Photo of Janet Eaton-Smith the Vice President for Athletics and Ryan Wronkowicz Sports Information Director & Assistant Athletic Director Standing in Lourdes University gymnasium with their awards.

 

The Lourdes Athletics department had a pair of individuals recognized by the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) for their work during the 2020-21 academic year.

Janet Eaton-Smith

Vice President for Athletics Janet Eaton-Smith was named the 2020-21 Terry Bocian Athletics Director of the Year.

Married in fall 2021 to Anthony, Eaton-Smith became the first AD at Lourdes and only the second WHAC female administrator to win the Terry Bocian Athletics Director of the Year award.

In a year when it would have been easy to slow down, Eaton-Smith put her foot on the gas. While leading the department through the challenging landscape of rescheduled games and ever-changing COVID-19 protocols, she was able to stay on budget and increase fundraising by nearly $50,000. She formed new partnerships with area hotels and local businesses and secured a $10,000 grant to help with facility renovations.

As a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and Women Leaders in College Sport, Eaton-Smith continues to promote diversity. She serves on the NAIA R.I.S.E. (Respect Inclusivity Support Education) committee and was featured by the NAIA as part of the Black History Month celebration. Eaton-Smith also was highlighted in BCSN’s Black History Month series on local television.

“I want to thank everyone within the WHAC for their support throughout this abnormal year,” reflected Eaton-Smith. “This award would not be possible without the commitment of the coaches, staff, and administration at Lourdes, and I am grateful for our wonderful student-athletes and community support during my tenure at Lourdes. I am truly excited about the future here at Lourdes and look to continue to build upon our success.”

Along with respect from her peers, Eaton-Smith has also earned respect from the Lourdes campus and in the community. She was elevated to the President’s cabinet this year and was recently honored with the Brilliant Mind Award by the Lourdes University Diversity and Inclusion committee. A member of prestigious Delta Sigma Theta sorority’s Toledo chapter, Eaton also served as the keynote speaker for Toledo Epic’s “Boss Talk” series

Ryan Wronkowicz

Wronkowicz started at Lourdes in 2012, moving back to northwest Ohio after growing up in Waterville, attending Bowling Green State University and working in the same position at Valparaiso for 11 years. Wronkowicz, who just completed his ninth year at Lourdes, earned his fourth Patrick Moore-Mike Dean SID of the Year which was voted upon by his conference peers in the profession.

As a one-staff shop with 24 sports, Wronkowicz understands the value of relationships and creative problem solving. He has developed relationships with local media to further the reach of Lourdes sports and diligently works to put the Gray Wolves in the spotlight. This year, he collaborated with the University’s marketing department for a commercial that aired locally during halftime of the Super Bowl.

With the time challenges of the compacted seasons, Wronkowicz implemented a new internship program to help ramp up the social media accounts for the Gray Wolves and recruited student broadcasters to help with live streams of sporting events. He also coordinated game-day event management for home events.

Wronkowicz doesn’t just serve Lourdes, he also volunteers his time to better the conference. He is a member of the WHAC softball ratings oversight committee and was the sports information liaison to the WHAC’s COVID-19 facilities and logistics committee that planned the league’s safe return to play.

“I know I can give Ryan any task and he will run with it,” Eaton-Smith said of Wronkowicz. “Ryan is a proven leader for our staff and for the conference and his work exemplifies the values of Lourdes and the WHAC.”

At the national level, Wronkowicz is on the NAIA National Players of the Week voting committee. He actively participates in the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) mentorship program and colleagues from across all divisions rely on guidance and advice from him. He also was the official scorer for the LPGA Marathon Classic and has worked other live events on ESPN’s network of channels and CBS Sports Net

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