The career path of Derrick Ramsey is one that personifies leadership most notably as an All-American football player, nationally-recognized athletic director, and his service to public office here in the Commonwealth.
While these accomplishments over the last 40 years have occurred in various arenas, Ramsey’s commitment to success and gift for building consensus along the way has remained a cornerstone of his legacy at each stop.
In 1975, Ramsey would become the first African-American starting quarterback in the University of Kentucky’s history. Two years later, he would not only lead the Wildcats to a 10-1 season at the helm, but also rack up numerous personal accolades including first team All-Southeastern Conference and third-team All-American.
After a successful nine-year NFL career including winning a 1981 Super Bowl ring, he would soon become a small business owner managing real estate and personal investment portfolios. This time away from the gridiron also gave him the opportunity to complete his undergraduate degree and go on to obtain his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration from Eastern Kentucky University.
In 1994, Ramsey would return to his alma mater to become a Community Relations Officer at the University of Kentucky. In this role, he successfully brought together members in the African-American community of Lexington together with the university where he helped foster a growing partnership. Five years later, he would become the Athletics Director at Kentucky State University. Here, he went to work on improving the university’s facilities including planning, coordination and implementation of a 5,000 square foot academic, fitness and weight training center for student-athletes. Through the creation of an innovative Student Athlete Excellence in Academics Program, he even helped the athletic department produce more Presidential Scholars than any other department on campus.
In 2004, he began his first stint in a state government role when he was appointed Deputy Secretary of Commerce in the Governor Fletcher Administration. While here, he oversaw a 50 million dollar budget and helped manage human resources for the cabinet. During his tenure, Ramsey was also a part of a delegation that successfully brought the renowned 2010 World Equestrian Games to Kentucky.
Soon after leaving office, Ramsey began serving as the Director of Athletics at Coppin State University in Baltimore in 2008. During his seven years in this role, he would lead the department to unprecedented heights of accomplishment for the university, including routinely posting department-wide 3.0 grade-point averages and steadily increasing graduation success rates.
In December of 2015, newly-elected Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin called on Ramsey’s proven track record on leadership by asking him to once again serve the citizens of the Commonwealth, this time as Secretary of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. Upon appointment to his current role, Governor Bevin was eager to praise his distinguished career, saying: “He has been successful in many arenas – both on and off the field. His passion for excellence and his superior management skills will be critical to his success in this new role. He will be a staunch advocate for Kentucky’s workers and an integral member of our team.”