2020 Administrator of the Year Awards
2020 Conference Nike Administrator of the Year
Judy MacLeod became the third Commissioner of Conference USA with her appointment on Oct. 26, 2015. She is the first and only female commissioner of a Football Bowl Subdivision athletics conference.
MacLeod joined C-USA in September 2005, and served as the Executive Associate Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer beginning in April 2006. She took over the role as Interim Commissioner on Sept. 15, 2015.
MacLeod currently serves as the Chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee. In addition, she serves on the NCAA Division I Council and the Name, Image and Likeness Legislation Solutions Working Group. She previously served on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Selection Committee.
MacLeod came to Conference USA from The University of Tulsa, where she spent 15 years - the last 10 as the Director of Athletics. She is credited with building a complete program during her tenure at TU, highlighted by high academic achievement of student-athletes, tremendous growth in on-campus athletics facilities, competitive success, conference membership transition, and marketing and fundraising growth, as well as improved equity, integrity and diversity throughout the department.
Tulsa's facilities expansion during this time include the Donald W. Reynolds Center, which houses men's and women's basketball, volleyball, strength and conditioning, and athletic training; the Michael D. Case Tennis Center; the Donna J. Hardesty Sports Complex, which includes a softball complex, the Hurricane Soccer and Track stadium, a soccer practice field and locker room facilities; and inside Mabee Gymnasium, the Jack Zink Indoor Rowing Center, a permanent practice center for volleyball and an indoor facility for golf. In addition, refurbishment of Skelly Stadium was well under way with a number of improvements already completed and the construction of the Case Athletic Complex in the north end zone.
Tulsa transitioned into the Western Athletic Conference and then established membership in Conference USA under MacLeod's watch. In addition, women's basketball, softball and women's rowing were added during this growth period.
MacLeod was recognized in June 2004 as the Central Region Athletics Director of the Year as selected by the National Association of Collegiate Athletics Directors (NACDA).
Prior to her appointment as the Director of Athletics, she held the positions of associate athletics director, assistant athletics director, director of ticket sales, compliance officer and graduate assistant. Before working at Tulsa, MacLeod served as a sport manager for the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle and served as an assistant women's basketball coach at Seattle University for four seasons.
MacLeod earned her bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Puget Sound, where she was a women's basketball student-athlete, and her Master's degree in athletic administration from Tulsa.
As mentioned, MacLeod has an array of NCAA committee experience that includes membership on the following committees:
NCAA Division I Nominating Committee – Chair
NCAA Administration Cabinet
NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee
NCAA Well-Being Working Group
NCAA Division I Management Council
NCAA Football Academic Working Group
NCAA Baseball Academic Enhancement Working Group
NCAA Championships and Competition Cabinet
NCAA Football Certification Committee
NCAA Business/Finance Cabinet
NCAA Basketball Marketing Committee
NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee
NCAA Division I Council (Current)
NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Oversight Committee – Chair (Current)
NCAA Name, Image and Likeness Legislations Solutions Working Group (Current)
2020 NCAA Division I FBS Nike Administrator of the Year
Jocelyn Gates joined the Boston College Athletics staff in July 2017 in the role of Senior Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator. In this role, Jocelyn has oversight responsibilities for several areas including Human Resources, Sports Medicine, Strength and Conditioning, Compliance, and Student-Athlete Development, and also serves as the departmental Title IX liaison. She has sport oversight for women’s basketball, women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s golf.
Prior to BC, Jocelyn spent time at the University of South Florida as the Senior Associate Athletics Director/SWA, Duke University as the Assistant Director for the Iron Dukes, and the Special Assistant to the Vice President/Director of Athletics. She also served as the Diversity and Inclusion Post-Graduate Intern at the NCAA National Headquarters in Indianapolis, IN.
A native of Wilmington, DE, Jocelyn is a graduate of Howard University where she lettered four seasons as a member of the women’s soccer program. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, she earned a Master of Science Degree in Kinesiology – Sport Psychology from Georgia Southern University.
Jocelyn is married to Dennis Gates, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Cleveland State University. The couple has a 6-year old daughter (Avery) and 2-year old son (Duke).
