Celebrating 30th Anniversary

Presenting: ISSJ/NCAS 30 Influentials (individuals and institutions that helped shaped the development of the ISSJ/NCAS)


11 Founding Institutions

In 1985, Dr. Richard Lapchick gathered 11 institutions from across the country to discuss the impact of sport on social issues within the world of athletics. As a result of the meeting, the National Consortium for Academics and Sports was born with the goal of creating a degree-completion program for former student athletes. Today we recognize these 11 institutions for taking a stand 30 years ago and coming together to create our game-changing organization. Without these 11 institutions, we would have not become the National non-profit organization we are today.

    1. St. John’s University
    2. California State University Long Beach
    3. University of California Berkeley
    4. Temple University
    5. William Patterson University
    6. DePaul University
    7. Northeastern University
    8. University of San Francisco
    9. New York University
    10. Seton Hall University
    11. University of Detroit Mercy


Thomas "Satch" Sanders
Tom Satch SandersThomas “Satch” Sanders is a legendary figure to anyone that follows Celtic basketball. After a tremendous career as a player in the 60’s & 70’s, Satch began a coaching career as the head coach for Harvard University and later his former Celtics. Satch joined Dr. Lapchick and Dr. Astro at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society in 1984 as an Associate Director. He helped conceive the degree completion program which led to the foundation of the NCAS in 1985. Satch provided the NCAS with great credibility early on and was instrumental in bringing the Red Sox organization on as one of the first professional organizations to work with the NCAS. We recognize and thank Satch for his accomplishments as a player, coach, and a pioneer for improving the lives of athletes everywhere.


Tom Brennan
Tom BrennanTom Brennan has been an integral part of the NCAS team for many years. Originally signed on as a Regional Director, Tom is now serves as a consultant for conference coordination. As the Director of Athletics at La Salle University, Tom has received national recognition for his numerous outreach programs and community service efforts which demonstrates his belief in the “Power of Sports”. Tom has been an outstanding resource for us at the NCAS and is an individual who truly practices what we preach.
Bob Bradley
Bob BradleyBob Bradley, currently an Associate Athletics Director for Student Services at Kentucky, has spent his career helping athletes find success off the field. Giving his support to the NCAS back in the late ‘80s, Bob was a Regional Director for the NCAS before moving into his current role of consultant for Public Relations. Bob has been a tremendous resource for the NCAS staff to rely on whenever they needed him and we thank him for his everlasting support.


 Richard & Helen DeVos
Richard and Helen DeVosThe DeVos family are co-founders of Amway and currently own the Orlando Magic of the NBA. In 2006, just a few years after establishing the NCAS headquarters at the University of Central Florida, Richard & Helen DeVos granted the NCAS with a $5 Million endowment. With the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. DeVos, the NCAS was not only able to continue with its mission but were given a solid financial foundation for the future. We honor the DeVos family for their generosity and support for the NCAS.


 George Matthews
George MatthewsIn 1985, the National Consortium for Academics and Sports was nothing but a dream and needed the support of powerful individuals to come to life. After the original 11 schools signed on, Dr. Lapchick and Dr. Astro returned to Northeastern University and were given full support from George Matthews. George was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Northeastern at the time and without his support, the NCAS would most likely not exist today.


Jerry Richardson
NCAS_30YearsJerry Richardson was an integral part of the NCAS for many years and his impact is still evident today. Jerry was the women’s basketball coach at UCF following his time working with a girls basketball team on the Navajo National Reservation in New Mexico. For his efforts, Jerry was honored with the coaching award at the ‘91 Giant Steps Awards banquet. Jerry also served as the Southern Regional Director and a diversity trainer for the NCAS before he was killed by a drunk driver in 1996. Jerry’s impact is still felt in our organization today and we honor the achievements he accomplished both on and off the court.


Nancy Kaplan
nancy-kaplanDr. Nancy Kaplan has spent her career as an educator, a community advocate, and proponent of social justice. Currently an Associate Vice President at St. John’s University, Nancy has worked with the NCAS for many years. She is one of our most experienced trainers and has facilitated workshops that address diversity and inclusion, leadership, and gender violence prevention. Nancy also serves the capacity of Director of Membership for the NCAS where she has recruited 25+ new members ot the NCAS family. We thank Nancy for her continued devotion to our organization and for being a shining example of the values we hold dear.


