Sport Changes Life, tel: 028 9045 4964 or visit, sportchangeslife.com
The 52-year-old lives in Jordanstown and is a professor of Physical Education and Sport at Ulster University and co-founder of Sport Changes Life. Deirdre also established the award-winning Ulster University Sports Outreach Unit and has pioneered the university’s Talented Athlete Entry Program as well as the Victory Scholars Program. Alongside husband and fellow co-founder of Sport Changes Life, Gareth Maguire, she is working towards the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic on December 1 and 2, which will see four US university teams meet in the first tournament of its type in Europe
1. What is your earliest memory?
Walking to the well to get water with my mum. We didn’t have running water in our first home and my mum used to walk to the well every day. I was three or four years old and she would always plan to go when Doctor Who was on because it gave me nightmares.
2. Who is the most important person in your life?
That’s a four-way tie between my husband Gareth and three daughters. Family is everything to me. I try to teach my girls that they should be there for each other, now and always, no matter what.
3. Shock us — tell us something surprising about yourself?
I don’t drink and I’m a terrible swimmer (hate the water). Also, every day I dreaded going to school, but I like to think that my dislike of school makes me a better teacher today.
4. What is your greatest fear?
Not living up to the standards I was raised to live by. Growing up, my mum and dad instilled within me the importance of loyalty, trust and integrity. They have always been my inspiration but set the bar high.
5. What makes you most happy?
Our girls Anna (19), Enya (17) and Erin (14) all have very different personalities. Unsurprisingly they are very sporty, like Gareth and me. They play competitive basketball for Ireland so they travel a lot and have to sacrifice a lot of regular teenage things to pursue their sport. They make me proud every day.
6. And your biggest regret?
Not teaching my mum to drive. I come from a dairy farm between Monaghan town and the beautiful village of Glaslough, about four miles from town. Not knowing how to drive has always left her dependent on others.
7. How do you chill out?
I love to Facetime my eldest daughter Anna who is at college in the US, and walking up Cavehill to see the great views of Belfast with Pippen, our dog. I don’t have a lot of down time. Outside of work I do a lot of volunteer work in basketball and with Sport Changes Life.
8.What’s the most important lesson you have learnt in life?
To be comfortable being yourself and not let mistakes define you. Admittedly these lessons are not practiced every day. I consider myself a work in progress.
9. The book and song that means the most to you — and why?
I first read A Child Called It by David Pelzer when I was a newly qualified teacher. It is a hard read but it gives you a great insight into the strength of human spirit and resilience. I don’t have one favourite song, but I do love to listen to music, mostly the radio.
10. If you could change one thing what would it be and why?
I’ve always wished I was taller — maybe 5’11’ — I think it would have helped my game when I was playing basketball.