Sherryta D. Freeman
2020 NCAA Division I FCS Nike Administrator of the Year
Sherryta Freeman is in her third year as the Director of Athletics at Lafayette College, taking over the leadership reins on Feb. 19, 2018. In this role, Freeman leads the College’s 23 varsity sports programs.
Freeman is passionate about the experience of student-athletes and believes in promoting a program that supports their holistic development. Athletics can be a vehicle for bringing together communities and she seeks to provide leadership that fully integrates athletics into the larger campus community.
Freeman’s first two years at Lafayette have been highlighted by improved competitiveness and a continuation of strong academic performance. Before the 2019-20 season came to a close, the Leopards experienced a six-place jump in Patriot League Presidents Cup fall standings, after the best fall athletic season in the past 25 years. In addition, three teams finished in second place in the Patriot League. In October, the NCAA placed a spotlight on Lafayette’s academic prowess, ranking its student-athletes seventh in the nation in the NCAA Graduation Success Rate.
Highlighting the winter season, the women’s basketball program notched its most wins in two decades. The 2018-19 Lafayette athletic season saw many outstanding individual accomplishments - including three Patriot League Rookies of the Year, the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, an individual Patriot League title in men’s golf, the Patriot League women’s basketball defensive player of the year, a student-athlete earning the College’s coveted Pepper Prize. In addition, seven teams received APR awards and 334 Leopards were named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.
Freeman launched a five-year strategic plan for Lafayette Athletics in the Fall of 2018. The plan, titled Creating a Championship Culture, outlines six pillars: achieving competitive excellence, strengthening academic excellence, providing the most positive student-athlete experience possible, building more community and spirit for Lafayette Athletics, ensuring integrity in everything associated with Lafayette athletics and securing the funding necessary for success. The work of six implementation committees, featuring broad-based participation from key constituents across campus, began immediately.
When she was hired, Freeman was one of 18 women out of 124 directors of athletics at FCS institutions and one of 54 out of the 380 across Division I conferences. Fourteen of those were women of color, including eight at football-playing institutions and six in the FCS.
Prior to arriving on College Hill, Freeman spent more than 15 years as a senior level administrator at Temple, Penn and Dartmouth.
Freeman graduated from Women Leaders in College Sports' Institute for Administrative Advancement in 2005 and completed the NCAA Pathways Program in 2017-18, an initiative that serves to assist minority and/or women administrators to prepare through education, training and mentorship to be athletic directors. She has also completed the Athlete Development Professional certification program at The Wharton School's Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the University of Pennsylvania and was a participant in the NCAA Division I-A Athletic Directors Institute.
Prior to coming to Lafayette, Freeman served as the Senior Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was the chief of intercollegiate athletics since 2016. She had been tasked with developing and communicating the strategic direction of the program's 33 varsity sports, including budget oversight and personnel decisions. She also oversaw the staffs responsible for compliance, academic services, student development and sports performance along with supervising the individuals charged with execution of the prospective student-athlete admissions and financial aid process.
Freeman worked in multiple roles at Temple University, which competes at the FBS level in football. She was the Senior Associate A.D. from 2011-15, Associate A.D. for Compliance and Student Services from 2007-11 and the Assistant A.D. for Compliance from 2005-07. Freeman was responsible for all matters related to institutional integrity and student-athlete welfare while also supervising select sport programs.
Prior to Temple, Freeman realized her first administrative opportunity at her alma mater, Dartmouth College, serving as the Assistant A.D. for Compliance from Jan. 2004 to Aug 2005. Her appointment at Dartmouth came a month before she completed her master's degree in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts and followed a six-month stint at Dartmouth as a compliance and event management assistant.
Freeman's first foray into collegiate athletic administration came at the Ivy League office from 2001-02 when she worked as a public information assistant in Princeton, N.J.
The native of Hillside, N.J. earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in African and African American Studies from Dartmouth in 2001. She was a four-year varsity letterwinner in basketball and a member of two Ivy League championship teams which secured NCAA Tournament appearances in 1999 and 2000.
2020 NCAA Division I Nike Administrator of the Year
Ursula Gurney was named the Deputy Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator in May 2017. Prior to her appointment, she was the Senior Associate AD for Internal Operations/SWA.
