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Charley Steiner Symposium

The Fourth Annual Charley Steiner Symposium

Sponsored by

Paul Herzog, BU ‘74
Chartered Financial Consultant

Mass Mutual Logo

Thursday, November 15, 2018

9:00 am: Collegiate Athletic Directors: What Keeps Me Awake at Night
Panelists: Chris Zorich, Dr. Chris Reynolds, Jennifer Williams
Moderator: Dr. Paul Gullifor
Location: Caterpillar Global Communication Center 126

10:30 am: Rules of Sport: Regulations and Ethics
Panelists: Bill Carollo, Dr. Steve Bien-Aime’, Lauren Niemiera, Dr. Ryan Rogers
Moderator: Dr. Dunja Antunovic
Location: Caterpillar Global Communication Center 126

1:30 pm: Critical Issues in the Field of Sports Communication
Panelists: David Baker, Dr. Kenon Brown, Professor Erica Zonder
Moderator: Dave Kindred
Location: Caterpillar Global Communication Center 126

3:00 pm: The State of the Game
Panelists: Chis “Mad Dog” Russo, Rick Hummel, Susan Slusser, Tyler Kepner, Pedro Moura
Moderator: Charley Steiner
Location: Caterpillar Global Communication Center 126

7:00 pm: A Conversation with Chris "Mad Dog" Russo
Panelists: Chis "Mad Dog" Russo, Charley Steiner
Location: Hayden Clark Alumni Center - Peplow Pavilion

 

Biographies for 2018 Symposium

Charley SteinerCharley Steiner

Five-time Emmy Award-winner and National Radio Hall of Famer Charley Steiner enters his 14th season as a play-by-play announcer for the Dodgers. The veteran broadcaster will primarily call the action on the Dodger Radio Network, but will also handle the play-by-play duties for SportsNet LA for select road games.

Before joining the Dodgers, Steiner broadcast three years for the New York Yankees on WCBS Radio and the YES Network. Prior to his seasons with the Yankees, Steiner spent 14 years at ESPN, where his responsibilities ranged from anchoring SportsCenter to working play-by-play for Major League Baseball and Saturday Primetime Football. He served as SportsCenter's primary boxing reporter/analyst and also contributed to the Emmy and CableACE award-winning Outside the Lines series. Steiner also called the 2006 and 2013 World Baseball Classics for XM Radio and MLB international, respectively, and broadcast MLB games live from seven different countries.

Steiner graduated from Bradley University, where the School of Sports Communication has been named in his honor. Currently there are 120 majors at the Steiner School, in radio and television broadcasting, journalism, production, direction, ethics, media relations, digital, and sales. Steiner, who was inducted into the Bradley's Sports Hall of Fame in 1995, also established the Charles H. Steiner endowed Scholarship, which is given annually to Bradley broadcasting majors.

He began his professional broadcasting career in 1969 at WIRL Radio in Peoria, Illinois as a newscaster, and made career stops in Davenport, New Haven, Hartford and Cleveland before returning to his native New York, where he was the morning sportscaster on WOR radio, while serving as sports director for the RKO Radio Network. In addition, Steiner called the play-by-play for the USFL New Jersey Generals and, later, for the New York Jets on WABC radio.

David BakerDavid Baker

Since being named the President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in January of 2014, David Baker’s leadership has transformed the Hall of Fame.

His physical stature – 6’9” and nearly 400 pounds – is overshadowed by his large vision for the Hall. He has embarked on an endeavor that has dramatically expanded the Hall of Fame’s brand by focusing on the organization’s powerful Mission to "Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values & Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE."

Baker came to Canton with a reputation as an experienced and passionate leader in business, politics and sports. He is dedicated to inspiring exponential growth in individuals and organizations of excellence that seek to make a difference in their communities and the world. He possesses a long record of success as a catalyst for growth.

Under his guidance and leadership, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has greatly expanded programming across the country; experienced increased television ratings; received broader exposure of the Hall’s Mission, Values and Vision; and recorded the greatest financial results in the organization’s 55-year history. In his four years at the Hall, the organization’s net assets more than doubled.

In 2018, the Pro Football Hall of Fame was voted the Best Attraction for Sports Fans in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest.

