Angie Watson Morenz was the first female athlete in Blackburn College history to be awarded 12 athletic letters. A member of the 1993-94 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference basketball champions, Morenz also played on the 1996-97 conference tournament championship team at Blackburn that qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament.

Morenz’s love for sports turned into a career. Blackburn recently announced that its former star athlete will be the next athletic director for the college beginning July 1.

Morenz is a 1997 graduate of Blackburn with a major in physical education management. She completed her master’s degree in athletic training at Indiana State University the following year.

In 1999, Morenz returned to her Illinois college town and began working as an athletic trainer for Sportscare and Carlinville Hospital. She then served as the head athletic trainer at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., from 2000-04. Following that, Morenz was the Equipment Manager for the Bearcats at State University of New York at Binghamton.

Returning to her alma mater in 2006, Morenz worked in the development office and focused on alumni relations at Blackburn. In 2008, she became a professor of physical education and sports management at Blackburn.

In the meantime, Morenz stared working on her doctorate in sports management from the United States Sports Academy, with hopes of finding her dream job in sports in the future. Morenz tells the Alumni Network that she thought she would become a tenured college professor for the next 30 years. Little did she know, the athletic director position at Blackburn would come open and she would be chosen for the job.

Alumni Network: What are your long-term career goals?

Angie Watson Morenz: My intent is to stay at Blackburn for a while. It is my alma mater, and I believe strongly in the institutional mission. I want to provide stability to the athletic director position. Right now that is my only goal; my focus has to be on the work that is directly ahead of me.

Further into the future, who knows what might transpire. I thought I was going to be a tenured college professor for the next 30 years until the athletic director’s position opened. Life has a funny way of twisting and turning.

Alumni Network: If you could tell women something encouraging about working to become an athletic director, what would it be?

Angie Watson Morenz: I would tell women that taking every opportunity to network, working at different levels of governance and seeking education is imperative to becoming an athletic director. The opportunities exist for women, but you must be diligent in the process of learning. Be willing to lend a helping hand, it shows initiative and allows people to see how you work. Women still have a proving ground to navigate when it comes to leadership, so take on extra responsibilities and demonstrate your capabilities.

Alumni Network: What do you hope to see in the future of women athletic directors?

Angie Watson Morenz: My hope is that women are strong and consistent leaders for the programs they represent. Women need to create relationships with their staff and students that allow access to leadership and decision making. Women should continue to make efforts to build support networks and act as role models for everyone, not just for women. Also, I hope to be supportive of women actively pursuing leadership roles in athletics. Alumni Network: Do you feel that your doctorate from the Academy will help to better your skill set while working at your new position as athletic director? What do you like about the Academy’s program?

Angie Watson Morenz: The Academy helped me to better my skill set by merging theory to my practical experiences. My previous work experience, coupled with the variety of academic classes and my mentorship, allowed me to see how theory can be applied to practical situations. I was literally taking the information from the courses and exercising the information on a daily basis. Now, I will be applying the concepts to a professional setting.

The thing I really like about the Academy’s program is the Mentorship. My mentorship was with the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC), working directly with the commissioner. This happens to be the conference Blackburn competes in, so I had a direct link to the governance structure at the conference level. Without knowing it at the time, it prepared me well for stepping into the athletic director role.

Alumni Network: What made you choose the Academy?

Angie Watson Morenz: The Academy offered some attractive features that I couldn’t get from a more traditional setting. The most important aspect for me was the ability to work full-time while pursuing my degree. Being able to continue my education through distance learning was helpful given where Blackburn is in relation to institutions that offer doctoral programs.

The second feature that attracted me was the accredited sports management program, having accreditation gave the program more “value” to those around me that questioned online learning programs. The Academy’s reputation played a role in my decision as well.