In her current role, Gurney oversees the areas of academics, compliance, sports medicine, sports performance, and is the primary liaison with UMKC's Offices of Admissions, Registration and Records and Residential Life. In addition, Gurney serves as a Deputy Title IX officer for the institution. She has oversight of 12 of Kansas City's sports, serving as the sport administrator for men’s basketball, women's basketball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men's golf, women's volleyball, and men's and women's cross country and track and field. She represents the Athletics Department as a member of the Summit League’s Joint Council and serves as a member of the Director of Athletics Senior Staff.
As Senior Woman Administrator (SWA), Gurney provides administrative leadership in the management and governance of the Intercollegiate Athletics program, and is heavily involved in key decision making at the institutional, conference, and national levels. Gurney collaborates to address strategic initiatives and departmental goals, serve as a resource to all student-athletes and coaches, support gender equity and title IX issues, and evaluate performance of departmental employees. Gurney is charged to help foster a culture that embraces diversity and advocates for student-athlete welfare.
Under Gurney and her staff, Kansas City Athletics has built a tradition of academic success. The current cumulative department GPA is 3.40. Currently, all 14 teams have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better. The Graduation Success Rate (GSR) remains steady at 92%, while the current cumulative Academic Progress Rate (APR) is 989.
Gurney is an active member of the National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals (N4A) and Women Leaders in College Sports. She has served since 2012 on N4A's Board of Directors, and currently is the President of N4A. The N4A is the largest association under the NACDA umbrella with over 2000 members. Gurney is individually certified by the N4A, and has presented multiple times at N4A's national and regional conventions. She is also faculty member for the N4A's Professional Development Institute (PDI) Leader/Manager Track. In 2018 she was awarded the N4A's Distinguished Service Award, and in 2015 she was awarded N4A's Lan Hewlett Award, an honor presented to those who demonstrate an unyielding commitment to the profession. Gurney currently serves on the NCAA Division Committee of Academics, and also serves as the Sport Liaison for Men’s and Women’s Soccer in the Summit League. Between 2011 and 2013 she was a member of the NCAA Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet. She is a graduate of Women Leaders 2012 Leadership Enhancement Institute (LEI), the 2010 West Institute for Administrative Advancement (IAA), and a 2009 graduate of the N4A's Professional Development Institute (PDI) Leader/Manager Track.
2020 NCAA Division II Nike Administrator of the Year
Pennie Parker joined Rollins in 2002 and was named Director of Athletics in 2006, leading the Tars through an era of unprecedented success. She is charged with maintaining the department's stellar reputation both athletically and academically, while adhering to the Rollins mission of producing global citizens and responsible leaders.
In 2015, Parker was selected to serve on the NCAA Division II Management Council and was named chair of the NCAA Division II Management Council in 2018. Parker has also served on the Women Leaders in College Sports Board of Directors. Parker served as the Secretary for Women Leaders in College Sports from 2016-2017 and as the Treasurer from 2017-2018. Parker is currently serving on the NCAA Legislation Committee. Parker began service on the NACDA Executive Committee in the Summer of 2015 and she has recently been named secretary of NACDA.
Parker was appointed to the Division II Athletic Director’s Association (ADA) Board of Directors in 2011 and she served as the president of the association in 2016-17. During her tenure on the board, she was the liaison to the DII NCAA mentoring program for many years. Her passion for mentoring has continued throughout her career and she currently serves as the Division II liaison for the distinguished NCAA Pathway Program.
Parker’s efforts were recognized by her peers in 2013 and 2017 as she was named Under Armour Division II Athletics Director of the Year.
Under Parker’s leadership, Rollins has won three NCAA Division II National Championships, 22 Sunshine State Conference titles, 13 SSC Tournaments and five SSC Mayor’s Cup All-Sport trophies. She has partnered with Advancement to create 7 endowed scholarships and secured funding to endow two head coaching positions.
