Working In Sports Spotlight: Ali Teopas
As part of her duties, Ali Teopas manages the Division II and Division III grant programs that helped her get a start in her athletic career.
As part of her duties, Ali Teopas manages the Division II and Division III grant programs that helped her get a start in her athletic career.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The 2018 GNAC Working In Sports Seminar will take place on Sat., Mar. 3, at the Alaska Airlines Center on the campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage. Now in its fourth year, the Working In Sports provides high school and college-aged students with an interest in a career in athletics a chance to hear from, and network with, professionals from all aspects of the athletics industry.

The seminar is limited to the first 100 registrants. To reserve your spot, visit

This Working In Sports Spotlight profiles one of this year’s featured panelists.

Name: Ali Teopas
Current Position: Assistant Director of Leadership Development, NCAA
Years In Current Position: 1

Colleges Attended & Degrees: Denison University (Ohio), University of Dayton (Undergraduate, Sports Management with Communication Minor & Graduate, Educational Leadership)

Primary Job Responsibilities: My primary job responsibilities are the Division II and Division III diversity grant programs, Learning Management Systems and the Career in Sports Forum. I also assist with the administration of the Student-Athlete Leadership Forum.

Things You Enjoy Most About Your Job: My job is pretty special since my position as assistant director has allowed me to come full circle with my professional goals. I started my career by being a recipient of the Division III Ethnic Minority and Women's Internship Grant and Strategic Alliance Matching Grant at Wittenberg University. I now get to oversee the diversity grant programs that helped me achieve my success so far in my career. In my current position, I am a part of making other individual's dreams of working in college athletics come to fruition. Simply awesome!

Why You Pursued A Professional Career In The Athletics Industry: I had a great mentor who really opened my eyes to the possibility of working in collegiate athletics. Before I met my mentor, I thought I would be working in professional sports, specifically baseball. My mentor worked at Denison University for over 44 years and showed me how she could balance the many hats that are worn while working in collegiate athletics and I fell in love with it. Athletics has provided me many opportunities to grow and be a better leader and I want to share that with others.

First Job In The Sports Industry: College student work job: Sports information student assistant. First internship: Marketing and promotions intern for the Toledo Mud Hens baseball team. First Job: Assistant athletic director, Wittenberg University.

Key Mentors Who Helped You On Your Career Path: Lynn Schweizer and Garnett Purnell

Most Influential Person In Your Early Professional Development (And Why): Lynn Schweizer. Lynn was my academic advisor as well as our Denison Student-Athlete Advisory Committee advisor. We traveled together to the Division III Student-Athlete Leadership Forum and a great mentor/mentee relationship started. She is influential because she was always there for me to ask questions or and help me navigate the world of collegiate athletics. Words can't express how valuable her mentorship/friendship means to me.

Biggest Hurdle You Overcame Breaking Into The Sports Industry: My parents were both worked in elementary education, so I really had to educate myself about making a profession in the sports industry. I got involved in SAAC and I knew leadership opportunities would help me grow and enter the profession I was so excited to become a part of.

Key Attributes That Have Helped Your To Be Successful: I always raise my hand to take part in different opportunities. I believe that you can always learn and take away learning experiences from a variety of opportunities. If you never try, you never know what you may learn about yourself. I'm also a very patient person and have been described as unflappable. In collegiate athletics, you must be able to stay calm in times where others may get nervous and must be patient while you work with others to make a successful event happen.

Looking Back, What Is One Thing You Would Do In College Or Early On To Help You Along My Career Path: As a little girl, I always wanted to be a sports broadcaster. I wish I would have pursued that dream while in college. If I was back in college, I would learn more about the athletics positions that are available and do more information interviews with professionals.

Best Advice You Would Give To A Young Adult Wanting To Work In Sports: Always be ready to volunteer for any position, have a smile on your face and do the best job that you can do. Someone will notice your hard work and great attitude and will be willing to lift you up as they rise.

Favorite Sports Team: Detroit Tigers and Michigan State Spartans

Favorite Athlete: Dot Richardson

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: Missing my college graduation because we were playing in the regional final game of the Division III Softball Championship. When we arrived back on campus we had our own personal graduation on campus with our family, friends, athletics staff and the university president.