You might notice that there are as many women listed in this College Sports Administrator Hall of Fame as men — and, for good reason. While men notably led as college sports administrators for decades, women are beginning to make their marks as college sports directors and administrators across the country. While the focus often is on women’s college sports, their leadership often shows remarkable achievements for both genders. This list represents just a handful of talented and knowledgeable individuals who have led college sports and their teams to greatness over the years.
The following names are listed alphabetically by given name to show that we do not favor one person over another. Also, you may notice that many administrators on this list began their careers in sports, playing for college teams.
- Dr. Alpha Alexander, co-founder and vice-president of the Black Women in Sports Foundation, received her masters and doctorate degrees in Physical Education from Temple University in Pennsylvania, and she began her career in 1976 as a graduate assistant in Women’s Athletics at Temple University. Today, after many awards and more than a decade of service on the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors, Dr. Alexander serves as an administrator at a Tennessee high school.
- Andrea Seger, in 1995, was chosen by Ball State to direct the newly combined men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics program. At the time, Seger was one of only four women in the United States to oversee a combined NCAA Division 1A athletics department. She was named one of Street & Smith’s Super 50 Women Sports Executives in 1998. Seger retired from Ball State in 2002, and now works as search counsel within Alden & Associates’ executive search practice. She also served as Interim Executive Director at NACWAA (National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators) in early 2010.
- Bob Goin, a 1959 graduate of Bethany College in West Virginia and now in retirement, launched his athletic career at that school in 1960. Among other designations, he served as Athletic Director at the University of Cincinnati and Florida State University. During his tenure at Cincinnati, the school joined the Big East Conference. Goin also played a major role in shaping the future of the Florida State program, and has served on the NCAA Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet and the NCAA Football Bowl Certification Subcommittee.
- Deborah A. Yow, who has served on the NCAA Management Council and the NCAA Division I Budget Committee, resigned in 2010 after 16 years as director of athletics at the University of Maryland — where she became the first female athletic director at any Atlantic Coast Conference school. During her tenure, the school’s athletic teams captured twenty national championships. She now serves as the director of athletics at North Carolina State University.
- James Lynah (d. 1956) was a sports administrator who was considered the primary founder of the Eastern College Athletic Conference. He served as the first Director of Athletics at Cornell University from 1935 to 1943, where he led the creation of the Eastern Intercollegiate Athletics agency, which became the modern ECAC. Lynah was succeeded at Cornell by Robert Kane (see below). The ECAC created the James Lynah Distinguished Achievement Award in 1957 to recognize outstanding athletic administrators.
- Jennifer Alley, former UNC head coach, served nine years as the first full time head women’s basketball coach at the University of North Carolina and helped the Tar Heels capture the 1984 ACC crown. She served as the Executive Director for NACWAA from 2006-2009 and now serves as that organization’s Executive Director Emeritus. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as well as on several other organizations.
- Joni Comstock is a coach-turned-administrator. She served two Big Ten universities before making her way to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) in 2006, where she holds the role of senior vice president for championships and senior woman administrator. Her duties at the national office include oversight of 84 NCAA national championships, statistics, playing rules administration, media coordination efforts and gender initiatives. She also serves on the board of directors for the NAWCAA.
- Kevin Anderson has been hired as the new director of athletics at the University of Maryland, after serving at the United States Military Academy, where he directed Army’s athletics department since 2004. At Army, Anderson was responsible for a 25-sport program that served more than 900 cadet-athletes. On the field, Anderson has led a broad-based resurgence that has seen 20 teams earn berths in NCAA Championships, including programs in 10 different sports. He replaces Deborah Yow (see above).
- Larry Scott, the former Chairman and CEO of the WTA Tour, a 2008 Time Magazine Best Sports Executive and a former All-American tennis player at Harvard University, has been Commissioner of the collegiate Pac-10 Conference since 1 July 2009. Eleven months later, the Conference announced expansion of Pac-10 to Pac-12 with the addition of Colorado (2012) and Utah (2011). Since Harvard, Scott has established a solid track record of innovation and growth across a range of different sports at both the college and professional levels.
- Lew Perkins was chosen for the upside to his service as Director of Athletics at the University of Kansas. Perkins previously held similar positions with five other major universities, where he gained a reputation for successfully cleaning up schools that suffered under NCAA violations. In the summer of 2008 Perkins topped public voting in Time Magazine’s online poll of the best sports executives in the world. In June 2010, Perkins announced he would retire after the 2010-2011 school year, but on September 7, 2010 Perkins announced his retirement would be effective immediately, reasons unknown.
- Marcia Saneholtz retired from her 28-year stint at Washington State University as Senior Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator in 2007, where she supervised and mentored many nationally successful coaches while aiding in the development of the athletics department’s rise to national prominence. She received the NACWAA Administrator of the Year Award in 1997 and served as NACWAA President from 1992-1993, and served on the Pacific-10 Conference’s Senior Woman’s Administrative Committee.
- Dr. Myles Brand (d. 2009) earned his degrees in philosophy, but served as president for various universities and institutions until his appointment in 2002 as president of the NCAA. Brand established a system for academic reform among college athletes and was an advocate for diversity and inclusion across all sports. Brand also put college executives in visible leadership roles to tackle the most pressing problems facing college sports.
- Robert Kane (d. 1992) was a celebrated sports administrator who first established himself as a talented sprinter at Cornell University. Kane became Acting Director of Cornell Athletics from 1941-1944 and then served as the Director of Cornell Athletics from 1944-1971. He also served as president of the United States Olympic Committee from 1977-80. He founded the National Sports Festival, later renamed the U.S. Olympic Festival. Kane was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1986.
- Tina Sloane-Greene, another Temple graduate, is a is co-founder and President of the Black Women in Sports Foundation. As the first African-American head coach in the history of women’s intercollegiate lacrosse, Ms. Sloan Green was head coach of the Temple University Women’s Lacrosse Team from 1973-1992. In 2008, Professor Sloan Green received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the NACWAA.