Tamica smith jones
university of california, riverside
director of intercollegiate athletics
As Director of Athletics at the University of California, Riverside, my role is expansive. I am proud to represent our amazing institution of 23,000+ students, of which 300+ are student-athletes from very diverse backgrounds and experiences. We are a rising Division I program with 17 sports, 70+ coaches and staff and compete in the Big West Conference. As a leading woman, in a male-dominated profession, I understand and value the role/importance of advocacy for advancing minorities in the position of intercollegiate athletics director, as well as bringing awareness to the discrimination and bias in college athletics.
As a former student-athlete and coach who is now serving on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and Women Leaders in College Sports Board of Directors, this has been intentional work and an area of focus on which we can improve. In addition, being one of the few African-American women athletics directors at the Division I level, I have at times experienced (and had to overcome) limited access, glass ceilings, microaggressions, and age and racial discrimination.
There is a need for more mentorship, models so I have committed my life’s work to serve as an illustration of hope and aid others in building stronger networks and partnership to improve related knowledge, skills and resources. I work with many groups and organizations committed to establish initiatives for achieving ethnic and racial diversity, gender equality and inclusion, with a focus an emphasis on quality of leadership education for young minorities. My first responsibility is to my campus and community at UCR and as part of our vision and mission at a leading nationally recognized institution, I have been charged to serve globally in this light. It’s an honor and privilege.