After working at the University of Miami since 2012, Jennifer Strawley began her new role as Elon University’s director of athletics on Aug. 1. Strawley is Elon’s 20th director of athletics, filling the role after Dave Blank stepped down at the end of the 2022-23 academic year.
Prior to Elon, Strawley was the senior deputy director of athletics at the University of Miami. Strawley has also served on the board of directors for Women’s Leaders in College Sports and currently serves on the board of directors for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
“Ultimately, what drives me is the student athlete experience,” Strawley said. “That's why I get up and get out of bed every day, is to be able to provide a transformative student athlete experience where students can excel academically and athletically and really prepare them for a lifetime of opportunity beyond their days here.”
Strawley has over two decades of experience in student athletics throughout her career with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Atlantic Coast Conference, Columbia University and University of Miami, as well as her time as a student athlete as the captain of University of Pennsylvania’s softball team. Strawley said that her diverse experience within college athletics on both a university and national level have built the foundation for her experience at Elon.
While Strawley was the senior deputy director of athletics at Miami, she served as the sport administrator for football, women’s soccer and women’s basketball. In 2021, Strawley was honored by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association as their administrator of the year. Strawley’s colleague and Miami’s Head Coach of Women’s Basketball Katie Meier has known Strawley since she started working at Miami.
“Jenn’s passion for and dedication to the University of Miami athletic department shined through in everything she did,” Meier wrote to Elon News Network. “As the women’s basketball administrator, Jenn served as a voice in the room for my team when I was not there and was a strong advocate for equity in athletics. We will miss Jenn in Coral Gables but know she will be extremely successful at Elon and lead the department to new heights.”
Strawley said she has felt welcomed by the Elon community and was initially drawn to the university due to its community values and initiatives.
“As I began to look at Elon, it became very clear how special a place Elon is,” Strawley said. “There's this ability to be bold and innovative in what you want to do, but yet be grounded in who you are at the same time.”
Strawley said her goals for this upcoming year are to engage with the students and learn about Elon’s community, so she can continue to build the department.
“Everything we do, though, will be centered on some foundational principles, which will focus on the student athlete being the center of every decision we make and we will continue to excel academically and set the standard for academic excellence in the CAA,” Strawley said. “We're going to be competitively excellent and we want to position our teams to contend for CAA championships and to be successful in their endeavors competitively.”
Ryan Kupperman contributed to the reporting of this story.