Baker is also leading Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, an $899 million mixed-use project that will result in the first-ever sports and entertainment “smart city.” Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village will transform the Hall’s campus into “Football Heaven” for all who love the Game. The dynamic project will be completed to coincide with the NFL’s Centennial Celebration in 2020. Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village is comprised of ten main components: the Pro Football Hall of Fame Museum; Black College Football Hall of Fame; Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium; Hall of Fame Hotel, a Four-Star Hotel & Conference Center; a Player Care Center that includes Legends Landing Senior Living Community; National Youth Football & Sports Complex; The Center for EXCELLENCE (Coaches University; an Academy of Corporate Excellence; the Institute for Officiating and the Center for Athletic Performance and Safety); a Performance Center with an indoor 100-yard field and convention space; Hall of Fame Promenade (restaurants and support retail that will feature the “World’s Greatest Sports Bar”); and the Hall of Fame Experience (indoor amusement park and a football-themed indoor water park).

Baker’s accomplishments were recognized when he was bestowed the prestigious March of Dimes Sports Leadership Award for 2017. He joined a long list of distinguished winners of the Sports Leadership Award that includes NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, NBA Commissioner David Stern, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

Baker is an attorney by trade who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Criticism from the University of California at Irvine and his Juris Doctorate from the Pepperdine School of Law during which time he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Pepperdine Law Review.

He played professional basketball in Switzerland and worldwide with a Christian basketball team that beat the best in the world. He was elected Mayor and Councilman of Irvine, California, the country’s first master-planned city and served for 12 years as the Commissioner of the Arena Football League.

Fueled by his establishment of the first-ever Mission Statement and Fan Bill of Rights in sports, the Arena Football League brand grew dramatically as the most fan-friendly league in the world. Team values escalated from $175,000 to $32 million due, at least in part, to Baker’s ability to negotiate television contracts and his tireless work to establish partnerships with the NFL and major sponsors.

From 2009 to 2014, he served as the Managing Partner for Union Village, the first integrated health village in the world that is located in Henderson, Nevada. The $1.3 billion mixed-use project will provide 17,000 jobs in the community created for 1,500 seniors.

Baker is the father of two boys – Ben who is the Director of Broadcasting at NASCAR and Sam who played left tackle for the Atlanta Falcons and currently serves as a coach for Mission Viejo High School football team. David and his wife Colleen also have a daughter Leyla and a son, Michael; and are the proud grandparents of eight beautiful grandchildren.

With a focus on the Hall of Fame’s five core values – commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence – Baker leads by example at the "The Most Inspiring Place on Earth!"

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT DAVID BAKER

"(Baker’s) imagination is every bit as expansive as his enormous 6-foot-9 frame." – Crain’s Cleveland Business

"Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village is going to be one of the most spectacular things that I’ve ever seen, and that is not an overstatement. It’s really extraordinary that David came in with a vision of creating this village and it’s actually becoming a reality." – National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell

"Canton has the opportunity to do something like we did with our stadium in Dallas. Our sport has no peer like David Baker when it comes to our game and what these great men and women have done for the fundamentals. Hall of Famers embody a lot of what we want our young people to be. David Baker has shown not only an elegant way of presenting it, but he has meat on the bone when it comes to getting it done." – Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys Owner/President/General Manager & Hall of Fame member

"If my dad owned an Arby’s, he’d want to make it the most extravagant Arby’s you’ve ever seen — times 10." – David Baker’s son Sam Baker, former tackle for the Atlanta Falcons and Southern California

"David has been absolutely incredible in terms of what he's brought to the Hall of Fame. He understands his role, and he champions our causes." – Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis

"Baker isn't about bluster and grandiose dreams that never come to fruition. He draws up a blueprint and follows through." – Los Angeles Times

"Dave has done a tremendous job. It's a 180-degree turn from the way the place used to be. He's trying to make it better and grow it all the time. Before, it was what it was, and it stayed that way. Now, he's constantly looking for ways to make people want to go there, whether you're a player or a fan." – Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana

"His enthusiasm — and Baker is a very enthusiastic guy — peaks when he discusses The Center of Excellence, the Player Care Center and the Hall of Fame Experience." – Associated Press story by Barry Wilner titled, "Pro Football Hall of Fame president envisions football 'Disney World' in Canton"

Steve Bien AimeSteve Bien-Aimé

Steve Bien-Aimé, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of journalism at Northern Kentucky University. Prior to receiving his doctorate from the College of Communications at Penn State, Bien-Aimé worked as a copy editor at The News Journal in Delaware and The Baltimore Sun and served in a variety of functions at FOXSports.com in Los Angeles, departing as deputy NFL editor. His research interests include race and gender portrayals in sports and news media.

