Carla Wilson was formally introduced Monday as the director of athletics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City to a crowd of hundreds of well-wishers comprised of sports, civic and educational leaders; student athletes; and sports fans.
During the announcement event, Wilson and other speakers discussed the important role of college athletics in building leadership skills in individual student athletes, and strengthening bonds between a university and its home community.
“Our student athletes will be taught to win in three vital fields of play. They will win in the classroom; win in competition; and win in the community. When they become capable of winning consistently in all three areas, they will be prepared to win in the most important arena of all: Life,” Wilson said. “Our student athletes will mature immersed in an atmosphere of leadership and service. They will understand what it really means to win.”
Wilson is UMKC’s fourth Director of Athletics in the Division I era, the first-ever female director of athletics at UMKC and the only female athletics director in the Western Athletic Conference. She is one of the few minority women serving as an athletics director at the NCAA’s 351 Division I institutions. Currently, less than 9 percent of Division I athletics directors are women; less than 4 percent are minority women.
Wilson has held the position in an interim role for five months but has been a mainstay in the athletics department for the last 16 years, championing diversity, equality and Title IX. An active member of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, Wilson has served on several committees and as a mentor and speaker, and was the NCAA Division I NACWAA Administrator of the Year in 2012.
Wilson said UMKC student athletes will focus their community service on young people in the Kansas City community, with an emphasis on the urban core.
“Carla is a nationally-recognized leader in college athletics, and was an easy and natural choice for this position,” said Leo E. Morton, Chancellor of UMKC. “While we are promoting from within, we are also choosing the best candidate for this important position. Carla has the experience, the dedication and the vision to be an exemplary leader.”
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