Tamica Smith Jones is the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics (AD) for the University of California, Riverside. In her first year leading the Highlanders, they won the 2016 Big West Conference Championships in Women's Golf, Men's Golf, had a member of Men’s Golf participate in NCAA Nationals, earned the program's first individual national champion in its Division I era, and had their best finish ever in the Big West Conference Commissioner's Cup standings. In addition, Women’s Basketball went undefeated in Conference play, finishing first in the regular season standings.
Since AD Smith Jones has been at the helm of the Highlanders’ Athletics Department, her focus has centered on building a culture for champions and guiding the rising Division I program in the Big West Conference with a renewed sense of purpose and energy. As a result, the Highlanders have won seven individual Big West Championships, a first-ever national championship in the weight throw, the 2018 Big West Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament Championship, and a first-ever appearance in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament/Men’s College Cup.
Under the direction of AD Smith Jones, the Highlanders are leading the way on a wide range of strategic initiatives and important issues impacting today’s student-athlete, which include an increased focus on mental health and wellness with the Sports Medicine team connecting campus resources and external experts and complementary leadership training to navigate a successful professional life after sport. The increased collaborations with campus partners enabled Athletics to provide more immediate educational and emotional support for its student-athletes. And, in 2018, Athletics began providing additional nutritional support through its R’ Fueling Station program (to provide healthy foods and snacks) and entered into a partnership with a local nutritionist to work closely with its Strength and Conditioning program.
Instrumental in building a great network, bridging connections, identifying and recruiting tier-one talent to help provide new engagements and experiences for Highlanders, AD Smith Jones has led UCR Athletics toward notable growth and advancement, establishing five key priorities for Athletics which include:
Focus on the mission of developing student-athletes and providing life opportunities through sport, winning in the classroom and in competition, and working together to find solutions to all challenges facing Athletics.
Prior to her arrival at UC Riverside, Smith Jones served as Senior Associate AD for Internal Affairs and Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) at the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA). Previous to her tenure with UTSA, she served as Athletics Director for Clark Atlanta University (Division II), leading the Panthers to seven Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Championships, including the first men’s basketball title in 46 years and first-ever women’s cross country and volleyball crowns.
A leading voice on women in sports and minority coaches, AD Smith Jones serves on multiple NCAA working groups on these important issues, which include Women Leaders in College Sports Board of Directors. She also serves on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Committee. In 2017, she was named the Women Leaders in College Sports Division I Administrator of the Year, awarded the 61st Assembly District Woman of Distinction Award by California State Assembly member, Jose Medina, and recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles.
Source: UC Riverside Athletics
I really take my hat off to our coaches in continuing to be competitive in our dynamic for recruiting during COVID. @UCR_Athletics @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
I do believe that professional sports will drive us. They have the resources. They have the public eye of scrutiny already so they will be careful in their judgement. They will be heavily weighing on our decision because we have a different stakeholder group of young people. @UCR_Athletics @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
The best results that we can get right now is taking care of ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally. Staying home and staying safe during this period of time. @UCR_Athletics @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
“We will get through this. We will get through it together. The priorities that have been set here at UC Riverside is being safe and healthy. @UCR_Athletics @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
We’re trying to stay focused on health and safety. Keeping our students, athletes and staff in the best positions that we can be in. @UCR_Athletics @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Our student athletes are our priority. @UCR_Athletics @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
We’re focused on not necessarily best practices but next practices. @UCR_Athletics @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
We’re working on scenario plans for a return to campus, scenarios for returning to practice and scenarios for returning to play. Those will be phased in. @UCR_Athletics @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Our student athletes have continued to thrive in remote learning and maintained a 3.0 GPA. That’s commendable. @UCR_Athletics @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
We’ve shipped equipment to student athletes for them to have what they need and continue to work out and stay in shape. @UCR_Athletics @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit