The Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Nike, is bestowed annually to administrators and professionals who have dedicated their careers to advancing women in sport. Because of their tireless efforts, girls and women participating in sport can enjoy competitive athletics and/or athletic career opportunities. This award is given to individuals who have rendered meritorious service and have retired from or no longer directly involved in full-time employment in the profession.



BRIDGET BELGIOVINE

Former Director of Athletics and Chair of PERA, Wellesley College


Bridget Belgiovine retired in June 2019 following a successful 40-year career in education, 21 years in higher education.  She is currently a consulting partner with Beyond Boundaries, Inc. and an associate with the 3-Fold Group.  Her culminating and transformative 13-year tenure was as Director of Athletics & Department Chair of Physical Education & Recreation

 At Wellesley College she oversaw all facets of a department that included a physical education curriculum, a comprehensive recreation program with eight club sport teams and a varsity program with 13 teams. Blue athletes won four NCAA Individual National Championships and its crew team claimed the institution’s first team NCAA National Championship. In addition, Wellesley teams earned 17 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championships and made a combined 25 team appearances in the NCAA Tournament.  Wellesley’s LeadBLUE Program, an educational initiative established during her tenure was aimed at enhancing the quality of the athletic experience focused on leadership development, mental health, inclusion and team culture training student-athletes to become the next generation of strong and resilient leaders.

Belgiovine was a catalyst for facility renovations, program enrichments and coaching endowments. During her career at Wellesley she supported the raising of over $12 million to enhance educational and athletic experiences which  impacted the lives of countless students, coaches, faculty and administrators.  An energetic and passionate leader and speaker, she presented at numerous national and regional conventions and educational programs focused on the importance of sports as a vehicle to enhance health and wellness, build resilience, competence, confidence and connections for students, Title IX and the advancement of women into senior leadership positions. 

Formerly the Director of Division III at the NCAA, Belgiovine’s responsibilities included coordination and support for the Division III governance structure. In that role, she earned a national reputation as a visionary, energetic, and effective leader.  She also served as Director of Athletics at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, a program that amassed 14 national championships and 65 appearances during her tenure and Assistant Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator and Assistant Professor at Springfield College.  Belgiovine began her career as a high school physical education teacher and coach of basketball and field hockey at Monroe Township, NJ.

Belgiovine has been the recipient of many leadership and service awards through the years, the most recent in 2020 as a member of the NACDA Hall of Fame which honors significant lifetime leadership and achievement in intercollegiate athletics.  She has been recognized as the Under Armour Division III Athletic Director of the Year, ECAC Division III Administrator of the Year, the Claire Van Ummersen Leadership Award recipient, and a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.  She was honored with the Meritorious Service Award from the Division III Commissioners Association and the Athletic Merit Award from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse.  She was inducted into the Immaculate Heart Academy Hall of Fame, received the Springfield College Distinguished Alumna Award and the Tarbell Medallion, its highest honor all recognizing her contributions as a student and alumnus. 

As a leader, Belgiovine served as president of the Springfield College Alumni Council, president of Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA) and president of the NEWMAC.  In 1998, the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse established the Bridget Belgiovine endowed scholarship for female graduate students in sports administration and in 2020 she established the Belgiovine Fund for Excellence in the School of Physical Education, Performance and Sport Leadership at Springfield College.  Belgiovine currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Springfield College and a member of the Advisory Board for DreamBig!, a non-profit organization in Massachusetts focused on helping girls to participate in sports and physical activities.  

A collegiate lacrosse player at Trenton State (now The College of New Jersey), Belgiovine holds a B.S. in Health and Physical Education and a Masters in Physical Education and Athletic Administration from Springfield College.




JULIE SORIERO

Former Director of Athletics and Department Head of DAPER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Julie Soriero arrived at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in July of 2007 as the Director of Athletics and the Department Head of the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER). Retiring in January of 2020, she led MIT intercollegiate athletics through a transformation into one of the top intercollegiate athletic programs in the country.

Boasting one the largest athletic programs in the country with 33 varsity sports, under her leadership, MIT captured numerous New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championships and was awarded both the men’s and women’s NEWMAC President's Cups from 2016‐2017 through 2018‐ 2019. Competitively, MIT finished consistently in the top 10 in the Learfield Directors' Cup for a number of years during her tenure, with a second place finish in 2017‐18. That year, the MIT Engineers won a NEWMAC‐record 14 conference championships. In addition, three teams advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with men's basketball and women's tennis advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight. The softball program competed in the College World Series for the second time in three seasons, along with a fourth place showing at the NCAA Championship by the women's cross‐country team. The year was capped by a national championship from the co‐ed sailing.

