2019 Board of Directors and Nominating Committee Slate
Women Leaders in College Sports voting members were asked to select four Board of Directors and four Nominating Committee members from the proposed slate below. The top representatives in each group will earn a place on their respective committees.
2019 President-Elect Nominee
Jacqie McWilliams, Commissioner, CIAA (DII)
Jacqie McWilliams is in her 6th season of serving as the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Commissioner. First female to serve as Commissioner for the CIAA and first appointed African American Commissioner out of 100 Conferences representing NCAA Division I, II and III.
McWilliams spent nine years at the NCAA managing NCAA championships to include both the men’s and women’s Division I Basketball tournaments. She started her career in coaching and administration at Virginia Union University with career growth opportunities at Norfolk State University and Morgan State University prior to the NCAA.
McWilliams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Hampton University, a Master of Arts in Sports Management and Administration from Temple University. She is a member of the Hampton University 1988 NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship team and was recently inducted into Hampton University’s Athletic Hall of Fame. She was inducted into Temple University’s Gallery of Success and the Sierra High School Hall of Fame. Ms. McWilliams also served as the chair of NCAA DII Management Council and was a member of the NCAA Board of Governors while in that seat. Her passion to advance women provided her the opportunity to also serve on the board of directors for Women Leaders in College sports and the Collegiate Women’s Sports Award (CWSA). Currently she is a member of the John B. McLendon Scholarship Foundation Board and the NCAA Board of Governors Ad Hoc Committee for Cultural Diversity and the NCAA Gender Equity Task Force. She has received numerous awards to include the Black Women in Sports Foundation Legend Award (2013), Radio One Women of Excellence (2016), Charlotte Career Mastered Award (2016), the café Mocha Salute Her Trailblazer Award in Charlotte (2017)
McWilliams believes in the power of sports and community. She is a motivational speaker, an active member of the Charlotte Crown Jewels Links Chapter and Central Church of God. Ms. McWilliams is the proud mother of Samone, age 12.
2019 Women Leaders in College Sports Board Member Slate
Joeleen Akin, Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development/Senior Woman Administrator, Georgia Tech (DI-FBS)
Joeleen Akin, who coined the trademarked tagline “Smart Women Sweat,” boasts more than 20 years of leadership experience in college athletics.
Akin is currently the associate athletics director for student-athlete development and senior woman administrator at Georgia Tech. Other highlights of her more than two decades in athletics leadership include:
- three years as a member of Georgia Tech athletics’ executive leadership team;
- 12 years as athletics director at Agnes Scott College;
- five years as women’s basketball head coach at Agnes Scott;
- five years as commissioner of the Great South Athletic Conference;
- two years as a member of the NCAA Division III women’s basketball committee;
- two years as a member of the NCAA Division III volleyball regional advisory committee;
- years as co-chair of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s diversity and inclusion committee.
In her current role, Akin is a member of Georgia Tech athletics’ executive leadership team and serves as the administrator for the Yellow Jackets’ volleyball, softball and men’s golf programs. She also oversees Tech’s renowned Total Person Program, as well as its sports nutrition program and Letterwinners Club.
Since returning to Tech in 2016, she has helped enhance Georgia Tech’s student-athlete development initiatives through the implementation of several new programs, highlighted by Jackets Without Borders, a series of student-athlete service trips that have assisted children and families in need in Costa Rica (2017) and Puerto Rico (2018). She also chairs the student-athlete welfare committee (CARE Team).
Outside of the athletics department, Akin serves on the Georgia Tech’s Executive Advisory Committee and is a member of the Leading Women at Georgia Tech program. She also co-chairs the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s diversity and inclusion committee and is a certified QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) suicide-prevention trainer.
Akin rejoined the Georgia Tech athletics administration in 2016 after 13 years at nearby Agnes Scott College. She served as Agnes Scott’s athletics director and physical education chair for 12 years (2003-15) before being promoted to associate dean for athletics and student activities in February 2015.
During her 12 years as athletics director at Agnes Scott, an NCAA Division III institution in Decatur, Ga., Akin oversaw a program that produced eight NCAA Tournament teams and a coaching staff that earned 12 different coach-of-the-year recognitions. Under her direction, Agnes Scott student-athletes maintained a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and participated extensively in on- and off-campus service projects.
Akin’s tenure at Agnes Scott was marked by innovation and vision. She created and implemented numerous student-athlete development and engagement initiatives at ASC, including a new student-athlete orientation program, Safe Zone training for student-athletes, coaches and staff and coordination of campus-wide academic resources for student-athletes.
In addition to her duties as athletics director and physical education chair, Akin was Agnes Scott’s women’s basketball coach from 2003-07 and was named the Great South Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2006 after engineering a turnaround that saw the program rise from among the bottom three teams in the league to the top three teams in the conference.
