coach and current and now outgoing Athletics Director Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes. In the fall of 2012, Coach Rome was promoted to the head coaching position as the chosen leader of the program.
In his tenure as the head coach, Rome has led the Lady Bleu Devils to a 119-139 record including a mark of 53-64 in the always rugged Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). His teams have won 19 or more games in a season three different times including going 23-6 with a mark of 9-3 in the GCAC in 2017-18 on their way to winning both the GCAC Regular Season Title and the GCAC Tournament Championship plus a berth into the NAIA Women’s Basketball Tournament. He also individually secured 2017-18 GCAC Coach of the Year honors for the first time in his career. He made it back-to-back years with the GCAC Tournament Championship in 2018-19 when the program went 21-12 overall and had a 9-5 mark in the conference as the team made its second straight berth into the NAIA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
A total of 24 of his players have been selected to GCAC All-Conference Teams during his time with the program including three last season as Diniaa McZeal and Taylor Dewitt were Second Team All-GCAC and JaQuanna Hunter earned a spot on the league’s All-Defensive Team. He has recruited and developed a pair of players that have earned GCAC Freshman of the Year honors and seen four of his players earn places on the GCAC’s All-Defensive Team. He has coached five different players to places on the GCAC All-Tournament Team including the MVP of the tournament in both 2018 and 2019. He has also seen 17 players selected as a GCAC Weekly Award during his time on the sidelines.
His players and teams have also made their mark nationally with eight selections to NAIA All-American Teams, a WBCA Good Works Team selection (2013-14), a WBCA Academic Honor Roll team selection (2013-14), five times seeing one of his teams being recognized as an NAIA Scholar Athlete Team Award and mentoring the sport winner for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Scholarship Award (2019 – Shaelynn Moore) among the nine times an individual from one of his teams has been honored with a place on one of the individual sport teams for the national organization.
During his time at Dillard his teams have also stood out in the classroom with 44 selections to the GCAC Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll (3.0 and higher individual cumulative GPAs for the year) with 16 of his players also being recognized as Daktronics Scholar Athletes.
Rome played basketball at Warren Easton High School. His ability to understand the game helped him lead his high school team to the quarterfinals in the state playoffs in 1995. He was the instrumental leader on a team that graduated several collegiate players. The team posted the best record in the school’s history.
Following high school he went to play at Mary Holmes Junior College where he was known on the team as a top three-point shooting threat. Rome earned an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Mary Holmes Junior College and graduated from Dillard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2001.
Coach Rome and his wife, Cyla C. Rome, are proud parents to three sons in Nathan Paul Rome, Noah Paul Rome and Neal Paul Rome.
Coach Rome will be replacing Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes. Dr. Barnes was recently appointed as the first Black woman to be named the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) Commissioner. It is a position she will officially start on June 1st. Since 2006, Dr. Barnes has served as athletic director at Dillard University where she facilitated the return of the university’s athletic program, transformed the program into a national model of student-athlete success and community service, established new sports teams, and oversaw the founding of the university’s first endowed athletic scholarship. Throughout this time, she served as the only intercollegiate female athletic director in Louisiana.
A national search is currently being conducted to name the new permanent Athletics Director at Dillard University.
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