Contact: Geoff Kimmerly
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Sept. 14 – A pair of milestones will be celebrated by the Michigan High School Athletic Association during this year’s Women In Sports Leadership Conference, to be presented Sunday, Oct. 9, and Monday, Oct. 10 at Crowne Plaza Lansing West for 600 participants, most of them high school female student-athletes from across the state.
A theme of “Power of the Past – Force of the Future” will recall opportunities created during the 50 years since the enactment of Title IX in 1972. This also will be the 25th WISL Conference, which remains the first, largest and longest-running program of its type in the country.
This year’s edition again will feature three keynote speakers and a variety of workshops. The opening address will be delivered by Ashley Baker, who serves as the chief diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) officer at Michigan State University. Baker, originally from Pontiac, earned bachelor and master’s degrees from Bowling Green State University and a doctorate in sport management and policy from the University of Georgia. She came to MSU in December 2020 from Xavier University (Louisiana) where she most recently had served as assistant vice president for student affairs and chief inclusion officer/deputy Title IX coordinator.
First-year Spartans softball coach Sharonda McDonald-Kelley will speak during the Oct. 9 evening general session. She coached Campbell University (N.C.) to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and was a four-time all-Big 12 selection as a player at Texas A&M, appearing in the College World Series before playing professionally for seven years. McDonald-Kelley was named Big South Conference Coach of the Year in 2021, and previously also coached professionally and as associate head coach at Texas Tech University after serving as an assistant for multiple prestigious college programs.
University of Michigan women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes-Arico will speak during the morning session Oct. 10. She led the Wolverines last season to their first NCAA Tournament Elite Eight and is nearing 500 career victories, having won a U-M program-record 218 during her 10 seasons. She’s a two-time Big Ten Conference Coach of Year and was a semifinalist this past season for the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year honor. Michigan is her fifth college coaching stop; she came to Ann Arbor after 10 seasons at St. John’s. She played basketball one season at Stony Brook University (N.Y.) and then her final three including two as captain at Montclair State University (N.J.).
Workshops offered during the WISL Conference include topics on coaching, teaching and learning leadership; sports nutrition and performance, and injury prevention; and empowerment and goal-setting. Presenters are accomplished in their fields and represent a wide range of backgrounds in sport.
A complete itinerary is available on the MHSAA Website at https://www.mhsaa.com/about/women-sports-leadership.
The Oct. 9 evening general session also will include recognition for the 2022 Women In Sports Leadership Award winner – recently-retired Livonia Stevenson athletic director Lori Hyman. A basketball standout at MSU during the second half of the 1970s, Hyman went on to coach college basketball for 17 years and then serve as a highly-regarded athletic director for 27 years including the last 22 at her alma mater Stevenson.
Follow the #WISL hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to learn more about the conference’s activities.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.