She also served as commissioner of the Great South from 2011-16 and was a member of the NCAA Division III women’s basketball committee and NCAA volleyball regional advisory committee from 2014-16. As commissioner of the Great South, she rebuilt a conference membership that had dwindled to four institutions back to nine, keeping the league’s NCAA affiliation intact.
Prior to her 13-year tenure at Agnes Scott, Akin spent seven years at Georgia Tech as director of women’s basketball operations (1996-98), marketing/operations manager (1998-99) and director of marketing (1999-2003).
Before arriving at Georgia Tech in 1996, she served as a sports marketing assistant at Auburn and NC State and as a member of the women’s basketball staffs at UNC Wilmington and Kansas State.
A Kansas native, Akin earned bachelor’s (1991) and master’s (1993) degrees from Kansas State.
She and her husband, Charles, have two children: Bobbie and Ryan.
Maria Buckel, Director of Athletics, Fontbonne University (DIII)
Maria Buckel has served as Director of Athletics at Fontbonne University since 2010. During her tenure, Buckel has increased the full-time staff from 2 full-time coaches to ten. While also adding an additional full-time athletic trainer and moving the sports information director to full-time. Student-athlete numbers also have grown during Buckel’s tenure through added sports.
Buckel increased fundraising through corporate sponsorships and creating a booster club. While serving on the university’s senior leadership team Buckel has played a significant role in the research, planning, and acquisition of a closed high school which will serve as the twenty-three acre home of Fontbonne’s outdoor sports in addition to newly added sports.
In her first year as Director of Athletics, Fontbonne was cited with a major violation that occurred prior to her tenure. Buckel led the department through the investigation and a successful two year probation.
Before assuming the responsibilities of Director of Athletics, Buckel served as the Interim Athletic Director for four months and the Associate Athletic Director for a year. As Associate AD, Buckel oversaw compliance and supervised women’s sports.
Prior to her arrival at Fontbonne, Buckel served as the Assistant Athletic Director for External Affairs at the University of Evansville. While at UE, she was responsible for the department’s corporate sponsorships, marketing, facility management, and game management. Buckel began her career in sports as an intern for the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA).
Buckel has been active both on-campus and off-campus serving on the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Committee with her last two years as chair. She is also an active member of St. Louis Sports Commission Associates Board. Buckel has attended NACWAA’s Institute for Administrative Advancement and Leadership Enhancement Institutes. She serves on many Fontbonne but the one she is most passionate about is the Peace and Justice Committee formed after the Michael Brown shooting. Buckel has also served as a panelist at the NCAA Division III Issues Forum, an Inclusion Session, and the AVCA convention.
A native of Oran, MO, Buckel received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Fontbonne, and earned her master’s degree in higher education from Southeast Missouri State. Buckel and her husband Chris live in St. Louis with their daughter Lyla.
Portia Hoeg, Executive Director of Athletics, Rhodes College (DIII)
Portia Hoeg was named executive director of athletics at Rhodes College. Prior to joining the Lynx she was the director of athletics and recreation at Allegheny College, ushering in a new era for the College’s robust and historically rich athletic program.
In 2017 Hoeg was tasked with spearheading the addition of two new varsity sports at Allegheny College, field hockey and men’s lacrosse, and she has overseen the hiring of head coaches and creation of budgets. With the addition of these two new varsity programs, Hoeg managed an extensive addition and renovation to the school’s outdoor athletic facilities, which included the construction of a new turf and grass competition fields and expanded athletic training and equipment room rooms.
Prior to her appointment as Allegheny AD, Hoeg served as the associate director of athletics at Lake Forest College, which is a member of the highly competitive Midwest Conference.
After joining the Lake Forest College staff as assistant athletic director in the fall of 2005, Hoeg was promoted to associate athletic director and senior woman administrator in July of 2008. Hoeg focused on athletic alumni relations, community outreach, and student-athlete leadership and development during her initial role with the College. As associate athletic director, she oversaw internal operations of the athletic department to include NCAA compliance, personnel, and special programs as well as serving as a liaison with admissions and student affairs.
Hoeg is a member of Women Leaders in Sports (formerly NACWAA/National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators) and the National Association of Division-III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA).
Her record of service in administration was honored in December 2008, as she was the inaugural recipient of the NADIIIAA Emerging Athletic Administrator award for exemplary achievement and service as an emerging athletic administrator and leader in Division III intercollegiate athletics. In January 2010, Hoeg received the distinct honor of being selected as a representative on the NCAA Division III Management Council and she served as vice chair as well.
The former Portia Lowe received her bachelor's degree in marketing and management from Trinity University (Texas) and completed her masters in business administration from North Park University. As an undergraduate, she played basketball for the nationally-prominent Tigers and still ranks among the program's all-time leaders in three-pointers and steals.
