Athletic Academics Services.

Associate Athletic Director for Academic Services

Felicia Martin was named Associate Athletic Director for Academic Services at Texas Tech University in November 2008. In this position, Felicia is responsible for the administration of the academic and student services programs for approximately 400+ Texas Tech student-athletes.

Felicia originally joined the Texas Tech athletic staff June 1999 as a counseling specialist for the tutorial and mentor program. She served as the Coordinator of the CHAMPS/Life Skills program from 2000 to 2003. Felicia returned to Texas Tech after five years as the Assistant Executive Director at Division 1A Athletic Directors' Association.

While at Division 1A Athletic Directors' Association, Felicia was involved in virtually every aspect of Association activities and was responsible for working directly with all Division 1A athletics departments. She assisted with programming and events for athletic administrators' leadership development and played a key role in life skills programs and education for student-athletes (1A CHAMPS Program). She was the primary administrator for the 1A CHAMPS Program of Excellence which included campus assessments and the application process. She was the Association's liaison to various organizations and affiliate groups.

Felicia earned a Bachelor of Science in Educational Psychology and a Masters Degree in Counselor Education from Mississippi State University.


Texas Tech Tradition: Will Rogers & Soapsuds

Book: Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell

Quote/Poem: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us." Marianne Williamson

Felicia can be reached at: felicia.martin@ttu.edu

Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Academic Services / Football

Rodney Lackey joined the Texas Tech Red Raider family as the Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Academic & Support Services July 2008. In this position Rodney is responsible for assisting Felicia Martin in overseeing the Athletic Academic & Support Services program and being the lead advisor for football and the advisor for soccer.

Rodney is originally from Detroit, MI and attended Central Michigan University where he was an All-Conference sprinter and team captain. While a member of the track team, he was awarded Outstanding Minority Male Athlete of the Year and the Bill Boyden Leadership Award, which is the highest award a student-athlete can receive. It recognizes a student-athlete in their final year of eligibility that is in good academic standing and whose record best combines participation in a varsity intercollegiate sport with leadership ability in campus affairs and activities. Rodney earned his B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Counseling from Central Michigan.

Rodney has been in the profession of Athletic Academic Services for 18 years working at Central Michigan University, North Carolina State University, University of Richmond, and at Texas A&M University.

Rodney has two sons, Jonathan and Braylon, and his wife, Taryn, is a first grade teacher


Texas Tech Tradition: The Masked Rider leading the team onto the field

Book: Whatever catches my interest

Quote/Poem: "Life's Too Short"

Rodney can be reached at: rodney.lackey@ttu.edu

Athletic Academic Advisor for Cross Country and Track & Field

Athletic Academic Advisor Suzanne Dickenson brings a wealth of academic and athletic experience to the Marsha Sharp Center for Student-Athletes at Texas Tech. Dickenson's professional experience in collegiate athletics began in 1999 where she served as a student assistant to the compliance coordinator at Abilene Christian University before earning a graduate assistant position with the track and field team for the 2000-01 season. Her success as a graduate assistant led to a full-time position as a Track & Field Assistant Coach and UIL Regional Director. As an Assistant Coach, Dickenson coached several All-Americans and was instrumental in the rise of Abilene Christian University's Track & Field program becoming one of the top Track and Field programs in the country, as the Wildcats captured nine NCAA team championships during her tenure.

In 2006, Dickenson was promoted to the role of Director of Athletic Academic Services and tasked with the creation and development of the new Athletic Academic Program. In 2008, Dickenson was hired as the Athletic Academic Advisor for the Men's and Women's Track and Field and Cross Country teams at Texas Tech University, and later added Women's Tennis as part of the teams she works with. Dickenson's primary role is providing personal, vocational, educational, and advanced counseling and training at both the individual and group levels. Dickenson is pivotal in the management of counseling programs for her teams by assisting with course selection to ensure degree progress and completion; as well as, simultaneously serving as the contact between student-athletes and the coaching staff regarding academic progress. In addition, Dickenson monitors eligibility requirements in accordance to the NCAA and Big 12 guidelines, assists with tracking and reporting of student-athlete concerns, and is the lead administrator for the GradesFirst academic monitoring system.

As a student-athlete at Abilene Christian University, Dickenson helped the Wildcats to win four team National Championships from 1998-99. She later ran professionally and competed across the world including meets in Cuba, Ireland, Portugal, Estonia and Finland. In addition, Dickenson was named to the Junior Pan American and Junior Carifta Teams after winning the Jamaican Junior Championships in the 100-meter hurdles. She was also a four-time runner up at the NCAA Division II Championships in the 100-meter hurdles and a five-time All-American from 1998-1999.