Kenon BrownKenon A. Brown

Kenon A. Brown (@kenonabrown) is an associate professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations (A+PR) at the University of Alabama. As the programming director for the Alabama Program in Sports Communication, Kenon is responsible for stakeholder communication and events for the program. He is also the graduate coordinator for A+PR, specifically in charge of its M.A. program. Kenon joined the department in August 2012 after completing his doctorate at Alabama. Prior to his academic appointment, Kenon worked for eight years in restaurant management and marketing. His research interests include image and reputation management, particularly in sports, and minority recruitment in mass communication. Kenon has worked closely with several sport and entertainment organizations, including the International Olympic Committee, FOX Sports, Twitch, NASCAR and the Country Music Association. Keeping with his practitioner roots, Kenon also consults with several regional and national clients, specifically assisting with market research and strategic planning.

William CarolloWilliam F. Carollo

Bill Carollo has served as the Coordinator of Football Officials of the Collegiate Officiating Consortium since the 2009 season, which serves the Mid-American Conference, Big Ten Conference and the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Carollo officiated in the NFL from 1989 to 2008, breaking in as side judge before being promoted to referee in 1997. He was on the field as referee for Super Bowls XXX and XXXVII. From 2000 to 2006, he was Executive Director of the NFL Referees Association.

A native of Shorewood, Wis., Carollo earned one of the last full scholarships from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee football program, where he was quarterback for the Panthers between 1970-73. Carollo graduated with a Business Administration degree in 1974 with a focus on industrial relations. He also completed several advanced Business Management programs through IBM’s continued education programs at the Harvard Business School and the London School of Business. Carollo was Vice President and General Manager in Global Sales for Manpower from 2004 to 2009. Carollo joined the company after spending 30 years at IBM as an Information Technology executive leading sales and marketing for IBM’s largest global clients.

Carollo received the 2018 Golden Whistle Award from the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). This award is the highest honor in officiating. It encompasses all sports and recipients exhibits a high degree of integrity and ethics.

Carollo current serves as a member on the NCAA Football Rules Committee.

Carollo remains active in a variety of youth, community and charitable organizations throughout the Milwaukee area and around the country, including involvement with Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee, Special Olympics, Make a Wish Foundation and NFL Charites.

Carollo currently resides in Shorewood, Wis., with his wife, Mo, and four children.

HummelRick Hummel

Rick Hummel, who began his career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1971,  was the 2006 recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing and was honored at the 2007 Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y. He also was elected to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, the Quincy (Ill.) High School  Hall of Fame in 2008 and the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Having covered his first major league game in 1973, Hummel has witnessed  more than 5,000 games for the Post-Dispatch as the paper's Cardinals beat man for 24 years and then as the paper's baseball columnist for 11 years before he returned to beat writing. He has covered 36 World Series and 39 All-Star Games.

Hummel was national president of the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1994 and was voted Missouri sports writer of the year three times by the National Sportswriters and Sportcasters' Association. For the last 15 years, he has served on the Baseball Hall of Fame Overview Committee which reviews the candidacies of former players, managers, executives and umpires for possible selection to the Hall by the Veterans Committee.

He and Tony La Russa collaborated on a best-selling book titled "One Last Strike" after La Russa managed the Cardinals to the World Series title in his final season, 2011.

Hummel is a 1968 University of Missouri (Journalism School) graduate and graduated from Quincy (Ill.) High School in 1964. After high school, he attended Quincy College for two years. He served in the Army from 1968-71 and worked for the Colorado Springs Free Press from 1969-71 while stationed in Colorado Springs, Colo.

He has three children, Scott (43), Christy (39) and Lauren (25) and two grandchildren. His wife, Melissa, who has a daughter, Camilla (26),  is an interior designer in the St. Louis area.