Portia and her husband Josh are the proud parents of a son Kye.
Maritza Jones, Managing Director of Division II, NCAA
Maritza Jones serves as the managing director of Division II at the NCAA National Office. In this role, Maritza works with various groups and committees within the Division II governance structure, including the Division II Management Council, Planning and Finance Committee and Presidents Council. She also works with the vice president of Division II in overseeing the implementation of the strategic plan and vision for NCAA Division II and developing and engaging in robust external engagement with key Division II stakeholders. Maritza directs national office staff support and services for the Division II governance structure and membership; manages the day-to-day budget for the division; and facilitates and provides leadership in the consideration of policies, legislation and issues affecting Division II and the Association.
Maritza began working for the NCAA in 2005 in Academic and Membership Affairs. In her different roles, Maritza’s duties included working in the oversight of the Division II strategic plan and collaborating with several groups in preparation for annual meetings, such as the Division II Faculty Athletics Representative Institutes, and Division II Governance Academies in partnership Women Leaders in College Sports and the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association. Maritza also served as liaison to several other committees, such as the Division II Academic Requirements Committee, the Division II Legislation Committee and the former Division I Academics/Eligibility/Compliance Cabinet Subcommittee on Amateurism. Maritza has been involved in the development of major initiatives within Division II, such as Life in the Balance, Membership Growth, Path to Graduation and Foundation for the Future.
Before joining the world of intercollegiate athletics, Maritza worked in immigration law. She also practiced labor law in Venezuela for approximately four years. Maritza earned her law degree and master’s degree in labor law in Venezuela, and her LL.M. in international law and business from Stetson University College of Law in Florida.
Maritza is originally from Margarita Island, Venezuela. She, her husband Jay, and sons Alex (11) and Nico (6), reside in Carmel, Indiana.
Kelley Kish, Director of Athletics, Lake Erie College (DII)
Kelley Kish joined the Storm family as Lake Erie College's Director of Athletics, in November 2017. In her first year leading the Storm they reached unprecedented success, winning their first ever GMAC Regular Season and Conference Championships, plus a division title with every women’s sport advancing to the post-season. The historic run included Men’s Basketball and Men’s Lacrosse also playing in conference tournament semi-finals and Wrestling advancing four to the NCAA Championships.
Kish launched a mentorship program with local Harvey High School and signed a department wide partnership with Nike through BSN Sports in her first full semester at Lake Erie. She also received the NCAA DII Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Internship Grant to establish a position in fundraising, events and student-athlete enhancement for the department for 18-19.
Prior to Lake Erie, Kish served as Associate Director of Athletics/SWA at Nova Southeastern University. During her five years at NSU, the Sharks achieved three team NCAA Championships, crowned 11 individual NCAA Champions and earned eight NCAA Regional Championships and 12 conference championships. Kish served as the liaison to campus partners at NSU including the Office of International Affairs, Student Orientation, Residential Life, Financial Aid and Student Affairs. The sport administrator for 12 sports, Kish was responsible for the compliance and academic success staff at NSU, also directing the sport administration and internal day-to-day operations.
As the Senior Woman Administrator for NSU, Kish spearheaded the department's inclusion and Title IX efforts including campus-wide Step UP! Bystander Intervention Training and working with the Ross Initiative in Sport for Equality (RISE).
Prior to NSU, Kish spent two years at the University of Indianapolis as Assistant Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator.
An active member of Women Leaders in College Sports, Kish serves on the Nominating Committee with past stints on the Title IX Committee, Local Organizing Committee and as a convention speaker. She also founded and co-facilitated the Director of Operations Circle until 2017. She completed the Executive Institute in 2015 and IAA in 2009. In 2015, she prepared and mentored former NSU student-athlete and intern Jasmine Wilkins for selection as a Membership Services Intern for Women Leaders.
Kish has an extensive NCAA governance background including past service as the chair of the Women's Volleyball Rules Committee and as a member of the DII Men's and Women's Cross Country and Track & Field Committee. Her NCAA Regional Advisory Committee work includes men's basketball, women's soccer and softball. She is currently serving on the DII Women's Soccer Committee. She also chairs the NCAA Innovations Grant External Review Panel. Kish's NCAA Leadership Development experience includes facilitating the Student-Athlete Leadership Forum and the Career in Sports Forum twice.
Kish holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Florida and recently earned a graduate certificate in Sport Revenue Generation from Nova Southeastern University. She completed the NCAA Pathway Program and is a member of the DIIADA, NACDA and NAAC, serving on the Division II and Convention Committees. She recently was one of just 10 administrators graduating from the NCAA and Division IIADA Women and Minorities Mentoring Program.
