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Alumnae Appointed University Athletic Directors

Etienne Thomas
Jennifer Lynne Williams

Two North Carolina Central University alumnae have been appointed to top positions in NCAA athletics. In a traditionally male-dominated industry, these Eagles are taking authority. 

Etienne Thomas, ’96, serves as director of athletics for Kentucky State University. Prior to her appointment, Thomas served as associate athletics director for student life at Kansas University. She was named to this position on July 20, 2018.

She previously served as North Carolina Central University’s associate athletic director for internal operations and Senior Woman Administrator (SWA). Thomas has also served in various leadership athletic roles at San Jose State University, Howard University, Saint Pauls College and University of Iowa.

In addition to her extensive experience in athletic compliance, Thomas’ many professional activities include memberships in the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators; Black Coaches Association; National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics; National Association of Athletics Compliance Coordinators; and the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletes.

Thomas also served as an administrator at the 2004 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Student-Athlete Leadership Conference. In 2006, she completed the organization’s 18-month fellow program.

Thomas obtained a bachelor’s in political science from NCCU. She has also completed graduate studies at the University of Iowa.

Alabama State University appointed Jennifer Lynne Williams, MS '08, as director of athletics on October 10, 2018. Since 2017, Williams has served as interim director. Previously, she served as the deputy athletic director the university.

Williams also worked as associate athletic director for North Carolina A&T State University’s (NC A&T) Office of Development and executive director of the Aggie Athletic Foundation. During her time at NC A&T, Williams raised more than $4 million dollars in private revenue and also increased athletic donors. Under her leadership, the Aggie Athletic Foundation was recognized as a model booster organization by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Williams has served in additional roles at DePaul University and the Women Leaders in College Sports, formerly the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators.

Williams began her professional career as a reporter for the Tar Heel Sports Network and a production assistant for Fox Sports South soon after she joined NCCU’S Department of Athletics’ development team in 2005.

Williams was recently appointed to the NCAA Division I Council, serving on the Football Oversight Committee. She also serves on the National Association of Athletic Development Directors Executive Committee.

Williams obtained her master’s degree in athletic administration from NCCU. Williams also earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


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