Parker has continued to grow the Athletics Department’s academic profile during her tenure. Rollins was honored with the Division II President’s Awards for Academic Excellence in 2019, the eighth consecutive season Rollins earned the recognition. The Tars Academic Success Rate has led the Sunshine State Conference since the NCAA began calculating ASR in 2006. Since the beginning of her career as athletic director at Rollins, student-athletes have posted a combined GPA above 3.0, two student-athletes have won the prestigious Elite 90 award and 7 student-athletes have been named valedictorian.
"It is a privilege to be part of the Rollins family," said Parker. "I enjoy serving the student-athletes, coaches, faculty and staff, and continuing to enhance the tradition of academic and athletic success at the College."
In 2007, Parker was tasked with building two varsity programs from the ground up and had both men's and women's lacrosse programs playing NCAA Division II competition by the 2008 season. The Tars women have become a national powerhouse since, reaching the national semifinals in 2012 and 2013.
2020 NCAA Division III Nike Administrator of the Year
Meg Stevens has served as Averett University’s Director of Athletics since July 2013, and during that time has transformed the culture of Averett athletics. Stevens has collaborated with faculty, student-athletes and staff to develop and strengthen a “3-2-1” philosophy that has pushed Averett toward the top of the USA South Conference. Under her direction, all teams strive to achieve a 3.0 grade point average, finish in the top two in the conference, and the entire athletics department works together as “one team.”
Stevens’ “3-2-1” philosophy has paid dividends. In her first eight years as Director of Athletics, Averett has won 11 conference championships and produced 192 all-conference selections, including 16 players of the year, 10 rookies of the year and five coaches of the year. Moreover, her impact has been felt on both a regional and national level as her student-athletes have achieved 56 all-region selections and 21 All-America achievements.
Academically, Stevens’ influence has helped produce 584 academic all-conference selections, 23 CoSIDA Academic All-District achievements and 10 CoSIDA Academic All-America accomplishments that include the 2017-18 CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year Samm Chandler.
Furthermore, Stevens pushes her student-athletes to produce not only in the classroom and in the arena of athletics competition, but also in the community as well through various community service and professional development projects. Averett has won a record five consecutive USA South “Cans Across the Conference” competitions and a record four USA South “Pennies for a Purpose” campaigns. In addition, Averett has produced three Don Scalf Award winners and two Rita Wiggs Woman of the Year Award recipients while under Stevens’ direction.
Under Stevens leadership, Averett’s Special Olympics initiatives have gained national recognition as the university’s Department of Athletics has taken home several national awards from National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators and Jostens, including the “Array of Projects” award in 2016 for the 2014-15 academic year, the “One-Time Activity or Project” Award of Merit for the 2016-17 academic year as well third place in 2020 for “outstanding efforts” with Averett’s annual Special Olympics Fall Fun Day. Additionally, Averett athletics has won three NCAA Division III Special Olympics spotlight polls to earn money for future Special Olympics events.
Stevens also takes great pride in her leadership within Averett having coordinated a partnership with Nike and BSN Sports to equip all student-athletes with Nike gear along with helping to strengthen Averett's branding and reach within the Danville community.
Stevens’ open lines of communication and open door policy have made her a trustworthy role model for Averett student-athletes and graduate assistants, and her caring and compassionate approach has energized and stabilized her department into one of the top in all of Division III athletics.
She oversees 16 intercollegiate athletics programs and three club varsity sports. She supervises more than 60 individuals that make up the Department of Athletics staff, including administrators, coaches, facility and sports performance staff as well as sports medicine and sports communications staffers. She also serves on the university’s President’s Council and other university committees, as well as supervises Averett athletics’ Circle of Champions and Team Averett.
Since her arrival, Stevens has added three NCAA-sponsored sports including men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s wrestling, as well as two club varsity sports, esports and dance. Additionally, she has assisted with several facility constructions, expansions and upgrades around Averett, including the development of Frank R. Campbell Stadium, the addition of an indoor batting facility and the renovation of Carrington Gymnasium. During her time, she has been influential in renovations and facility upgrades to the Grant Center, Owen-Fulton Field and other athletics facilities.
Stevens’ devotion to the professional development of coaches, graduate assistants, support staff and student-athletes can be felt within her department through various captains and leadership programs to professional development opportunities through the NCAA and other organizations. She has helped send several student-athletes and coaches to various conventions and conferences since her arrival, including the NCAA Division III Immersion Program at the national convention and NCAA Career in Sports Forum.