Tyler KepnerTyler Kepner

Tyler Kepner has been the national baseball writer for the New York Times since 2010, after covering the Yankees from 2002-2009 and the Mets in 2000 and 2001. He came to the Times from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where he covered the Mariners in 1999 after a year as the Angels' beat writer for the Riverside Press-Enterprise in California. He attended Vanderbilt University on the Grantland Rice/Fred Russell sportswriting scholarship, graduating in 1997, and is a native of Philadelphia. He lives with his wife and four children in Wilton, CT, and his first book, "K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches", will be released by Doubleday on April 2, 2019.

Dave KindredDave Kindred

Dave Kindred is one of his generation’s most-decorated sportswriters. Kindred and Frank Deford are the only writers who have won all three of sports journalism's highest honors: The Red Smith Award; The Dan Jenkins Medal, and the ESPN/Pen America Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literary Sportswriting. A member of the National Sports Media and U.S. Basketball Writers halls of fame, Kindred has been a columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The National Sports Daily, Sporting News, and Golf Digest. He has been an adjunct professor at Bradley University and his alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan University. Kindred's long-time admiration of Muhammad Ali and his tolerance of Howard Cosell's posturings provided the narrative threads for Sound and Fury, a dual biography of those one-and-only characters. He has done 11 other books, including Morning Miracle: Inside The Washington Post: A Great Newspaper Fights for Its Life, an insider’s account of past glory and 21st-century crises at the newspaper. He also has written 300,000 words over eight seasons on the Morton (Il.) High School girls basketball team, work which once prompted him to tell the team's webmaster, "I'm a pro, I oughta be paid something." The boss appraised Kindred's ability, experience, and good looks before saying, "How about a box of Milk Duds every game?" Kindred said, "Deal," and is now into 250 boxes of Milk Duds and counting.

Malcolm Moran Malcolm Moran

Malcolm Moran has directed sports journalism programs for nearly a decade after spending more than 30 years at The New York Times, USA TODAY and other publications.

Moran, the director of the Sports Capital Journalism Program, joined the IUPUI faculty in January, 2013. For more than six years, he was the inaugural Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Penn State University, where he directed the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. Since 1980, he has covered more than 25 bowl games with national championship stakes. He has covered 26 NCAA Final Fours, 11 Super Bowls, 16 World Series and three Olympic Games.

He is a member of the board of the Football Writers Association of America and has had several stories recognized in the organization’s best writing contest. Moran is a past president of the United States Basketball Writers Association and a member of the organization’s Hall of Fame. In 2007, he received the Curt Gowdy Print Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for lifetime coverage of basketball.

Pedro MouraPedro Moura

Pedro Moura is a senior MLB writer for The Athletic covering the Dodgers, where he writes exploratory features about the personalities that fuel the team. 2019 will be his seventh season covering Major League Baseball. He previously wrote about the Dodgers and the Angels for the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times. More previously, he covered USC football for ESPN.com.

Lauren NiemieraLauren Niemiera

Lauren Niemiera, a native of Orland Park, IL, attended Bradley University from 2008-2013 where she earned BA’s in both Sports Communication and Spanish and an MA in Leadership in Human Service Administration. A four-year letter winner on the basketball team, Niemiera joined the women's golf team following the completion of the 2011-12 basketball season becoming the first two-sport athlete at Bradley since Jenny Van Kirk played basketball and golf during the 2006-07 school year.

In 2012, she was named Slane College of Communications & Fine Arts Intern of the Year after helping raise $10,000 for the Peoria Memorial Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure by establishing a golf outing in her hometown. While on the Hilltop, she paved her way in the sports industry by gaining experience as an Advertising and Events intern with the Chicago Bears, a fan engagement intern at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and a game operations/youth basketball intern with the WNBA’s Chicago Sky which led to her first full time position as the Sky’s Media & Communications Manager. She held that role for two and a half seasons and was part of the Sky’s 2014 run to the WNBA Finals and Elena Delle Donne’s 2015 MVP campaign. The most notable achievement of Niemiera’s campaign with the Sky was the publication of her first professional article in the Journal of Digital and Social Media Marketing highlighting the team’s staggering social media growth during her time as the “social media voice” of the Sky.