Dickenson began her collegiate journey at Mico Teachers College and earned her teacher's diploma specializing in mathematics and general science, while moving on to earn her Bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1999 before receiving her Master's degree in 2001 at Abilene Christian University.


Texas Tech Tradition: The Masked Rider leading the team onto the field

Book: "Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance" Nathan Whitaker & Tony Dungy

Quote/Poem: "Never give up, never lose sight, and keep your eyes on the finish line because spectators are only there for distraction. With hard work and determination you can be anything you want to be in life." Oprah Winfrey

Suzanne can be reached at: suzanne.dickenson@ttu.edu.

Director of Football Academics

AuDrey Dempsey Branch joined the Texas Tech Athletic Academic & Support Services staff February 2013 as an Athletic Academic Advisor working with football academics. Her primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to working with initial eligibility, all incoming freshmen, and additional at-risk student-athletes, oversight of academic coaching, Graduate Assistant's, and orientation for all incoming freshmen and transfers.

Prior to Tech, Dempsey Branch served as the Special Projects Coordinator for the Student Athlete Enrichment Program at Clemson University from 2010-2013. Dempsey Branch moved over into athletic academic services after serving as a NCAA Division I Track and Field Coach at various universities including schools in the SEC, ACC, and Big East. Under her tutelage she had a myriad of conference champions, regional and national qualifiers, as well as All-Americans. Not a stranger to athletics, Dempsey Branch was a three -time Track and Field ACC Champion and record holder, three time NCAA qualifier, and a 92 USA Olympic Trial qualifier while a student -athlete at Georgia Tech.

Dempsey Branch is an active member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A), served as the Life Skills Committee Chair and also a part of the New Member Committee. She is also an active member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA).

Dempsey is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1997 and Masters in Counselor Education with a concentration in Student Affairs from Clemson University in 2012.


Texas Tech Tradition: The Masked Rider leading the team onto the field.

Book: "21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" John C. Maxwell

Quote/Poem: "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone." AuDrey Hepburn.

AuDrey Branch can be reached at: audrey.branch@ttu.edu.

Athletic Academic Advisor (Football)

Jesse Funk, originally from Carrollton, Texas, joined the Texas Tech Athletic Academic & Support Services staff in August of 2013 as an Athletic Academic Advisor for the Red Raider football team. His responsibilities include working with football student-athletes in progressing toward degree completion and additional administrative duties as assigned.

Prior to Texas Tech, Jesse was the Academic Specialist for men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, and soccer teams at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. During his tenure in Beaumont, Jesse was in charge of evaluating initial eligibility and maintaining continuing eligibility for four different NCAA Division 1 sports in the Southland Conference. Jesse also monitored admissions requirements, coordinated tutor sessions, and mentally prepared Lamar student athletes to graduate from a four year university.

Jesse earned his Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from Stephen F. Austin State University in May 2011 where he was an offensive center for the 2009 and 2010 Southland Conference championship football team. When his years as a Lumberjack offensive lineman concluded, Jesse began a career in athletic academic services as graduate assistant for the Lumberjack football team. He later earned his Master's degree in Kinesiology from SFASU in December of 2012.

Jesse is an active member in the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletes and in his free time enjoys hunting, fishing, and being outdoors. He also enjoys the great sport of football and being close to family and loved ones.


Texas Tech Tradition: Homecoming Bonfire

Book: "White Fang" Jack London

Quote/Poem: "We will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall achieve excellence." Vince Lombardi, Jr

Jesse can be reached at: jesse.funk@ttu.edu.

Coordinator of Academic Records / Office Manager

Denise Hood joined the Athletic Academic & Support Services staff in August 2003. Her primary obligation is assisting the Associate Athletic Director for Athletic Academic & Support Services in the coordination of services for student-athletes. Denise is also responsible for assisting student-athletes with textbooks, study table monitoring, grade reports, team travel letters, the Academic Hall of Honor awards, and departmental budget concerns.

Denise has been an employee of the University for 25 years. She previously worked in the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute in the College of Human Sciences. She and her husband, Dennis, have two daughters, Ashlee and Amber, who are both graduates of Texas Tech University.


Texas Tech Tradition: When the Tech Band is marching from the Music Building to the Football Stadium. I love hearing and singing the Tech Fight Song!

Book: "Ever After: A Cinderella Story"

Quote/Poem: "Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears." John Lennon

Denise can be reached at: denise.hood@ttu.edu.

Athletic Academic Advisor for Softball & Volleyball

Andree' Houston joined the Texas Tech Athletic Academic & Support Services staff as the Tutorial Coordinator in November 2011. In this position Andree' helps to provide comprehensive academic support through tutorial services as part of the Learning Assistance Program. In 2013, Andree' began serving in the role as Athletic Academic Advisor for Softball.

Andree' earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Alabama while competing as a student-athlete in gymnastics and track. She worked as a graduate assistant for the Center for Athlete Student Services at from the University of Alabama while completing her Master's degree in Health Studies/Promotions. Andree' went on to coach collegiate gymnastics at Southeast Missouri State University in 2004 before returning to her alma mater in 2008 as a member of the Athletic Compliance Office.

Andree' is married to Victor Houston and they have three children, Shaniece, Nathaniel, and Seraphina.


Texas Tech Tradition: Masked Rider

Book: "Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Haven and Back"

Quote/Poem: "It's not the will to win that matters - everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters." Paul "Bear" Bryant

Andree can be reached at: andree.houston@ttu.edu.

Assistant Director for Continuing Eligibility/Athletic Academic Advisor for Baseball and Men's Tennis

Matthew Jordan joined the office of Athletic Academic & Support Services in September 2005 as a graduate assistant. Currently, he is the Assistant Director for Continuing Eligibility where he monitors satisfactory progress towards degree requirements and APR for all intercollegiate athletic teams at Texas Tech. Also, he serves as the Athletic Academic Advisor for the Baseball and Men's Tennis programs.

Prior to joining the athletic department, Matthew worked as an Academic Advisor for the College of Media Communications. Matthew earned his undergraduate degree from Big 12 rival, Baylor University, with a degree in business management and a minor in marketing. He earned a Master's degree in Physical Education from Texas Tech.


Texas Tech Tradition: Carol of Lights

Book: Blue Jacket

Quote/Poem: "Success - it's what you do with what you've got." Coach Woody Hayes

Matthew can be reached at: matthew.jordan@ttu.edu.

Director of the Learning Assistance Program/Learning Specialist

Lyndee Kiesling joined the Athletic Academic & Support Services staff in August 2011 as a Learning Specialist. Her primary responsibilities include assessing the academic needs of student-athletes, developing learning plans, and providing individualized academic guidance for these students. Lyndee collaborates with Student Disability Services and local psychologists in order to coordinate the Learning Assistance Program and meet the needs of each individual student-athlete. She also manages the Internship program within the department.

Lyndee was raised in Eden, Texas. She received her B.S. in Human Development from Texas Tech University, worked for various social work/non-profit organizations, and then attended Baylor University, where she earned her M.S. in Education. During her time at Baylor, Lyndee was an Academic Mentor at the Academic Success Center.


Texas Tech Tradition: The planting of tulips all over the campus in the spring and Carol of Lights.

Book: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Quote/Poem: "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." Mother Teresa

Lyndee can be reached at: lyndee.kiesling@ttu.edu.

Learning Specialist

Candice Laster joined the Athletic Academic & Support Services staff August 2013 as a learning specialist. Her duties include assessing the academic needs of student-athletes, developing learning plans and providing individualized academic guidance for these students.

Prior to Athletic Academic & Support Services, Candice worked as a Coordinator for the Transfer Connection and Red Raider Orientation programs within the Center for Campus Life on Tech's campus. She received her BBA in Accounting, M.Ed. in Higher Education, and M.Ed. in Counselor Education from Texas Tech University.


Texas Tech Tradition: Raider Red coming out of the tunnel.

Book: I know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Quote/Poem: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Rossevelt

Candice can be reached at: candice.laster@ttu.edu .

Athletic Assistant (Men's and Women's Basketball

Katie joined the Texas Tech Athletic Academic & Support Services staff in May, 2013 as an Athletic Assistant for Athletic Academic Advising for Men's and Women's Basketball.

Katie was born and raised in Tulia, Texas and attended Texas Tech University where she earned her B.A. in Business Management and her M.S. in Sport Management.


Texas Tech Tradition: Ringing of the Victory Bells after Tech wins a game!

Book: Harry Potter Series & Stephanie Plum series

Quote/Poem: "You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation." Brigham Young "The word is a book and those who do not travel read only one page" Augustine of Hippo

Katie can be reached at: katie.chapman@ttu.edu .

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