Giving back

By passing along experience, Kim Demmings ’15, ’19 helps student-athletes succeed

Former Wright State basketball star Kim Demmings now helps current Raiders as the academic advisor in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

When Kim Demmings talks, student-athletes have learned it is a smart play to listen closely. She’s been in their shoes—or sneakers—on the court and in the classroom. She passes along what she learned in both arenas that can help make them successful
at Wright State and in life.

Demmings is not just any former athlete. At Wright State, she’s the GOAT—Greatest of All Time. She starred as a guard on the Raiders women’s basketball team from 2011–16, finishing her career having scored 2,677 points, which remains the most by any Wright State player, men’s or women’s, and the most in Horizon League history. Her jersey No. 4 is retired, a nod to her prowess on the court.

She did well in the classroom, too, earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership in 2015 and a master’s in sports management in 2019.

Demmings now uses her talents as the university’s academic advisor in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, a role she assumed in July after being an administrator and coach in the department since 2017.

It all started on the playgrounds of her native Richmond, Indiana. “I was 6 or 7,” she said. “I picked up a ball and was just good at it.” Elementary school presented the opportunity to start playing organized basketball, where she excelled and learned the fundamentals.

Then came high school—and academic problems. “My freshman and sophomore years were rough,” Demmings said. Then-Wright State women’s basketball coach Mike Bradbury, came to one of her high school games and stressed the importance of good grades.

Demmings said Bradbury’s talk motivated her to do better—and she did. She made a recruiting visit to Wright State and was sold.

“When I got here my freshman year, I was around a great group of coaches and people in the athletic department,” Demmings said. “I was given the tools and the resources to be a success academically and athletically. We had pride in the classroom as well as on the court.”

Wright State won 20 or more games four times in Demmings’ five years, including a Horizon League championship and NCAA tournament appearance in 2014. She rebounded from a season-ending foot injury in the 2014–15 season opener to be named Horizon League Player of the Year as a senior.

In a nod to her elite career, Kim Demmings’ jersey was retired during a 2018 ceremony at Wright State. (Photo credit: Allison Rodriguez)

After graduation, she played professionally in Israel, then reconnected with Wright State under then-coach Katrina Merriweather and worked her way up in the department to where she is today.

She meets with roughly 200 Raider student-athletes from all intercollegiate sports. She asks about their goals and creates a plan with them “to navigate their four or five years at Wright State. I do the best I can to keep them academically eligible and have them understand what that means.”

Demmings makes sure each student-athlete is registered for classes, competing, and that “they have their path toward their diploma and they’re eligible to play.”

Talking from experience, she tells them, “I’ve done it; you can do it too, academically and athletically.”

Those conversations allow Demmings to become “a small piece of the overall picture” in student-athletes’ lives, she said.

“Kim is one of the most sincere and down-to-earth people I know,” said Robert Ray, associate athletics director. “I trust her completely as a colleague and as someone our student-athletes go to for guidance. She’s honest. She speaks with a depth of goodwill and common sense, and she genuinely cares about the students as people and does her best to support them.”

“Kim has always been incredibly humble,” said Brandon Hays, associate athletic director of external operations, “to the point where I get a bit of an eye roll every time I explain to a group of student-athletes that she’s the best we’ve ever seen on the court here at Wright State. If it were up to her, she wouldn’t even mention that she played here. I was just such a fan of hers during my first stint at Wright State (2012–15) that I have to share anytime we’re both in front of a group of student-athletes. It’s so cool she’s here giving back to them.”

“I’m hoping people see me as giving back,” Demmings said. “I’m trying to create the positive environment that was made for me.”

She added, “The goal is for them to have a great student-athlete experience, then get them into the world to have success. I take great pride in doing that.”

Wright State’s Kim Demmings dribbles upcourt during a 2016 game against Oakland at the Nutter Center. (Photo credit: Tim Zechar)

Demmings’ work with student-athletes has helped Wright State remain consistently competitive across the athletic program.

“We’re punching above our weight class,” she said, noting that Wright State competes successfully in Division I against larger schools. “We bring in the right people to be successful. We’ve proven that we do belong in Division I.”

Demmings is aware she’s helping future Raider alumni. “Being an alumna means something to me,” she said. “Working with future alumni is wholesome.”

She has a message for fellow alumni: “Come out and support our teams, support athletics. We care about them as people and as students and as athletes.”

As for herself and her future, Demmings says, “My feet are here and I’m putting everything I can into being a great academic advisor.”

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