Karen Peters, Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator, University of Portland (DI)
Karen Peters is in her tenth year as the Senior Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator at the University of Portland, after joining the department as an Associate AD in the spring of 2006. She serves as the deputy director of the department, and oversees student-athlete and program support, including academics, compliance, student-athlete development, recruiting, and sports performance. She also serves as lead sport administrator for all 16 varsity programs, providing oversight and support to sport supervisors and head coaches; and serving as the direct supervisor for men’s soccer and indoor/beach volleyball. Peters also manages a variety of senior-level administrative areas, including the strategic plan, HR, Title IX, and Recreation.
Peters served as the Interim Athletic Director for the Pilots from January-June of 2012, overseeing the completion of the Chiles Center renovation during that time. She was also instrumental in the development of rowing as a varsity sport at UP, with that program now in its sixth year. Peters has represented UP on a variety of NCAA and WCC committees, including current membership on the NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship Committee, chairing the WCC External Relations Committee the past two years, and serving as the West Coast Conference representative on the NCAA Legislative Council from 2008-2011.
Peters is a 2013 graduate of the Women Leaders Executive Institute, and was honored as the Women Leaders Division I Administrator of the Year in 2013. She is also a 2008 graduate of the NCAA Fellows (now Pathway) Program, and a 2014 graduate of the DIA Institute. She has served as a faculty member at the Women Leaders Institute for Administrative Advancement, and organized a 2018 Regional Workshop for the Alliance of Women Coaches.
Prior to joining the staff at UP Peters spent ten years at Stanford University, where she completed her tenure as the Assistant Director of Athletics for Eligibility and Recruiting. In that position she supervised the eligibility process for all 34 varsity sports and served as the department’s liaison to undergraduate admissions, while overseeing the men’s and women’s gymnastics programs. Peters also held positions as the Assistant Director of Student Services and the Administrative Associate for Compliance while at Stanford.
Prior to working at Stanford, Peters served as the administrative intern for the Ivy League, working in Compliance and Student Services at Columbia University in New York, N.Y. She began her athletics career working in media relations as a student assistant at New Mexico State University.
In February of 1995, Peters received her Master of Science in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she was the recipient of the NCAA Women’s Enhancement Program Post-Graduate Scholarship. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Journalism from New Mexico State University in May of 1993.
Peters is married to Chris Putman, the public address announcer for several Pilot sports, as well as various WCC and NCAA post-season events. They have a son, Casey, and reside in Portland.
Dawn Rogers, Deputy Athletics Director, Baylor University (DI-FBS)
Dawn Rogers brings a wealth of experience in intercollegiate athletics to her position as Deputy Athletics Director at Baylor University with over 20 years of athletic administration experience. At Baylor, Rogers provides oversight to the areas of Student-Athlete Excellence and Student-Athlete Health and Wellness. Rogers also leads the areas of strategic planning and initiatives, Title IX, inclusivity, gender equity and diversity. She is the sport program administrator for Baylor’s Men’s Basketball and Women’s Golf teams.
Prior to Baylor, Rogers served as the Executive Director and CEO of the 2017 Phoenix Final Four Local Organizing Committee where she was responsible for the overall direction of the 2017 Phoenix Men’s Final Four. The 2017 Phoenix Final Four, hosted in Arizona for the first time, became the second highest attended championship weekend in the tournaments history, generating an economic impact of over $324.5 million. The Phoenix Local Organizing Committee launched a statewide Read to the Final Four Competition open to all third graders across the State of Arizona that saw more than 35,000 contestants read over 6.2 million minutes which was the largest number of participants for any NCAA literacy campaign.
Before she was hired by the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee, Rogers spent nine years at Arizona State University as Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Women’s Administrator. She came to the Valley from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she served as Athletics Director.
Rogers has served on numerous NCAA cabinets and committees with a strong focus on student-athlete welfare. Rogers earned her Master’s Degree in sports management in 1987 from the University of Massachusetts after receiving her bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College, where she graduated cum laude in 1986. She was a collegiate volleyball and track and field student-athlete. Rogers and her husband Rob have two children, Owen and Hazel, and reside in Waco, Texas.
Adrianne Swinney, Chief of Staff, University of Connecticut (DI-FBS)
Adrianne Swinney joined the University of Connecticut July 2018 as Chief of Staff. Previously, Swinney served at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) as Deputy Athletics Director/SWA. As the Deputy Athletics Director, she is the second in command and is responsible for day-to-day operations of the department inclusive of strategic planning, direction, and conduct of the program. She has served as a primary administrator for 16 of the 19 Seahawk programs. She currently oversees basketball (W), soccer (M), volleyball, beach volleyball and has recently taken on oversight for baseball. She is also a principal liaison to the Faculty Athletics Council, Dean of Students Office, Office of Legal Counsel, Office of Title IX and Clery Compliance and various other areas on-campus.
