Jamie Adams came to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics as an intern in July 2009. Nearly nine years later, Adams is leaving NAIA after rising to associate director of championship events—a role she established herself as one of the most respected members of the sports tourism community. Her first industry event as a full-time professional was the inaugural Connect Sports in Louisville, Kentucky. Now, it will be hard to imagine the event, let alone NAIA, without her.
While a bittersweet decision, Adams says accepting the role of assistant athletic director at College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska, accomplishes her longtime goal of working directly with student-athletes and college coaches. Fittingly, College of Saint Mary is a member of NAIA—meaning Adams won’t be completely removed from the organization she’s planned championships for five sports: volleyball, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming and diving and softball. Connect Sports caught up with Adams as she prepared for the big career change.
What will your position involve at College of Saint Mary?
My initial roles will center around student-athlete welfare, including eligibility, the Champions of Character program, Student-Athlete Leadership Committee, game day operations and being a sounding board for both student-athletes and coaches.
Why make the move from NAIA after more than eight years?
It has always been my goal to get onto a campus and work more closely with student-athletes and coaches. I have enjoyed running events for the NAIA so much that it has taken me almost nine years to decide to take that next step. I hope to be able to use the knowledge that I have learned in this role as an asset to my new position.
What do you attribute to your rise from intern to an esteemed position within NAIA and the sports tourism industry?
I attribute my progression from an intern to my current title to a willingness to learn and take on new responsibilities. I have always been eager to learn new skills and hopefully put them to work to make my events—and my life—better.
You’ve organized so many events. Do any standout with some memorable stories or challenges you overcame (or maybe didn’t go so well as you wished)?
I have been surprised that I went from having almost no knowledge of the sport of swimming and diving, to really, really looking forward to the event every year. All of my best stories are from when things completely fell apart, which I won’t share now, but if anyone is ever in Omaha, look me up and I’ll be happy to share the stories!
What are you most proud of at NAIA?
Every time I completed an event, I was able to watch the awards presentation and realize that I helped create a moment like that for the participants. It’s such a good feeling, and one I got to experience many, many times.
What’s next for NAIA? Where does the organization stand as you move on?
The association is in a great place right now! Our championships team is full of extremely talented people. My specific duties will be handled with no problem and the department will continue to produce fantastic events!