MIT also sits as the leader in NCAA Division III for Academic All‐Americans. In addition to their competitive success, Soriero also focused on student development and initiated a leadership program for student‐ athletes titled a “Culture of Care” which focused on sexual assault prevention, mental health, diversity and inclusion and secured an endowment fund to support these efforts and programming.

Since her initial arrival at MIT, Soriero was a tireless and successful fundraiser. Over her MIT career, she raised well over $25 million for a variety of capital project improvements or new construction. Additionally, Soriero fundraised for four head coaching endowments ($2 million), two director‐level endowments ($2.5 million), and completed the fund‐raising for two coaching endowments that were initiated prior to her arrival.
In 2018, Soriero was the recipient of the prestigious NCAA President's Pat Summitt Award which honors the recipient for significant lifetime achievement in demonstrating a devotion to the development of student‐athletes and making a positive impact on their lives. She has received additional recognition for her leadership, including the 2014‐2015 Division III Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year by NACDA and the 2012 Division III Administrator of the Year by Women Leaders in College Sports. In July of 2021, Soriero will be inducted into the NACDA Hall of Fame

Her collegiate career began in women’s basketball where she coached for over two decades at the NCAA Division I, II and III levels. In 1986, her Jefferson University team (Formerly Philadelphia Textile) made it to the NCAA DII Final Four. Following a distinguished 10‐year career at the University of Pennsylvania (NCAA DI–Ivy League), Soriero began her transition into athletic administration at Colorado College, a NCAA DIII institution that also supported two nationally competitive NCAA Division I teams (men’s ice hockey and women’s soccer).

A noted speaker, Soriero has presented at the US–China Sports Forum in Bejing, the NACDA and NCAA Conventions, as well as a number of educational programs with Women Leaders in College Sports. During the 2017‐18 academic year, she served as the President of Women Leaders in College Sports and has also served in a number of leadership roles including the NCAA DIII Management Council, the NCAA Olympic Sports Committee, and chair of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics.

Soriero has been invited to conduct numerous intercollegiate program reviews on other campuses and is currently a consultant with SHIFT Executive Coaching with a focus on intercollegiate athletics administration mentoring, leadership and career development.




CONNEE ZOTOS

Former Director of Athletics, Drew University


Dr. Connee Zotos was employed as a college coach, athletic director, and faculty member for 42 years. Most notably, her 14 year tenure as Director of Athletics at Drew University has gone down as the most successful period in the history of the Rangers' Intercollegiate Athletics program. While the list of on-field accomplishments under her watch is extensive, her administrative work to spearhead the formation of the Landmark Conference and advance the stature of women in sports is just as important and impressive.

Under Dr. Zotos' leadership, Drew won 51 conference or league championships in 10 different sports, 28 players were selected as All-Americans, 15 student-athletes were named conference Player of the Year, 39 staff members were named Coach of the Year, and her facilities hosted three NCAA Championships. Based on eight years of data, an average of 72 student-athletes were selected to Conference All-Academic teams per year during her time as Drew’s Director of Athletics.

Dr. Zotos was very active in the profession serving on the NCAA Division III Management Council, numerous NCAA and Title IX committees, the NACWAA Board of Directors, the Advisory Board of the Women's Sports Foundation, President of the College Athletic Administrators of New Jersey, and was the Executive Director of Project Fair Play. As a prolific writer and speaker she conducted over 50 workshops and presentations for coaches and athletic administrators and authored 15 publications on a variety of athletically related issues. Dr. Zotos co-authored a book and web resource titled Athletic Director’s Desk Reference that contains over 300 management tips, planning tools, policy documents, evaluation instruments, forms, and risk assessment checklists for the effective management of university athletics programs.

Dr. Zotos has been recognized as a NACWAA District and National Division III Athletic Administrator of the Year and a New Jersey AIAW Outstanding Leader in Sports. She is a member of the Glassboro State College/Rowan University Sports Hall of Fame and the Drew University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2011, she received the Garden State Award for enduring leadership in college sports nationally, regionally and in the State of New Jersey.
After retiring from college athletics, Dr. Zotos was a clinical associate professor at New York University where she taught graduate and undergraduate courses in College Sports Operations. She also served as the Associate Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs in the School of Professional Studies. In 2011, she received an NYU School of Professional Studies Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Zotos retired from NYU in 2018 and continues to work as a Senior Associate for Sports Management Resources, a consulting firm that specializes in issues related to college athletics.

Dr. Zotos received a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Glassboro State College, a master’s degree in Physical Education with a concentration in Sports Management from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.