Niemiera left the Sky when she was recruited to join the NBA’s inaugural Referee Development Program in 2016. The program, designed to help former players transition to professional referees, required Niemiera to relocate to New York City where she worked out the league’s Manhattan office for the past two and a half years. In addition to training on-court to be an NBA/WNBA basketball official, she completed rotational work at the office contributing mainly in the departments of WNBA Basketball Operations and NBA Referee Operations. Niemiera recently graduated the program by being hired as a G League official for the 2018-19 season. She is also an NCAA certified referee and officiates in a variety of women’s basketball conferences in the Northeast including the Big East, American, A-10, MAAC, Ivy, America East, Northeast and Patriot leagues. With aspirations to become an NBA official within the next five years, Niemiera is working to join an elite group. To date, there have only been three females who have been hired full-time to officiate in the NBA.

Chris ReynoldsChris Reynolds

Chris Reynolds was named Bradley University’s 10th Director of Athletics March 17, 2015 and was elevated to the position of Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics in 2018.

Reynolds brings more than 20 years of distinguished experience to his position on the Hilltop and since his arrival at Bradley, he has overseen significant progress in multiple areas within the Department of Athletics. The positive momentum generated by the Department during the past three years has been marked by record-breaking achievements and a resurgence academically, athletically and in the community.

On a national level, Reynolds serves as a member of the NCAA Division I Basketball Competition Committee and he has been appointed to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee for a five-year term to begin Sept. 1, 2018.

In 2016, a total of 252 golfers attended the Braves Club Golf Classic (in Peoria) and the Chicagoland Golf Outing, generating a one-year revenue increase of nearly 38 percent from the previous year.

Prior to Bradley, Reynolds served in the position of Deputy Director of Athletics for Operations and Administration at Northwestern University and supervised all facets of planning, design and construction of athletic capital facilities projects, including the management and oversight of the $260-million Lakefront Athletics Complex and was actively involved with the development staff in securing funding toward the completion of this project. He also oversaw the comprehensive renovation of the Rocky Miller Park Baseball Complex. In October of 2014, Reynolds managed to completion the $8.5 million renovation of the recreation facility which is used for intramurals, club sports and the Northwestern student body.

In 2014, Reynolds hired and provided oversight for the first-ever staff member whose responsibility was to manage and enhance Northwestern Athletics’ Fan Experience; with particular emphasis on football and basketball. In the spring of 2013, Reynolds served an integral role in the search process that culminated in the hiring of the men’s basketball head coach.

Prior to arriving at Northwestern, Reynolds spent nine years at Indiana University in a variety of senior-level roles, serving in the position of Associate Athletic Director beginning in 2003 and was subsequently promoted to Senior Associate Athletic Director beginning with the 2004 academic year.

While at Indiana University, Reynolds managed human resources, media relations and negotiated the change from Nike to Adidas, which more than doubled the amount of dollars and merchandise to the department. He also served as sport administrator for the following programs: football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and nine other Olympic sport programs during various times. During his time at Indiana, Reynolds served as an adjunct professor, teaching courses in marketing, sports law, NCAA compliance and sports & higher education.

Prior to joining the staff at Indiana University, Reynolds served as an Assistant Athletic Director at the University of Notre Dame in its Compliance Office. He provided rules education to all of Notre Dame’s coaches, staff, student-athletes and the campus community, as well as educating the South Bend, IN community and Notre Dame booster groups of NCAA rules and regulations.

Beginning his intercollegiate athletics career as an intern at the NCAA national office, Reynolds went on to serve Michigan State University as an Assistant Compliance Coordinator. He then moved to Western Michigan University, where he served in a variety of roles, including the position of Assistant Athletic Director.

Reynolds attended Indiana University and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1993, a law degree in 1996 and a Ph.D. in 2012. As an undergraduate student, he was a four-year letterwinner in basketball and team captain in his senior year. Reynolds helped lead IU to Big Ten titles in 1991 and 1993, as well as the 1992 Final Four. Reynolds and his wife, Katrina, have two children, Joshua (14) and Olivia (11).

Pedro MouraDr. Ryan Rogers

Ryan Rogers, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Butler University where he teaches undergraduate courses in sports media and media production. He holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame, an MA from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His professional experience includes: FOX Sports, ESPN, and the NFL Network

Chris RussoChris "Mad Dog" Russo

Renowned sports talk personality Chris "Mad Dog" Russo joined SiriusXM in 2008 to headline the exclusive all-sports talk channel Mad Dog Sports Radio.

