WINSTON-SALEM, NC - The Winston-Salem State University Department of Athletics took a giant step forward with the hiring of Sonya Hurt as its Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance & Student-Athlete Services. With some great experience along with a terrific education, Hurt is poised to make a tremendous impact on the future of Rams athletics.
"It is always a GREAT day when we can have a member of the Ramily graduate from WSSU, depart and return to serve their Alma Mater with the education and lifelong learning they experienced while a co-ed coupled with the expertise they have gathered during their career," said Winston-Salem State University Director of Athletics Etienne Thomas. "I was seeking a seasoned administrator to join our team in this capacity, someone who has expertise in the areas of compliance and student services in addition to the leadership qualities to encourage partnership with their colleagues within the Department of Athletics and across the campus. Sonya embodies each of these qualities in addition to her many experiences throughout her extensive career in college athletics. We are elated to have her as the newest member of our team and look forward to her arrival back home in Winston-Salem."
Hurt comes to Winston-Salem State University after spending 16 years at Rider University where she served as the coordinator of academic services for athletics. It is a position that she had held since March of 2004. Currently, Hurt is primarily responsible for leading the Broncos' academic support unit in providing quality and need-based services that enhance academic progress, facilitate career development, and encourage the psychological growth of all student-athletes, assisted the compliance office with preparation for NCAA academic eligibility waivers and educating the Rider student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC) on legislation updates and changes. She also coordinated the athletics department's ARETE, Student Transitional Education Program (STEP) and study-table programs. She also assisted in the development of the Broncs for Combating Hatred, Healing, Advocating, Nourishing, Guiding Education (CHANGE) task force, which is a SAAC initiative to promote Diversity & Inclusion in the Rider Department of Athletics.
Prior to joining the staff at Rider, she spent two years at Bethune-Cookman University from 2002-2004. During her time at Bethune-Cookman, Hurt served as the compliance liaison for the athletic department, campus advisement center and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) office, preparing NCAA waivers, investigating eligibility issues and conducting monthly NCAA rules education sessions for the department She also began the university's first academic support program for football student-athletes during her tenure at the university.
She also worked at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she served as the director of academic support from 1999-2002. At Fairleigh Dickinson, Hurt was responsible for overseeing academic eligibility, tutoring programs, study table, and coordinated a faculty/staff mentorship program for the department of athletics. From 1998-2000, Hurt served as an intern for the NCAA in membership services. While with the NCAA, she provided NCAA interpretations and conducted waiver reviews for the membership.
Throughout her career, Hurt has taken advantage of several opportunities for professional development. In 2016, she was a graduate of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Professional Development Institute (now known as The Steve McDonnell PDI). Graduates of the institute have gone on to become nationally recognized leaders in the fields of student-athlete support services, college athletics, conference administration and higher education. She is also an active member of the National Association of Athletic Academic Advisors and Student-Athlete Development Professionals (N4A), Minority Opportunity Athletic Association (MOAA), WSSUNAA-NJ Chapter, Women in Sport and Entertainment (WISE), the Rider University President's Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Clarence E. "Big House" Gaines WSSU Athletics Hall of Fame as a member of the Rams' 1984-86 softball team.
In addition to service in her career, Hurt has taken time to give back to the community as well. She has volunteered her time with the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Special Olympics, and the KIPP Collegiate Academy.
Hurt is no stranger to Winston-Salem State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Health, Physical Education and Sport Management in 1990 as well as a Master's degree in Sport Administration from Grambling State University in December 1996.
For more information on Winston-Salem State University athletics, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.