Stevens is well respected by her colleagues and peers having been asked to be the keynote speaker at the NCAA Emerging Leadership Symposium for six straight years and has been a presenter at the Women Leaders Convention on several occasions as well as the NCAA Career in Sports Forum and many other NCAA conferences.
Additionally, Stevens is known for her commitment to hiring, mentoring and developing young head coaches. In fact, 27 of her 28 head coach hires have been first-time head coaches, and she has promoted nearly a half dozen former Averett graduate assistant coaches into head coaching roles. Many of Averett’s graduate assistant coaches and staff have gone on to become head coaches or full-time assistant coaches in all levels of athletics.
Stevens has also served on the board of directors for Women Leaders in College Sports as well as the Boys and Girls Club of Danville while also being a strong advocate for both women and minority leaders in sports.
Offering More than 20 Years of Experience in Administration, Coaching and Service
Prior to coming to Averett, Stevens served as Buffalo State’s assistant director of athletics from 2009-13 and spent 11 years as the women’s lacrosse head coach, director of the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program and as the advisor for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She also served as Buffalo State's senior woman administrator for two years.
As assistant director of athletics at Buffalo State, Stevens helped elevate student-athlete prominence on campus and in the community through increased community service efforts. She also served as an advisor for several major athletics facilities projects and executed an extensive fundraising initiative for the lacrosse program.
In addition to her administrative duties at Buffalo State, Stevens achieved success on the field, building her lacrosse program into a perennial contender. In 11 seasons at Buffalo State, she accumulated an overall record of 109-65 (.626) and led the Bengals to the State University of New York Athletic Conference postseason six of her last eight years. In 2012, her team finished ranked in the top 20 and made its first NCAA Tournament appearance. She is a two-time SUNYAC Coach of the Year and was the U.S. Lacrosse Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.
Prior to her time at Buffalo State, Stevens interned as a special events coordinator with the Women’s Sports Foundation and with the Eastern College Athletic Association. Additionally, she served as a chair for the NCAA's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was a member of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics, the NCAA Division III Task Force and the Cortland Intercollegiate Athletics Board. As a player at Cortland, she helped the Red Dragons to three consecutive SUNYAC championships as well as three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.
A native of Delmar, N.Y., Stevens received her bachelor's degree in recreation and leisure management with a minor in sports management from SUNY Cortland and earned her master's degree in student personnel administration from Buffalo State.
Tiffany Walker Daniels
2020 Nell Jackson Nike Administrator of the Year
Tiffany Daniels was named Associate Commissioner/Senior Woman Administrator for the Southeastern Conference in May 2013. Daniels joined the SEC from Georgia State University where she served as Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs overseeing Communications/Public Relations, Marketing/Promotions, Ticket Sales, Licensing, Corporate Sales and Merchandising for the Panthers.
No stranger to the world of athletics marketing and sales, Daniels previously held posts with the Georgia Dome where she served as the Director of Business Development. In that role, she was responsible for seeking and negotiating new business ventures for the Georgia Dome while working with corporate sales and activation.
Before joining the Georgia Dome staff, Daniels worked in professional sports with the Atlanta Spirit from 2001-05, first as group sales manager for the Atlanta Hawks and then as director of group sales for the Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena.
She also held posts with the WNBA’s Orlando Miracle and the NBA’s Orlando Magic.
Daniels earned a bachelor's degree in management information systems from the University of Georgia where she was a four year letter-winner for the Bulldogs in the sport of basketball. She was a four-year starter for the Lady Dawgs including two NCAA Final Four appearances in 1995 and 1996, winning Southeastern Conference Championships in 1996 and 1997.
Daniels was the first UGA women’s basketball student-athlete to earn an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, and she later earned a master's in sports management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Daniels’ current responsibilities as a member of the conference’s executive staff include oversight of the league’s sport administration and championships program including Olympic sports, softball and women’s basketball budgets, scheduling and officiating. In addition, the conference’s student-athlete engagement efforts are led by Daniels.
Tiffany currently resides in Birmingham, AL with her husband, Donald, and two children Tyler (11) and Payton (10).