The NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, in conjunction with the Office Of Inclusion, is set to recognize Tommy Amaker, along with four others, as Champions of Diversity and Inclusion for his work in supporting ethnic minorities and other underrepresented groups and individuals.
The honor was created in 2015 to recognize those who have a commitment to advocating for and advancing others in inclusive efforts around athletics. Generally, the one individual is honored quarterly, but with the social injustice and inequities seen throughout 2020, the MOIC and office of inclusion chose to honor multiple people.
I consider myself a teacher first. I have a responsibility to see my players not just as athletes but as future leaders, as well, so if I’m doing my job, they’re going to be developing and learning and growing beyond the 94 x 50,” Amaker said. “At Harvard, we have built a program and an environment for players, coaches, and staff that values diversity of experience and perspective, and creates safe spaces for all of us to learn and grow together. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that creating those conditions and making space for that conversation is more important than ever.”
Joining Amaker, The Thomas G. Stemberg ‘71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men’s Basketball, The James Herscot ‘58 Coach of Excellence, on the honorees list is Jen Fry (community supporter, JenFryTalks), Allen Greene (Auburn athletics director), Jacqie McWilliams (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association commissioner) and John Nicklow (New Orleans president).
“As we move through this challenging time in our country’s history, the committee wanted to recognize five people who lead from different seats within and around college athletics,” said Dena Freeman-Patton, chair of the MOIC and deputy athletics director/chief operating officer at New Orleans. “They have been champions for diversity and inclusion throughout their careers and continue to do what is right in 2021. They have been inspirations to our student-athletes and administrators in athletics, and they play a big part in molding our industry and our country. MOIC applauds them for their intentions and bravery in such unprecedented times. Leading with conviction and courage moves us all to a better place in athletics and certainly as we look to the future.”
The Champions of Diversity and Inclusion will be formally recognized at the 2021 Inclusion Forum, which will be held virtually June 2-4. MOIC and the NCAA will recognize additional Champions of Diversity and Inclusion later this spring.