Meet Our New Director of Campus Recreation and Wellness: Daphne Tyson

By: Colin Bulger | Health and Wellness Editor |

Break out your running shoes and swim caps! Daphne Tyson is the new director of the Student Recreation Center. She has a passion for fitness and helping people reach their goals.

As a University of South Alabama graduate, Tyson loves our university and the community of Mobile. She received her undergraduate in 1992 in Physical Education, and her master’s degree in Physical Education with a concentration in Exercise Physiology while also being a graduate assistant. During her freshman year at South, she started training as a fitness instructor in the Gamma Commons (now the police station).

“We would move the desks inside Gamma commons. We would teach aerobics classes and would move the study hall tables aside,” Tyson said. “That got me into fitness. I love teaching classes and teaching people.”

Like any good fitness coordinator or leader, helping people achieve their fitness goals is a passion of hers.

“Helping people achieve their fitness goals and motivate them, I know it is hard to come in and work out,” Tyson said. “Sometimes people just need that motivation, and that was an area that I really thrived in.”

After she graduated, she was the first fitness coordinator for the Department of Campus Recreation. Her long history and hard work in the department have gotten her to where she is today. She thanks her mentors for their support and wisdom that guided her down the path she took.

Shortly after, Tyson married and spent 18 years traveling the world with her husband who was in the military. She mentions her time in Hawaii, where she was the aquatics and fitness manager at a military resort and hotel. 

“I love the Gulf Coast. I love South Alabama. My family is here and I love being back. I developed a lot of meaningful relationships in my first eight years here, and to be able to come back and relive that has been pretty awesome.” Tyson said. “To be able to come back and get this job has been my ultimate goal. It’s been the job that I’ve always wanted. I am really excited to be back.” 

Tyson’s day-to-day activities consist of making sure the Recreation Center looks nice and is running smoothly for students and visitors.

“There are some structural renovations we are trying to work out to keep making it look nice for our students.”  

Some students have a hard time balancing work, school, and wellness. Despite the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Tyson wants students to understand the importance of maintaining that balance.

She knows how hard it is to go to classes, then go to your job, and then go back home and study, just to do it all over again the next day.

“The Rec Center helps with handling the stress of being a student, ” Tyson said. “Using the Rec Center is so important to help your mental health and physical health. If you aren’t part of a sorority or fraternity or an athlete, the Rec Center and intramurals are a great way to meet people and have that niche.” 

Tyson met her best friend from South Alabama on the intramural fields. She loves to see students’ smiling faces throughout the Rec, reminding her of her time here as a student.

“The Rec is really a place for everyone,” Tyson said. “Whether it be the fitness classes, or you like to play ping pong, or basketball, or racketball. We have a weight room upstairs for those who maybe won’t feel comfortable in the main gym. Or maybe you want to just run indoors. We have the track. If you’re a swimmer we have an indoor pool. We’re also working on e-sports. There are so many areas we are working to expand to meet the needs of our students.” 

Being a part of the legacy of South Alabama, Tyson wants to reach out to more students to figure out programming and find out what students want and need. She finishes by encouraging students to reach out with ideas and future visions for the Recreation Center. She knows how important the facility is to students and wants it to be the absolute best it can be. 

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