Russo hosts the channel’s anchor program, "Mad Dog Unleashed," live from SiriusXM’s New York studios every weekday afternoon from 3:00 to 6:00pm ET. The exclusive show features Russo’s take on the biggest sports stories from around the country and interviews with some of the most intriguing people in sports.

In 2014, Russo joined MLB Network to host his first TV-based baseball talk show, High Heat with Christopher Russo, which launched on Opening Day.

High Heat features Russo's signature energetic delivery and passionate opinions on all 30 MLB clubs, plus interviews with players, club personnel, baseball writers and broadcasters.

Known for having helped popularize the sports talk radio format across the country, Russo is a fan favorite for his feisty, unflinchingly candid approach to talking sports and the unrestrained, rapid-fire delivery earned him the nickname "Mad Dog." He joined SiriusXM after nearly 20 years on New York radio where he represented one half of the hugely popular Mike and the Mad Dog radio show.

He is the author of two books: The Mad Dog 100: The Greatest Sports Arguments Of All Time and, most recently, The Mad Dog Hall of Fame: The Ultimate Top-Ten Rankings of The Best In Sports. Follow Chris on Twitter @MadDogUnleashed.

Susan SlusserSusan Slusser

Susan Slusser has worked at the San Francisco Chronicle since 1996 and became the Oakland A's beat writer in 1999. She has been a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America since 1993, serving as president from 2012 to 2013. She has covered 10 American League championship series and five World Series, along with covering the A's two Opening Day series in Tokyo and Dallas Braden's perfect game on Mother's Day 2010. She has written about many other sports for the paper, particularly hockey and even curling.

Susan previously covered the Texas Rangers for the Dallas Morning News, the Orlando Magic for the Orlando Sentinel, and the NBA and other sports for the Sacramento Bee.

Susan is also an on-air correspondent for the MLB Network and Fox Sports 1 as well as an insider for 95.7 FM The Game. She has a book about the Oakland A's coming out in May: 100 Things A's Fans Need to Know and Do Before They Die.

Jennifer Lynne WilliamsJennifer Lynne Williams

On October 4, 2017, Jennifer Lynne Williams was elevated to interim Athletic Director at Alabama State University (ASU). Previously, she served as the Deputy Athletic Director for the Hornets for the 2016-17 academic year.

Williams brings more than a decade of experience in athletics administration to Alabama State; and has experienced a tremendous amount of success in her first two years in Montgomery. Under the guidance of Williams, Alabama State captured its fifth consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Commissioner’s Cup by winning eight conference championships. The Hornets’ program also captured five regular season conference (or divisional) championships, and had three teams finish as conference runner-up and another finish in the top four in postseason tournaments.

Not only did Alabama State shine on the field, but it did in the classroom as well, as every team reached the threshold to be eligible for postseason play according to the NCAA APR results. Two of the teams scored a perfect 1000 — women's cross country and bowling — and three others scored 990 or better. The success continued off the field for the Hornets as student-athletes, coaches and staff embraced Williams’ motto of ‘committing to connect’, with many serving actively in the community and presenting nationally in their respective areas.

At ASU, Williams serves on the President’s executive leadership team and manages the day-to-day operations of Hornet Athletics. Williams has direct oversight of the Hornet Club, the official fundraising arm of ASU Athletics, and serves as the sport administrator for football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball.

Williams comes to Alabama State after spending four years as the Associate Athletic Director for Development and Executive Director of the Aggie Athletic Foundation at North Carolina A&T State University. Williams oversaw all giving initiatives for athletics, establishing and implementing aggressive fundraising programs, while overseeing the athletics marketing department. She was also the liaison between IMG Sports Properties.

During her time in Aggieland, Williams raised more than $4 million dollars in private revenue, while doubling the number of donors to athletics. In 2014, the Aggie Athletic Foundation was recognized as a model booster organization by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Prior to arriving at NC A&T State University, Williams worked at DePaul University as the Assistant Director of Development for Athletics (2009-12). Here, she was responsible for advancing DePaul’s Athletic fundraising and alumni relationship efforts, increasing annual giving, and producing high level communication pieces for athletic events and fundraising initiatives.

