Lourdes’ Janet Eaton-Smith Receives 2023 Nike NAIA Executive of the Year Award
Women Leaders in College Sports (Women Leaders) has proudly recognized Janet Eaton-Smith, Vice President of Athletics at Lourdes University, as the 2023 Nike NAIA Executive of the Year during the Women Leaders National Convention held in New Orleans from October 8-10, 2023. This prestigious accolade is a testament to her outstanding contributions to the field of intercollegiate athletics.
Dr. Bill Bisset, President of Lourdes University, expressed his elation, stating, “The entire Lourdes University Community congratulates Janet on being named the 2023 NAIA Nike Executive of the Year at the Women Leaders National Convention (WLNC). As VP for Athletics at Lourdes, Janet’s contribution and commitment to diversity and gender equity in college athletics has made our athletics program an example for other National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) colleges and universities to follow. I am so pleased the WLNC has recognized Janet’s accomplishments and service to the field of intercollegiate athletics throughout her career as a student athlete, a coach, and an administrator through this well-deserved award.”
Women Leaders in College Sports is dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in sports, acknowledging their significant contributions. The recipients were nominated by their peers and selected by the Women Leaders Awards Committee for their exceptional service during 2022-2023.
The Nike Executive of the Year Awards, previously known as the Administrator of the Year Awards, are presented to Women Leaders in College Sports members for remarkable contributions as senior-level executives in intercollegiate athletics. This award recognizes administrative excellence in various divisions, including NCAA Division I, FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA/NJCAA/Community College, and Conference/Organization. The criteria for nomination include active membership in Women Leaders in College Sports, full-time employment as a senior-level athletics executive, commitment to diversity and gender equity, dedication to promoting excellence in intercollegiate athletics, professional development, mentoring of athletics administrative staff, leadership in promoting women’s athletics, and a commitment to the education and welfare of student-athletes.
Janet Eaton-Smith joins a distinguished group of honorees for the 2023 Nike Executive of the Year Awards:
- NCAA Division I FBS Nike Executive of the Year: Julie Cromer, Director of Athletics, Ohio University
- NCAA Division I FCS Nike Executive of the Year: Lisa Archbald, Associate Commissioner for Compliance and Governance/SWA, Northeast Conference
- NCAA Division I Nike Executive of the Year: Amanda Braun, Director of Athletics, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
- NCAA Division II Nike Executive of the Year: Jennifer Bell, Director of Athletics, Converse University
- NCAA Division III Nike Executive of the Year: Kristin Hughes, Director of Athletics, Smith College
- Association/Organization Nike Executive of the Year: DeeDee Merritt, Director of Leadership Development, NCAA
- Nell Jackson Nike Executive of the Year: Marchelle “Cricket” Lane, Senior Associate Athletic Director, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports, commended the recipients, saying, “We are thrilled to celebrate this group of outstanding women who are blazing trails in the sports industry. These women are the definition of leaders and innovators.”
Scenes from the 2023 Women Leaders in College Sports National Convention held October 8-10, 2023: