United States Sports Academy alumna Jody Steliga, a two-time conference Coach of the Year, has been named men’s basketball director of operations at the University of California Davis.

Jody Steliga UC Davis

Jody Steliga, men’s basketball director of operations at the University of California Davis

The appointment was announced recently by Jim Les, UC Davis head men’s basketball coach.

“We are very excited to add Jody to our basketball staff,” said Les. “She is passionate about basketball and has the skill, energy, and enthusiasm to positively impact our student-athletes.”

“I’m excited to join the prestige of the University, community, and UC Davis basketball,” Steliga said. “I’m grateful for this opportunity and eager to contribute to Coach Les’ staff and the program.”

Steliga was most recently an assistant coach at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colo., where she helped lead the Cougars to their most successful season in program history by finishing with 23 victories and a final four appearance in the Rocky Mountain Conference Tournament.

Prior to coaching in Colorado, Steliga served eight seasons as the head women’s basketball coach at Mendocino College in Ukiah, Calif., where she helped the program achieve an unprecedented level of success. Known for their academic achievement and extensive community outreach, Steliga’s teams also posted winning records on a consistent basis. Under Steliga, the Eagles won their first-ever Bay Valley Conference Championship in 2013 and earned a state playoff berth for the first time in school history.

In each of her seasons at Mendocino College, numerous players earned all-conference distinction; throughout the Steliga era, a collective 13 student-athletes earned first team recognition and another 20 received academic all-conference accolades. For her team’s accomplishments in the classroom, community and on the court, the Bay Valley Conference bestowed Coach of the Year honors to Steliga in 2012 and 2013.

As a student-athlete at Mendocino College, she was named to the school’s dean’s list and collected All-Conference and Academic All-Conference awards before transferring to Concordia University in Irvine, Calif., to complete her academic degree and playing career. Before graduating in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in art with a specialization in graphic design, she led Concordia to postseason berths in each of her two years on campus and ended her playing career as an Academic All-American.

Inducted to Mendocino College’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010, Steliga also earned her Master of Sports Science in sports management degree from the United States Sports Academy that year.

“The United States Sports Academy helped strengthen my foundation and really fine-tuned my passion for athletics, teaching, and leading to a professional level,” Steliga said.

“I think it is crucial to be well rounded, multi-dimensional and be ready for anything; this is my tenth year in collegiate athletics and each step is more stable because of my education. I’m grateful for my education from the United States Sports Academy as my guide.

“Completing my master’s degree online was ideal for my professional career because I earned my head coaching position a few months after finishing my bachelor’s degree and athletic career at Concordia University, Irvine. I was 21 years old and was blessed to get straight out of the gate with a head coaching position at a California community college.

“My second year of coaching, in 2008, I started my master’s program at the Academy and finished in 2010. Completing my classes while coaching was an amazing experience because the books, articles, and other resources directly applied to my day-to-day work. In fact, my studies prepped and guided me through the managerial processes of the coaching and collegiate world.

“I remember receiving the new textbook for each Academy course and feeling excited for how it was a direct reflection on my current work. It was exciting to read and study for certain facets of sports management, and then directly apply it in my role as a collegiate basketball coach and the other roles I held on campus.

“I found the courses challenging and very rewarding in the knowledge I gained to properly manage organizations, contribute to higher institutions, and become a resource to those with whom I worked.

“It was an enjoyable and comforting experience working on my degree in California knowing I was only a phone call or email away from a helpful support staff or mentor.

“Working in a collegiate setting benefitted me with proctoring the final tests of each course and also gave me a platform to complete my mentorship. I found it very valuable to contribute and network within my own campus by completing my mentorship outside of my work hours.

“The way I analyze it, the United States Sports Academy was an elite education because of its athletic focus. I’m grateful for my alumni network and look forward to continually discussing with them about athletics,” Steliga added.

“Pursuing a degree at the United States Sports Academy opens valuable, tailored programs that give a wealth of knowledge and will evolve graduates to be contributing, irreplaceable factors for any athletic organization.”

Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.