Williams worked in development and marketing for Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators) and volunteered with the Seahawk Club at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington (2008-09). She began her career in athletic development at North Carolina Central University in 2005.

A four-year letterman and two-year captain in women's basketball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Williams began her professional career as a reporter for the Tar Heel Sports Network and a production assistant for Fox Sports South. The Detroit, Mich. native earned her bachelor's degree as a double major in Journalism and African-American history at North Carolina, and a Master's degree in athletic administration from North Carolina Central, where she graduated magna cum laude.

Williams was recently appointed to the NCAA Division I Council, serving on the Football Oversight Committee as part of her council duties; and is in her second year as an Executive Committee Member of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD), an organization which enhances the athletics development and fund raising profession by providing educational, ethical and networking support.

Because of her commitment and service to the industry, Williams was named to North Carolina Central's 40 under 40 Class of 2016 honorees, recognizing young NCCU alumni who have made significant contributions in the arts, entertainment, healthcare, sciences, education, law, business, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, public service, or government.

Williams currently resides in Montgomery, AL with her husband, Valdez, and daughter, Harper Lynne.

Erica Zonder Erica Zonder

Erica Zonder is an Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Eastern Michigan University. She is a graduate of University of Michigan Law School and earned a Master of Science in Sport Management from Eastern Michigan. Her research interests include Title IX, employment law, and college athletics. Her work has been published in Sport Litigation Alert, Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, and Global Sport Business Journal and she has presented at numerous national and international conferences. She is co-chair of the Title IX Education, Prevention, and Advocacy Committee at Eastern Michigan, and is actively involved with the Sport and Recreation Law Association and the North American Society for Sport Sociology. Zonder's interest in sport is not purely academic as she was captain of the University of Michigan women’s golf team and won the 1991 Michigan Women's Amateur.

Christopher Robert ZorichChristopher Robert Zorich

Christopher Zorich was named the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Chicago State University (CSU) in May of 2018. CSU has 14 Division I athletic programs with 200 student-athletes, competing in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).

Chris hit the ground running at CSU, by his third day on the job he was interviewing coaches for both the men’s and women’s head basketball coaching positions, eventually hiring Lance Irvin – a tireless recruiter with over 15 years of Division I experience and Misty Opat – a true leader with 4 NJCAA National Championships. With his “servant leader” philosophy of leadership, Chris was tasked to implement his vision and create a winning culture for CSU’s Athletics Department. In the short time Chris has been at CSU, the volleyball program has seen record attendance, several student-athletes have achieved All-WAC honors – one achieving a Top 5 NCAA ranking, CSU secured the bid for the 2020-2021 WAC Tennis Championship – making it the first time CSU has ever hosted a WAC Championship, CSU will also have its first ever Sports Nutritionist who will oversee the Athletic Department’s fueling station – providing supplements, healthy snacks and nutritional education allowing the student-athletes to reach peak performance.

Before Chris came to CSU, he spent three years as the Director of Athletics at Prairie State College (PSC), a community college 30 miles outside of Chicago. At PSC, Chris was responsible for all executive duties, leadership and the direct supervision of all 10 NJCAA sponsored athletic programs. Chris also worked with the Faculty Senate, College Deans and administrators to restructure the academic services infrastructure for all 125 student-athletes to improve overall academic success. Understanding his desire to work outside the silo of athletics, PSC appointed him as one of three Title IX & Sexual Misconduct Investigators for the College. While representing PSC at various local and national events, he still managed to lead the athletic department to success on and off the field with 42 all-conference student-athletes, 25 all-conference academic award recipients, 5 conference coaches of the year, a regional coach of the year and a #11 year-end national ranking for the men’s tennis team. Under Chris’ tutelage, PSC Athletics saw their number of student-athlete transferring to Division I institutions increase by 150%, as well as the softball team having its best season in program history with 40 wins; leaving them one game shy of the 2018 NJCAA World Series.