Swinney boasts a unique career path. While she began her career in Athletics in 2001 as an Assistant Athletic Trainer, she has also served as a Director of Sports Medicine, as a Head Women’s Basketball Coach, as a Compliance Officer, as an Assistant/Associate AD, and as an Interim AD. She has worked her way to the second in command at all 3 institutions where she has served. In addition to serving at UNCW, her professional experiences have included 2 stints at Jackson State University spanning 6 years collectively and 5 years at Paul Quinn College in Dallas, TX.
Despite a variety of professional experiences, Swinney’s commitment to excellence, to a quality student-athlete experience, and to organizational transformation and growth has remained a constant focal point of her work. It remains at the center and heart of all she does and is motivation for service at the institutional, conference, and national levels as well as within her local community.
Adrianne is a proud alumnus of Mississippi State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in education in 2000. She obtained a master’s degree in business management from Dallas Baptist University in 2009 and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree from Jackson State University. She is also a graduate of the NCAA Leadership Institute, Women Leaders IAA, LEI, and EI and has also participated in the NCAA Achieving Communication Success Workshop. Swinney often “pays it forward” by supporting organizations in their educational endeavors and offerings. She has served as a panelist for the NCAA Leadership Institute, its Alumni Professional Development workshops, for NACDA-CABMA Convention, as a faculty member for Women Leaders IAA (East/West), and served as a faculty member for Women Leaders LEI this summer.
2019 Women Leaders in College Sports Nominating Committee Slate
Merlene Aitken, Interim Director of Athletics, Clayton State University (DII)
As of April 27, 2018, Merlene Aitken-Smith was named the Interim Director of Athletics for Clayton State University. Aitken-Smith joined Clayton State in December of 2013 and has served as Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance since the summer of 2014. At that time, she also assumed the duties of Senior Woman Administrator.
CLAYTON STATE UNIVERSITY
(2013-PRESENT, ASSISTANT ATHLETIC DIRECTOR FOR COMPLIANCE/SENIOR WOMAN ADMINISTRATOR)
When she joined the Lakers, she took over for Mary McElroy as interim Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance and Student-Services. Drawing upon more than a decade of high level collegiate compliance experience, Aitken has helped to institute systems and programs that are designed to maintain adherence to NCAA Division II regulations.
Aitken is a member of the Department of Athletics Senior Staff and also serves on numerous committees, both on campus and within the Peach Belt Conference. Additionally, in August of 2015 she was named to the NCAA Division II Ethnic Minority and Women’s Internship Grant Selection Committee.
That group works to provide financial assistance to DII conferences and member institutions that are committed to enhancing ethnic minority and gender representation in full-time, entry level administrative positions. The committee consists of just five members from that level of NCAA sponsorship. Her two-year term will run through August of 2018.
She has also played a key role in overseeing the initiatives of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is the advisor for the cheerleading program. As part of her SAAC responsibilities, she has played a direct role in the Department’s Annual Athletics Award Banquet and supported other high profile events such as Hall of Fame.
GEORGIA TECH (2011-13, DIRECTOR OF COMPLIANCE)
Aitken first moved to the Atlanta, Georgia area in the summer of 2011 when she was named the Director of Compliance at Division I power Georgia Tech. During her two years in that role she was responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with all NCAA rules and procedures.
That office also handled providing interpretations and prevention of violations of NCAA, Atlantic Coast Conference and Georgia Tech Athletic Association (GTAA) rules. Among the individuals that were served were prospective and current student-athletes, coaches, GTAA staff, Georgia Tech faculty and staff and representatives of athletics interests (boosters).
NORTH CAROLINA A&T
(2010-2011, ASSOCIATE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR/SENIOR WOMAN ADMINISTRATOR)
Also at the Division I level, Aitken joined North Carolina A&T in June 2010 before being named interim Associate Athletics Director for Compliance on November 1 of that year.
(2006-10 ASSOCIATE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR FOR COMPLIANCE)
Aitken moved to the NCAA Division II level in September of 2006 when she joined Winston-Salem State for four years through 2010. During that time she served as the Associate Athletic Director for Compliance and became the program’s Senior Woman Administrator in 2009.
Additionally, she also had sport oversight duties of softball, golf, bowling and men’s and women’s tennis along with the Office of Student-Athlete Academic Services and the Department of Sports Medicine. Among the procedures established during her tenure was instituting a system of checks and balances aimed at eliminating errors which helped to streamline processes.
KANSAS (2004-06, ASSISTANT ATHLETICS DIRECTOR FOR COMPLIANCE)
In February of 2004 she joined prestigious Kansas University, serving as the Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance through September 2006.
Additionally, she participated in the NCAA Female Ethnic Minority Leadership program, graduating in 2006.
