LEAD1 Association Announces Inaugural Diversity Fellowship Program Class to Increase Diversity in FBS Leadership

Association’s announcement stems from its January 2021 released white paper on actionable recommendations to increase senior-diverse leadership in FBS college sports.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The LEAD1 Association (“LEAD1”), which represents the athletic directors of the 130-member schools of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), announced today its inaugural class for its “LEAD1 Diversity Fellowship Program.” The new program is a year-long opportunity for each class of people of color and female administrators to better prepare to assume the athletics director position. The creation of the program stems from LEAD1’s previously released white paper on actionable recommendations to increase diversity in FBS college sports administration.

To select each class, LEAD1 has created an oversight Committee comprised of five experienced and successful athletics administrators. They include Sean Frazier, Director of Athletics at Northern Illinois University, China Jude, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for the Denver Broncos (both of whom co-chaired LEAD1’s Diversity Working Group that released the white paper), Doug Knuth, Director of Athletics at the University of Nevada, Debbie Yow, athletics director emerita for NC State and Dan Guerrero, former athletics director at UCLA, who now serves as president of the U.S. International University Sports Federation.

For this inaugural class, the Committee executed an exhaustive search process, examining feedback from athletics directors, top search firms, and relevant minority associations to select the fellowship candidates most ready to assume the athletics director position.  Ultimately, the Committee selected the following 12 fellows for the inaugural class. Each fellow will soon be matched with an athletics director mentor and participate in virtual monthly discussions with college sports leaders.

LEAD1 Diversity Fellowship Program Class of 2021-22

Name Institution Position
Bryan Blair Washington State University Deputy Director of Athletics/Chief Operating Officer
Jocelyn Gates Ohio State University Senior Associate AD, Sport Administration
Anton Goff Northern Illinois University Senior Associate AD/Director of Student-Athlete Academic
Support Services
Tiffini Grimes University of Alabama Senior Deputy AD, SWA/Chief Diversity Officer
Alan Haller Michigan State University Assistant Vice President/Deputy AD
Monique Holland Auburn University Executive Associate AD – Student-Athlete Experience, SWA
Dr. Mónica Lebrón University of Tennessee Deputy AD for Championship Resources
Renae Myles Payne University of Miami Senior Associate AD/Administration & Chief Diversity Officer
Delise O’Meally Institute for Sport and Social Justice Executive Director
Natasha Oakes University of North Texas Executive Senior Associate AD, Compliance, SWA & Chief
Diversity Officer
Dr. Christina Rivera UCLA Senior Associate AD/SWA
Zac Selmon University of Oklahoma Senior Associate AD/Administration & Development

“We are very happy with the comprehensive search process undertaken by our oversight Committee to select this outstanding inaugural class for our LEAD1 Diversity Fellowship Program,” said LEAD1 President and CEO, Tom McMillen.  “It is through this type of intentionality that we can help make college sports more equitable for all.”

For more information regarding the program, please contact, Hannah Dewey, (hannah@lead1a.com).

About the LEAD1 Association: LEAD1 represents the athletics directors of the 130 member universities of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Key to the LEAD1 mission are influencing how the rules of college sports are enacted and implemented, advocating for the future of college athletics, and providing various services to our member schools. For more information, please visit www.LEAD1Association.com.