Chris’ passion for athletic administration began in 2008, when then Notre Dame Athletics Director, Kevin White, offered him a position on his staff as the Manager of Student Welfare & Development. In this role, Chris worked in various departments and was responsible for directing the University’s multimillion-dollar summer sports camps, along with developing and implementing life skills programs for the University’s 700+ student-athletes. Chris successfully handled special projects for the Office of the Provost and the senior staff of the Athletic Department in the areas of reviewing contracts, liaising with Bowl Game officials, representing the University at national and international events. However, Chris’ favorite job at Notre Dame was his involvement with scheduling and working on the game contracts for Notre Dame’s football program. Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s current Athletics Director, gave Chris the responsibility of leading the weekly Football Scheduling Committee meetings with senior staff members and managing the football contract process from initial concept through execution. Chris created and successfully implemented a process that identified potential opponents as well as negotiated “guarantee games” with administrators from other institutions.

Working for the Notre Dame Athletics Department was not Chris' first experience with the University of Notre Dame. Chris received a football scholarship from Hall of Fame Coach Lou Holtz and made history as part of Notre Dame football’s all-time winning streak with 23 consecutive wins. As a starter for Notre Dame, he compiled an impressive 33-4 record. Of those 37 games, his team went into 21 of those games ranked #1 in the nation. Chris was also instrumental in helping Notre Dame win the National Championship in 1988. He was elected captain of the Fighting Irish football team his senior year, by which time he had also been dubbed “the meanest player in college football” by Sports Illustrated. He won numerous collegiate awards, including consecutive consensus and unanimous All-American titles (1989 and 1990).

Following his 1991 graduation from Notre Dame, Chris was drafted by Hall of Fame Coach Mike Ditka and the Chicago Bears football team. On the starting lineup, Chris averaged 100+ tackles per season, placing him among the league's best defensive linemen. Recognized for his fierce commitment on and off the playing field, Chris received a score of athletic awards – selection as an alternate for the 1993 Pro Bowl, the 10th Anniversary "All-Madden Team," two-time NFL Man of the Year Finalist, just to name a few.

In 1993, The Christopher Zorich Foundation was established to honor Chris’ mother, Zora Zorich, who passed away during his senior year at Notre Dame. The Foundation’s programs offered diverse community support: youth programs, a holiday gift program, educational and entertainment activities; Thanksgiving grocery home deliveries to 1,500+ Chicagoans. In its 15 years of service, these combined programs have assisted over 150,000 individuals. Because of his unyielding commitment to his community Chris has received numerous community services awards including personally receiving the Jesse Owens Foundation's “Humanitarian Award” from the family of the late Olympic great Jesse Owens, as well as receiving Muhammad Ali's limited commission "Humanitarian Award," from Ali himself.

When Chris retired from the NFL, he attended Notre Dame Law School in order to further his ability to help those in need. While at Notre Dame Law School, he served clients at the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic, a non-profit organization designed to provide free legal assistance to those with minimal resources. After graduation from law school, he worked in the legal field for several years and served as a board member for a variety of civic boards including the Joffrey Ballet, Urban Prep Academies and Chicago Public Library.

In 2007, Chris was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, as one of the best defensive linemen to have ever played the collegiate game. After his induction, he was asked to serve as a Trustee for the National Football Foundation’s Hall of Fame Board. The Board’s mission is to enhance the game of college football by increasing its nationwide presence, improving safety and to help shape the policies and procedures for the future of the game.

A year later, Chris was appointed to The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, an organization that advocates to influence and reform various issues plaguing college sports (e.g., recruiting practices, gender equity, and academic eligibility). Several of the Commission’s recommendations have been adopted by the NCAA. The Commission is comprised of university presidents and devoted educators.

Chris has a wide-range of collegiate administration experience as well, with two board memberships, one at Lewis University – an NCAA Division II school with over 5,400 students and a "Best Colleges" ranking by U.S. News & World Report; and the other at The Illinois College of Optometry – the oldest optometry school in the country with over 130 externships worldwide.

Chris has even received honorary degrees from East West University, St. Xavier University, and Governors State University.

Chris is a devoted reader with an extensive collection of over 2,500 books. He even wrote the forward for Greatest Moments in Notre Dame Football History, a book chronicling the history of Notre Dame football. Chris is also an avid motorcycle rider and a 2006 graduate of Chopper College, which enabled him to build his own custom chopper motorcycle. Chris currently lives in Chicago, Illinois with his wife Candace, step-daughter Kylie and two rescued Rottweilers, Athena and Icy. Chris was born on March 13, 1969.