WASHINGTON (2001-04, DIRECTOR OF COMPLIANCE)
As the Director of Compliance at the University of Washington, Aitken assisted with all compliance efforts for the Huskies 21 sports.
MICHIGAN STATE (2000-01, COMPLIANCE INTERN)
She earned her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from Brooklyn College in 1997 and completed her Juris Doctorate in Law from the University of Massachusetts in 2000.
A native of Yonkers, New York, Aitken-Smith and her husband Kenyatta resides in McDonough, Georgia with her four children Matthew, Christopher, Jayda and Jalen
Jennifer Bell, Director of Athletics, Converse College (DII)
Jennifer Bell was named Director of Athletics at Converse College in July 2018. Bell joined the Coker College staff as the Associate Director of Athletics for Internal Operations in July of 2016. Her duties involved overseeing all aspects related to Compliance for the Cobras’ 22 NCAA sports. A member of the senior leadership team in the athletics department, Bell also served as the liaison for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and as game administrator for home events. In addition, Bell was a member of the College’s Futures Task Force and a faculty member in the M.S. for College Athletic Administration program.
Bell currently serves as the Chair of the Southeast Region Women’s Soccer Regional Advisory Committee which assists the national committee in the evaluation of teams throughout the season, the evaluation of potential regional sites and the recommendation for the championship. Each fall, Bell works alongside other national committee members to ensure a successful championship event.
Bell recently completed the year-long NCAA Pathway Program after being selected as one of just 25 senior-level college athletic administrators from Divisions I, II and III. Throughout the year, Bell was able to gain insight into every facet of an athletics department.
Prior to joining Coker, Bell spent 18 years at Anderson University. While at Anderson, she held several positions, most recently serving as the Trojan’s Associate Director of Athletics.
Beginning in 2008, Bell served as an athletics administrator at Anderson, overseeing NCAA compliance, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer, as well as serving as the Trojan’s Senior Woman Administrator. In 2011, she was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director and was named Associate Athletics Director in 2015.
Before devoting her attention to working in athletic administration, Bell served as the Trojans’ head women’s volleyball coach for 11 seasons. She compiled an overall record of 207-176 and led the Trojans to eight winning seasons. After becoming a full member of Conference Carolinas in 1999, Bell’s teams also posted a conference record of 116-66, and the Trojans finished in fourth place or higher six times, including a second-place finish in 2001 and captured the 2008 Conference Carolinas Tournament title, marking the Trojans first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
She coached 27 All-Conference players, one conference Player of the Year and a conference tournament MVP. She was named NAIA Southeast Independent Sectional Coach of the Year following her first season at Anderson and winning the NAIA Southeast Independent Sectional Tournament for the first time in school history. As an encore, Bell was named conference Coach of the Year in 1999 after guiding the Trojans to a 20-13 overall mark and 12-4 in Conference Carolinas. During the 1999 season, her team set the school record for wins in a season.
Prior to her time at Anderson, Bell served as the head coach at Wofford College for four years and guided the Terrier volleyball program during its transition from an NCAA Division II Independent to a Division I Southern Conference team.
A native of Spartanburg, S.C., Bell graduated from Wofford with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she set single-match, single-season and career records in assists and service aces. Following her senior season, she was named Most Valuable Player for the Terriers.
She received her masters degree from Coker in College Athletic Administration in December, 2015.
Bell is married to her husband, Lee, and they have two children, Madison and Eli.
Michelle Caddigan, Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations/Senior Woman Administrator, Wingate University (DII)
Michelle Caddigan brings 22 years of administrative and coaching experience to Wingate’s Athletic Department. She is currently the Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations and Senior Woman Administrator. Caddigan has served as the SWA since 2000 and coached the softball team from 1997-2012. She assumed the role of assistant athletic director from 2006-2012 and was promoted to Associate AD in 2012.
As Associate AD and a senior member of the Athletic Department Management Team, she oversees internal areas in the Department of Athletics which includes oversight of the department budget that is comprised of 22 sports, general athletics, athletic communications, athletic training and Sports Performance. Also within her duties is oversight of game day management, facility scheduling and maintenance, team schedules, team conduct and student-athlete welfare. Annually, she completes the Equity in Athletic Discloser Act and the NCAA Financial Report. She serves as chair of search committees for key positions in the Athletic Department.
Caddigan serves as the sport supervisor for Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Men’s and Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Women’s Golf, Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse, Women’s Soccer, and Volleyball with shared administrative responsibility for Athletic Training and Sports Performance. She also leads the Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Promotions, the Assistant Director for Athletic Business Operations and the Director of Student-Athlete Development and SAAC Advisor.
