Deputy athletics director selected for NCAA Pathway Program

Farrah Manthei

The NCAA leadership development office, in partnership with the Board of Governors Committee To Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity, has selected 20 senior-level administrators, including UIC Deputy Director of Athletics Farrah Manthei, to participate in the NCAA Pathway Program, with the goal of preparing these individuals to attain positions as directors of athletics or conference commissioners.

Throughout the yearlong program, Manthei will engage in a series of experiential learning opportunities focused on advancing them to the top role in an athletics department or conference while building their skills to thrive in their current duties. This includes a focus on how to thrive in the ever-evolving intercollegiate athletics landscape shaped by recent prominent developments in society.

At UIC, Manthei currently maintains primary oversight of several critical areas for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics including: student development, student-athlete academic services, compliance, strength and conditioning and facilities. She is also the sport administrator for women’s basketball, volleyball, women’s soccer and men’s and women’s swimming and diving. Manthei began her tenure with the Flames in September 2018. In September 2019, she was named the department’s Senior Woman Administrator.

“I would like to thank the NCAA Pathway selection committee for its belief in me,” Manthei said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and collaborate with some of the most talented administrators in collegiate athletics over the year ahead. It’s a true honor to represent UIC, and I am greatly looking forward to the experience.”

“This is a terrific professional opportunity for Farrah to enhance her impact for our department and student-athletes, while also helping to further prepare her for future leadership positions,” UIC Director of Athletics Michael Lipitz said. Lipitz is a member of the NCAA Pathway Program’s Class of 2017.

“The Pathway Program represents one of NCAA leadership development’s most transformative offerings. Through investing in the development of those who coach, teach and lead them, we have a profound impact on the student-athlete experience through engaging participants in this marquee program,” said DeeDee Merritt, NCAA director of leadership development. “This track record in achieving its intended outcome has resulted in the creation of a vast alumni pool populated with the most influential leaders in college sports.”

Over the past 22 years, the acclaimed Pathway Program (formerly the Fellows Program) has produced over 200 alumni. Fifty-five of those participants (over 25%) have become directors of athletics or conference commissioners, including 46 who identify as either minorities or females. The 2019 Pathway Program alone has produced five athletics directors since commencement of programming last June.

The 2020-21 NCAA Division I Pathway Program participants:

  • Sarah Adams, deputy athletics director/senior woman administrator, Eastern Washington.
  • Amy Calabrese, associate athletics director, Louisville.
  • Dena Freeman-Patton, deputy athletics director/chief operating officer, New Orleans.
  • Jessica Grasso, deputy commissioner, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
  • Hank Harrawood, deputy athletics director, Winthrop.
  • Farrah Manthei, deputy director of athletics, University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Mario Morris, deputy athletics director, chief financial officer for business operations, Notre Dame.
  • Amy Olson, associate athletics director for administration/senior woman administrator, Howard.
  • Trayvean Scott, deputy athletics director and chief operating officer, Southern University.
  • Ike Ukaegbu, senior associate athletics director for compliance, TCU.
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