Contact: Laura Lewis
National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators
Kansas City, Mo.—In recognition of the outstanding achievements and success of women working in athletics, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) announced today its 2013 Administrator of the Year Award recipients. The eight honorees will be celebrated on October 15 in San Diego at the 2013 Jostens Administrator of the Year Luncheon.
The Administrator of the Year Award, sponsored by Jostens, is presented annually to NACWAA members for significant contributions made as athletics administrators. In addition, the Nell Jackson Administrator of the Year Award honors an administrator who exemplifies the personal qualities and professional accomplishments of Dr. Nell Jackson—courage, conviction and perseverance.
Nominated by their peers and selected by the NACWAA Awards Committee for their service during 2012-13, the 2013 honorees are:
- Division I FBS: Janna Blais, Deputy Director of Athletics – Student Athlete Welfare, Northwestern University
- Division I FCS: Shaney Fink, Senior Associate Athletics Director/SWA, University of San Diego
- Division I: Karen Peters, Senior Associate Athletics Director/SWA, University of Portland
- Division II: Sara Lillevand Judd, Director of Athletics, California State University, East Bay
- Division III: Susan Bassett, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports, Ithaca College
- NAIA/NJCAA: Dr. Angie Fincannon, Director of Athletics, Taylor University
- Association/Organization: Lynn Holzman, Senior Associate Commissioner/SWA, West Coast Conference
- Nell Jackson Administrator of the Year: Delise O’Meally, NCAA Director of Association-wide Governance and International Affairs
“NACWAA is pleased to celebrate and honor these women who work diligently each day to represent their institutions and conferences in extraordinary ways,” said Jane Miller, NACWAA awards committee chair and board of directors member. “Their commitment to the advancement of women at all levels of our profession ensures a bright future for those who aspire to a career in athletics. By honoring these inspiring women, we thank them for their outstanding service and leadership.”
About the Honorees
Janna Blais was described by her nominators as a mentor to many, advocate for gender equity, impactful leader and passionate visionary in the field of intercollegiate athletics. While at Northwestern, Blais has overhauled the athletic department’s compliance, academic and health service operations for the benefit of the student-athletes. Prior to her current position, Blais was a softball coach at her alma mater, the University of Connecticut, and worked in administration for three years at the University of Hartford and for over 10 years at Bowling Green State University.
Shaney Fink has established herself at the University of San Diego as a leader who is highly committed to athletic and academic excellence, diversity and the development of student-athletes. A member of San Diego’s athletic department since 1999, Fink is currently senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator, overseeing 17 Division I sports and over 450 student-athletes. She has served in a number of other coaching and administrative roles at San Diego and Colgate University.
Karen Peters, senior associate athletics director/SWA at the University of Portland, has overseen a more than 13% increase in female student-athlete participation since her arrival to Portland’s athletic department. A respected leader at the institutional, conference and national levels, Peters also served as interim athletic director at UP from January to June 2012. Prior to working at Portland, Peters spent 10 years at Stanford University, Columbia University and New Mexico State University, serving in various administrative roles.
Named director of athletics at the California State University, East Bay on June 1, 2013, Sara Lillevand Judd has been a lynchpin in the CSU East Bay athletic department for the past 16 years. A role model, mentor, and esteemed leader, Judd has served as both administrator and head basketball coach for the Pioneers, helping to guide the department into NCAA Division II membership. Before her time at CSU East Bay, Judd worked as basketball coach at UC Davis and Wellesley College.
Susan Bassett, newly-appointed director of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports at Ithaca College, has spent her entire career dedicated to student-athlete development, both on and off the field. A NACWAA Past President, Bassett has held an impressive number of leadership roles at the Division III level, serving as athletic director at Carnegie Mellon University for seven years and William Smith College for 10. As an educator, coach, and administrator for over three decades, Bassett’s impact on intercollegiate athletics has been significant on many levels. In 2010, Bassett was honored as an Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year.
Dr. Angie Fincannon currently serves as director of athletics at Taylor University, where she oversees the operation of the 15-sport athletic department. Now in her 21st year at Taylor, Fincannon has promoted student-athlete well-being and excellence both in her current administrative role and as Taylor volleyball coach. Beyond the campus, Fincannon is involved with the NAIA on a national level, serving on the NAIA National Administrative Council, Hall of Fame Committee and Competitive Experience Committee.
Lynn Holzman has made a tremendous impact on intercollegiate athletics throughout her career, earning respect for her hard work, commitment to diversity, professionalism and integrity. She spent 16 years with the NCAA, working her way up from intern to director of academic and membership affairs in just five years. In October 2012, Holzman joined the West Coast Conference staff as senior associate commissioner for governance and administration, where she is responsible for overseeing the effective management of the Conference and the development and implementation of the Conference Strategic Plan.
Delise O’Meally has spent the past 16 years serving the NCAA, most recently as director of association-wide governance and international affairs. O’Meally is seen as a leader with an unwavering commitment to diversity and a strong vision of inclusion, especially in her creation of and work on the NCAA international affairs initiative. Prior to her work at the NCAA, O’Meally worked in athletics administration at Morgan State University.
About the NACWAA National Convention (#NACWAA13)
Celebrating its 34th year, the NACWAA National Convention is the premier conference for women working in intercollegiate athletics. Attended by athletics directors, conference commissioners, coaches, administrators and staff from all divisions of intercollegiate athletics, this annual gathering provides three days of unparalleled education, leadership training and networking. The 2013 event will be held October 13-15 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.