Caddigan handles all NCAA bid applications and has served as the Tournament Director for 12 NCAA Regional Championships held on Wingate’s campus. She most recently was the Co-Tournament Director for the DII National Swimming and Diving Championship in spring of 2018. Caddigan has served on multiple Regional Advisory Committees and was a member of the Division II Women’s Volleyball National Committee from 2013-2017. She chaired the committee from 2015-2017. She is a 2017 graduate of the Women Leaders in College Sports Executive Institute.
On campus, Caddigan serves on multiple committees, including the Academic Advising Advisory Board, the Inclusion and Understanding Council and the Inclusion and Multicultural Strategic Planning Committee. She is a campus Title IX Deputy, the Athletic Department liaison to the Student Life Offices and the advisor to the Black Student Union.
Before moving into administration full time, Caddigan spent 16 seasons as Wingate’s softball coach, compiling a 529-287-3 overall record. Caddigan reached the 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300 and 350-win plateau quicker than any other softball coach in South Atlantic Conference history. The Bulldogs finished in third place or better 13 of her 16 Wingate seasons as head coach. She guided the Wingate program to two SAC regular season championships seven second-place finishes, four third-place finishes and three conference tournament titles during her coaching career. She was named league coach of the year four times.
Caddigan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in K-12 Health and Physical Education from James Madison University. She earned her Masters of Science from James Madison in Kinesiology with a concentration in Athletic Administration. After graduating from JMU, she taught Health and Physical education and coached softball, basketball and volleyball at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, Va
Alicia English, Assistant Athletic Director for External Operations, Abilene Christian University (DI-FCS)
Alicia English joined ACU Athletics in November of 2017 as Assistant Athletic Director for External Operations.
In her role at ACU, English is involved with planning and overseeing the departments ticketing, marketing and fundraising operations for 17 sports. She also assists with benefit fulfillment, solicitations and events for the Wildcat Club, the official fundraising organization of ACU Athletics. Shecurrently serves as the primary sport administrator for the Cheer Program.
Prior to coming to ACU, English was Assistant Director of Annual Giving at the University of Tennessee. In that role, English was directly responsible for the Volunteer Representative Program, which manages 250 active Tennessee Fund donors that serve as ambassadors for Tennessee Athletics. She also assisted with the development and implementation of the annual strategic plan to increase revenue in the fundraising operation; as well as, managed the Lady Vols Women's Basketball Guest Coaches Program.
English spent 3 1/2 years at LSU (November 2012-July 2016) as the Assistant Manager of Ticket Operations. She began her career in collegiate athletics in July 2009 as a Ticket Operations Assistant at Western Illinois before moving on to Oregon State in January 2011 where she worked until October 2012 as the Ticket / Donor Account Manager.
English continues her active campus, conference, and community service as a resource and liaison to several campus departments and organizations.She is a graduate of the Dr. Charles Whitcomb NCAAMinorityLeadership Institute (2013), as well as the Women Leaders In College Sports Institute for Administrative Advancement (2013).She currently serves as a Mentor for Women Leaders in College Sports Mentoring Program and previously served on the Education and Professional Development Committee in 2016 and a two-year term on the Membership Committee. English was a volleyball student-athlete at Alabama A&M University who earned her Bachelors of Science in Marketing from Alabama A&M in 2008. She also has a Master’s of Science Degree in Sport Management from Western Illinois University.
Julia Martin, Chief of Staff, The College of William and Mary (DI-FCS)
Julia Martin currently serves William & Mary Athletics as the Chief of Staff and Coordinator of Athletics
Strategies and Engagement.
Martin, a former William & Mary lacrosse team captain, works as a member of the senior leadership team
assuming a broad range of duties in support of the department’s strategic planning and operations.
Martin returned to William & Mary after serving as the Assistant Director of Leadership and Community
Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, where she assisted with the implementation of the Penn
Athletics Wharton Leadership Academy and organized various events and initiatives for student-athletes,
staff and the University community.
Prior to her promotion into the leadership role at Penn in 2017, Martin held the position of Athletics
Coordinator for three years. As a member of the office of the athletics director, Martin helped with
development, organization and the leading of special Departmental projects.
Martin also participated in an educational fellowship with the Ivy League where she worked directly with the
commissioner and leadership team through firsthand experience in research and operations.
Recognized nationally as one of collegiate athletics top emerging administrators, Martin is a former Division
I Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association stipend winner and a Women Leaders in
College Sports “Administrator of Tomorrow”.
Her extensive work at the national level includes engagement in conferences and committees including:
NCAA Inclusion Forum, NCAA Athlete Development Professional Program, Women Leaders in College Sports
Institute for Administrative Advancement West, Alliance of Women Coaches Coaching Academy, Nike LGBT
Sports Summit, Women Leaders in College Sports Convention, NCAA Women’s Leadership Symposium, and
the Women Leaders in College Sports Foundation Fund Committee.
