Director position marks return to a ‘first love’ for Dillon


Shun Graves

Frances Dillon high-fives the brand-new bull mascot in October. She assumed the interim athletics director post this year.

By Saylor Mullarkey

Like a quarterback calling the audible, a point guard reading a new defense or a fencer creatively parrying an opponent’s jab, Frances Dillon doesn’t hesitate to roll her sleeves up and adapt to shifting circumstances and needs.

Appointed Branson’s interim athletic director at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year to replace Veronica Bosque, Dillon has expertise that spans two seemingly different worlds. 

As a seasoned college counselor, Dillon’s background in athletics may come as a surprise. However, Dillon is quick to clarify, “Athletics was my first love,” she said. 

Not only do her actions speak louder than her words, they involve quite a lot more travel. Just this school year, Dillon has already chaperoned trips to Las Vegas for girls varsity volleyball and Fresno for the football team, and she regularly drives the girls varsity golf team to off-site practices.

Students have already felt her impact.

 “She has a really positive presence,” said Phoebe Yates, a sophomore member of the golf team. 

Her sophomore teammate, Lizzy Liu, couldn’t agree more.

Athletics was my first love.

— Frances Dillon

“She has been very kind this season,” she said. “And it’s super nice having someone to talk to on the car rides.”

Dillon’s love of supporting athletics extends to each team on campus. 

“She is probably the best athletic director ever,” said Nick Pfendler, Branson’s football tight end. “She just gets things done, knows what we need and looks out for us.”

That new support doesn’t stop with students. Associate Athletics Director Tyler Gottschalk commended her ability to “step up for the school and hit the ground running.” 

Dillon “has met every challenge head-on and does a lot behind the scenes to help the athletic department continue to thrive,” he said. “You can see the personal relationships she has with kids all over campus who are coming by to see her.”

While Dillon also maintains a role as a testing coordinator for college counseling, the strength of her support for Branson students is unwavering. 

“This job gives you a front row seat into students’ lives and an important part of their high school experience,” she said.

“Sports were a huge part of my identity,” said Dillon, who played basketball and volleyball in high school. “You remember the victories, the spirit and the friendships.” 

In terms of what the future holds for the director position, Branson plans to post the position and conduct a national search for candidates. While the future of her position may not be certain, Dillon’s enthusiasm is.

“Right now, I am really enjoying my job, so we will see what the future will bring.”