Few people know college athletics better than Chris Plonsky, University of Texas Women’s Athletic Director, and Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA). Both Plonsky and Phillips have seen college sports change dramatically over the years and specifically in regards to women’s participation in leadership. Women are making inroads into top jobs in college athletics, they say, but this progress is inconsistent and not certain to continue. Women leaders, for example, will need opportunities to prove their stripes as fundraisers in Power Five conference institutions whose sports programs are largely driven by football.
For the video below, Plonsky and Phillips were interviewed and joined in a 30-minute conversation by Greg Santore, leader of Witt/Kieffer’s Sports Leadership practice. The video was produced by the D1.ticker newsletter as part of its “Athletic Director U” series, and filmed at the 2017 NCAA Convention in Nashville.
Women can be more successful in college sports than they have been, Plonsky believes. It starts with “communication, passion, the ability to connect,” she says. “From there you can do everything. You can raise revenue, you can run sports, you can run departments.”
One of the main challenges ahead, Phillips says, is encouraging men in Athletic Director and other administrative positions to hire women as well as minorities. “The real great leaders are giving people the opportunities not only to sit and participate but to be part of the decision-making process,” she says.
By the Witt & Wisdom Team