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A Seat at the Table and Making HERstory: Celebrating the Impact of Black Women in Sports for Women’s History Month


Women have always played a vital role in shaping history, yet their accomplishments are frequently overlooked or erased. As we celebrate Women's History Month, we honor the courageous and brilliant women who have propelled our society toward a more equal union, especially in the realm of sports. As your new Sports Editor, it feels fitting that my inaugural article coincides with Women's History Month. There's nothing more fulfilling than spotlighting the women who shattered glass ceilings in the world of sports. Thanks to these women, I am a professional in the sports industry, having managed athletes, collaborated with professional teams, orchestrated events for the Final Four Men's Basketball Tournament and NCAA College Football National Championship, and contributed to the success of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), a top athletic conference in Division II.

While sports are often associated with men, it is becoming increasingly prominent to find that more and more breakthroughs are driven by women. Shirley Chisholm said, “If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” Not only did some pull up a chair, but many also now sit on sport thrones!

Black women, in particular, have left an indelible mark both on the playing field and in the boardroom that will influence the world. Over the past few years, their success, presence, accomplishments, and influence have experienced a significant surge. Consider Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles), a top NFL quarterback, whose success in the boardroom was shaped by a woman negotiating his contract, a black woman, Nicole Lynn. Lynn, armed with degrees in Sports Marketing and Law, negotiated a record-breaking $255 million contract extension for Jalen Hurts, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL at that time. In today's sports landscape, having a Black woman in your corner is a recipe for success. Despite constituting a small percentage in the business of sports, this underrepresented group often serves as an essential force behind the scenes within the space.

Over the past five years, groundbreaking achievements have been made by Black women in sports. Cynthia Marshall became the first Black woman CEO in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks, Sandra Douglass Morgan became the first Black woman president of an NFL team with the Las Vegas Raiders, and agent Nicole Lynn became the first Black woman to represent an NFL draft pick and now serves as president of football operations for KLUTCH Sports Group. KLUTCH Sports Group represents some of the world's most prominent athletes across major professional sports. Furthermore, Sandra Douglass Morgan holds the distinction of being the first Black woman to serve as vice chair of the Super Bowl host committee. We salute these women!

The A.M.E. Zion church also has its own starting line-up connection with women in sports. Some of our all-star lineup includes:

Sharonda Sampson-Anderson, a standout Track and Field athlete at Livingstone College, was recently honored for her achievements as part of the All-American 4x400 relay team, leading to her induction into the Livingstone College Athletic Hall of Fame last fall. Notably, Sampson-Anderson is also the mother of NBA star Zion Williamson. During Zion's youth leagues on the AAU circuit, she served as his coach, providing valuable trial-by-fire experience against older competitors. She also coached him at Johnakin Middle School in Marion, SC, where she led the team to an impressive 8-1 record and a conference title.

With almost 25 years of experience, Dr. Angelyne Brown has served as an athletic director and head women's basketball coach. Currently, she holds the position of Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success at Clinton College. Dr. Brown boasts a remarkable coaching record, winning nearly 80% of her games during a successful tenure at Clark Atlanta University (CAU). She later coached at the NCAA Division I level, including a stint at Morgan State University and then at Division II, Livingstone College. Notably, during her eight years at CAU, she led the team to victory in the 1999 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) tournament championship. Dr. Brown is the daughter of retired Bishop Warren Matthew Brown.

Tiffani-Dawn Sykes assumed the role of Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Florida A&M University on January 4, 2023. Her appointment coincided with the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Notably, she is the first woman to hold this position for all sports since the program's inception in 1899. In December, Sykes made history as the first female director of athletics to win the Cricket Celebration. The Cricket Celebration Bowl is a postseason college football game that showcases the conference champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Managed by ESPN Events, its mission is to offer schools, alumni, fans, and sponsors a top-tier bowl experience while perpetuating the celebration of the heritage, legacy, pageantry, and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Additionally, she is the daughter of Rev. Dr. Sandi B Hutchinson, Co-Episcopal Director for Christian Education for the Mid-Atlantic and Pastor of Gabriel Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church (Chesapeake, VA). Proudly, she's also my sister.

Last summer, Jaia Thomas, CEO of Diverse Representation, introduced National Black Women in Sports Day on July 7 annually. This day celebrates the significant contributions of Black women in sports, including athletes, agents, coaches, sport administrators, and sport professionals. Establishing a dedicated day offers vital exposure for young Black girls, potentially inspiring them to pursue careers in sports. Additionally, the 5th Annual Sports Power Brunch, presented by Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, took place last month in Las Vegas during Super Bowl Week. Created by LaTonya Story, CEO and Founder of LPS Consulting PR, this memorable event celebrates the most powerful women in sports and empowers women to thrive in the sports industry and beyond. This month we salute and celebrate the impact of black women in sports for Women’s History Month!

Women's History Month, A Seat at the Table, Making HERstory, Celebrating, Sports


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