In addition to her administrative experience, Martin was an assistant coach with the Penn women’s lacrosse
team from 2012-14 and helped the program earn back-to-back Ivy League Championships and a pair of
NCAA Tournament berths.
Martin’s wide-ranging experience in collegiate athletics began as the Assistant Director of Media Relations
at William & Mary. In that role, she was responsible for implementing the department’s visual impact and
developed annual multi-media work for all 23 varsity teams, staff members, alumni and events.
Martin earned a Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a minor in art from William & Mary and holds a
Master’s degree in organizational dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Bihn Nguyen, Director of Academic and Membership Affairs, NCAA)
Binh Nguyen was named NCAA Director of Academic and Membership Affairs in September 2017. As director, Nguyen is responsible for strategically building on the historical success of academic initiatives within the mission and values of Division I. Nguyen works closely with the Division I Committee on Academics, a 19-member committee consisting of presidents, faculty athletics representatives and athletics administrators, to develop and implement strategies, policy and legislation to support the academic success of Division I student-athletes.
In this role, Nguyen develops and monitors the Committee’s strategic priorities, ensuring alignment with the Division I Board of Directors’ areas of emphasis. She also is responsible for operational leadership of the Committee and its partnerships with external groups (including NAAC, CCACA, FARA, DI-FAR, and COIA). She coordinates academic issues among all three NCAA divisions and analyzes academic topics with a focus on legal risks. She serves as the primary strategic collaborator with public and media relations to highlight NCAA academic issues and the work of the Committee. Nguyen also oversees the implementation of the Division I academic-based revenue distribution, which includes development of an educational plan, related technology and collaboration with external groups (N4A, NAAC, conference offices). She belongs to AMA’s senior management team and oversees the allocation of resources, personnel, budget and strategic planning, technology efforts and business performance management.
Nguyen is primary liaison to the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee, which maintains oversight of Division I Women’s Basketball. In this role, she provides operational leadership of the Oversight Committee, monitors issues and trends impacting women’s basketball and develops strategies, policies and legislation that advance women’s basketball and the student-athlete experience. Nguyen served as primary liaison to the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Ad Hoc Working Group on Recruiting, charged with conducting a comprehensive examination of the recruiting environment in women’s basketball. She also serves as a liaison to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, providing legislative and interpretive support to the association.
Prior to being appointed director, Nguyen served as an associate director in AMA. In that role, Nguyen oversaw the collection of APR data for Division I and graduation data for Divisions I, II and III.
Nguyen is a member of Women Leaders in College Sports, National Association of Athletics Compliance, and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. She received the Women Leaders in College Sports' Judith Sweet Commitment Award in 2013 and was a NCAA President’s Award Finalist in 2013. Nguyen also was appointed to lead the NCAA’s first-ever Employee Resource Group for Women, which provides professional development, social activities, and fundraising for women’s initiatives in the Indianapolis community.
Nguyen earned her Bachelor of Arts degree (summa cum laude) at the University of Evansville and her Master of Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Jackie Paquette, Associate Director of Athletics for Student Support and Community Engagement, University of Indianapolis (DII)
Jackie Paquette is in her 12th year as a part of the UIndy Athletics staff in 2018-19, and her fourth as Associate Director of Athletics for Student Support and Community Engagement.
In her position, Paquette is the advisor to the UIndy Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), which has won the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) SAAC Challenge eight of the last nine years. She also coordinates UIndy Athletics' 23 NCAA Division II athletic programs' community service and engagement efforts.
Paquette, who has held the Senior Woman Administrator designation since 2012, also has sport oversight of men's and women's tennis and wrestling. She also serves as the primary media contact for both the Tennis programs, and Wrestling program. She has been a member of the NCAA Division II Wrestling national committee for two years, now serving as the chair for the next two years, the GLVC scheduling committee and also serves on the NCAA Division II Intern Grant committee. Paquette has served past terms on the GLVC Awards Committee, as well as the NACWAA Awards Committee and the NCAA Division II Women's Tennis Regional Advisory Committee.
Prior to being promoted to Assistant A.D., Paquette was Assistant Sports Information Director for three years in the UIndy office. She was a sports information assistant and an intern in her first two years as a Greyhound.
Paquette has also served as the Great Lakes Valley Conference’s Public Information assistant, closing out a two-year stint in that position in June of 2012, where she aided the GLVC’s Associate Commissioner for Communications with statistics and information for the 18 GLVC-sponsored sports.
A member of Women Leaders in College Sports and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), Paquette has also interned in the NCAA statistics department and at the National Federation of High School Associations in her career.
Paquette received bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and History, with a minor in Media Arts, from Butler University in 2007. She earned her master's degree in Sports Administration from UIndy in May of 2014, and is currently working towards her doctorate of education in Sports Management from Northcentral University. She resides on the southside of Indianapolis.