Virginia Native to Administer NCAA Grant for Promotion of Employability

Virginia Native to Administer NCAA Grant for Promotion of Employability


By Mckenzie Maneggia ’20 / Sports Information Staff

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Starting at the end of August, Eastern Connecticut State University will be welcoming intern Michael J. Davis to the athletics staff as the Coordinator of Student-Athlete Success, Inclusion and Employability.

This two-year position is supported through the NCAA Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Internship Grant. The grant program – now in its 17th year -- provides Davis with an annual salary, as well as additional funding each year for professional development. The initiative is funded by the NCAA Division III budget for over $1 million, which allows for a total of 43 schools and conference to receive this annual funding. It is intended to fund full-time, entry-level administrative positions.

Eastern Director of Athletics Lori Runksmeier is appreciative of the NCAA for this grant, which is awarded to only a select number of institution and conferences. “I want to thank NCAA DIII for supporting this grant opportunity,” she says. “It was a competitive grant process, and I am grateful that our application was chosen. I think this commitment, both from the NCAA and Eastern, to increase the diversity in our industry pipeline, is vital to the success of our division.”

A committee of Eastern administrators and student-athletes selected Davis this summer among a pool of some 80 applicants.

As stipulated by the grant, Davis’ job description includes developing and coordinating student-athlete programs, serving as a liaison for diversity and inclusion to outside constituents, and developing career learning and employability for student-athletes.

Davis is excited to start this job in the fall. “I'm truly blessed and humbled to have this opportunity to help impact and invest in the lives of the student-athletes at Eastern. So, without further ado, ‘Let's Lock In,’” he says.  Davis believes that his firsthand experience as a collegiate student-athlete will enhance his value in this position at Eastern.

A native of Newport News, VA, Davis earned a B.S. Degree in Sport Management at Towson University, where he participated in men’s basketball. Starting as a walk-on member to the Division I program, he eventually earned a scholarship. After graduating from Towson in 2016, he earned an M.S.  Degree in Sport Administration from Hampton University this past spring.

Over the past three years, Davis has completed a number of internships while working toward his degrees. At Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, MD, he served as an assist to the athletic director, before serving as a Tiger Athletic Fund intern at Towson and a graduate assistant of basketball operations and Hampton Nation assistant development intern at Hampton.

One of the first programs he plans on implementing with the student-athletes is FAIL, an acronym for First Attempt In Learning. This program will be used to help student-athletes understand that success does not happen overnight. Davis wants to teach student-athletes that employability and future success is all about how much one applies and invests in oneself.

Being someone who loves networking and collaborating, he is excited to work with other departments on campus. This position will be active in joining forced with other departments such as student activities, the career center, and academic advising. Davis plans on treating students independently and adjusting to each student as an individual.

As part of his contract, Davis is required to attend an orientation program at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis in August, and is also expected to attend the NCAA Conventional this coming January

To Runksmeier, Davis will be a great fit at Eastern, “Michael and I have discussed his professional goals, and they match well with our institutional goals for this position,” she says. “He will be focused on the success of our student-athletes -- especially helping our athletes gain the necessary skills to be incredibly employable when they graduate from Eastern. I look forward to his contributions to our department and using his enthusiasm and abilities to better serve our student-athletes.”