Dean has taught at Universities in South Africa, Australia, Northern Ireland and England and is widely published in the areas of sports history and sociology. His longest association with any one country has been with South Africa where, conducting research for his Masters Degree, he first visited Matjiesfontein. A fascination for the history of this region led to a PhD that was completed in 2008. His book Empire, War and Cricket in South Africa: Logan of Matjiesfontein is a result of that doctoral study.
Dean attributes much of his success to the cultures and people he has been exposed to during his various academic posts around the world. South Africans in particular have taught him that the power of determination, when channelled correctly, is immensely powerful. He has been influenced by one of the greatest statesmen of our time, Nelson Mandela – a true statesman, politician and leader who also saw the value of sport in uniting people and healing the past. Seeing him as an incredible visionary who understood the power of humility, Dean seeks to apply similar principles in his work and believes that the roles of teacher and writer are privileged positions to hold in any society.
While future teaching posts may see Dean relocate to other countries, his ties with South Africa and his bond with the rich sporting culture, past and present, run deep and will continue to draw him back to South Africa and its people.
Says Dean, “I genuinely believe that you get out of life what you put in. If you have the energy, drive and determination to achieve something or make a contribution then you are rewarded. Luck is a trick of the mind. Opportunities don’t land in your lap – you create them by getting out there each day, showing up and doing your best, and by consistently taking yourself out of your comfort zone!”
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