Melody Webb made history when she was hired as the first female athletic director at Norfolk (Va.) State University in June 2020. Webb, the United States Sports Academy’s latest Student of the Month, is pursuing her Doctor of Education degree in sports management because of her previous connection to Academy 2011 Alumna of the Year Dr. China Jude.
Webb met Jude – the current Denver Broncos Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and former collegiate coach and administrator – when they coached against each other in collegiate volleyball in previous jobs.
“I knew China from my volleyball coaching days and she recommended the Academy as a good place to get my doctoral degree,” Webb said. “I want to use this degree to be able to teach in addition to my administrative work. I am also enjoying learning about organizational behavior and management. The program is helping me learn how to help people grow and improve their work/life balance. The program has been beneficial to me because of its flexibility. I’m very busy working as the AD at Norfolk State, so being able to study on my own time has been wonderful.
“The Academy program also allows me to apply instantly what I’m learning in the classroom,” she said. “I am also able to transfer educational experience directly to my position.
“The Academy places me in a position to collaborate with other students/professionals going through the same journey. The Sport Management discipline was new to me, but it has exposed me to areas of the field that have helped expand my view on operations and management decisions.”
In her first season leading the Spartans in 2020-21, both the men’s basketball and baseball teams captured MEAC titles. NSU men’s basketball defeated Appalachian State in the NCAA Tournament First Four after winning its second-ever MEAC Championship. Spartan baseball, meanwhile, made its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance after capturing its very first MEAC Championship.
Norfolk State was also selected to host four NCAA Track & Field Indoor Championships from 2023-26, including the Division I championship in 2025. Student-athletes continued to excel in the classroom as well, with the department posting an overall GPA of 3.15 after the spring semester, the highest ever.
“I absolutely love being an athletic director,” Webb said. “I love being able to direct a team that impacts student athletes in such a meaningful way through our Leadership Academy. My job as an athletic director is to not only be a leader of our university’s athletic programs, but also be a leader to our student athletes. I want to make sure they leave here prepared to make a difference in the world.”