Don McPherson
Don McPhersonFor the last 29 years Don McPherson has been using the power of sports to address complex social justice issues through the creation of innovative programs, educational seminars, and supporting community service organizations.  Prior to joining Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society in 1994, Don addressed common issues such as drunk driving, alcohol and substance abuse, bullying, youth leadership and mentoring.  While with the Center for the Study of Sport in Society he was the national director of Athletes in Service to America and the director of the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program.  Since then Don has become a national leader and advocate for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence.  We congratulate Don for all of his career accolades and thank him for continuously shedding light on social justice issues and using the power of sports to make society better.
Dr. Richard Astro
richard-astroDr. Richard Astro is a founding member of the NCAS and continues to play a pivotal role in the organization through his consulting work.  Dr. Astro serves as Provost Emeritus and Distinguished University Professor at Drexel University. He also serves as a consultant to the New York Mets Baseball Organization. Prior to his provost at Drexel, Dr. Astro was the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, he hired Dr. Richard Lapchick to start the Center for Study of Sport in Society and the NCAS.  Dr. Astro, we thank you for your continued passion and dedication to the NCAS and for believing in everything we do.


Dick Schapp
Dick SchappDick Schapp was an iconic sports journalist and the first one to successfully make the transition from sportswriter to television.  He was the whole package, his ability to write, edit, and speak on camera made him successful in not only the world of sports but also other subjects as well.  Dick was instrumental in championing NCAS to society before anyone else paid attention.  However, Dick suffered from hip surgery complications and passed away in 2001. We thank him for his never ending support and honor his achievements as one of the best sports journalists.


Dr. Karl Mooney
NCAS_30YearsDr. Karl Mooney is currently serving as the Director of Academic Advising for the Transition Academic Programs at Texas A&M University.  Prior to joining the Aggies Dr. Mooney was a member of the UCF Athletic Department as the Director of the SABRE Center and Academic Services for Student-Athlete before being promoting to the Senior Associate to the Athletic Director.  He has been involved with College Athletics for over twenty years and is known for improving academic athletic support programs.  Karl was also the president of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics and board member of the NCAS.  While with the NCAS he also served as a member of the former Planning and Development Committee and was instrumental in assisting with the criteria for the Degree Completion Program. He was responsible for many student-athletes returning to college to complete their degrees. We thank Dr. Mooney for his contributions to the NCAS and continuing to uphold our core value of education by improving the academic culture for student-athletes.


Bob Ley
Bob LeyBob Ley joined ESPN just three days after its launch in 1979 making him the longest tenured on-air employee.  During his time with ESPN, he reported on many pivotal news stories including the Boston Marathon Bombings and the September 11 terrorist attacks.   Bob currently hosts ESPN’s investigative program Outside the Lines which examines critical issues in sports off the field of play.  Outside the Lines has covered many award winning pieces including the Jason McElwain Story and Katrina’s Impact on New Orleans.  Bob has been a tremendous advocate for the NCAS and our programs as well as the MC for the annual NCAS Giant Steps Awards Banquet. We thank you Bob Ley for using your platform to promote the true power of sport and for believing in the mission of our organization!


Bill Curry
Bill CurryBill Curry is a legendary man in the football world, as a player, a coach, a leader, an analyst, and an author, but most importantly through each experience he has been an educator to those around him.  As a collegiate and professional player Bill received many accolades for his accomplishments on the field, which led to his roles as President and Vice-President in the National Football League Players Association.  Bill coached at his alma mater Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Alabama, University of Kentucky, and most recently Georgia State University where he became the first head football coach in Georgia State history.  He has also played an instrumental role for the NCAS as the first Chief Operating Officer and former Board Member.  Bill focused on the allocation of funds and resources for the member institutions, placed an emphasis on personal communication, and worked to grow academics, community service, and diversity through the NCAS.  He continues to embody the true power of sports on society and we thank him for embracing the mission of the NCAS.


John Hitt
President HittDr. John Hitt currently stands as the President of the University of Central Florida, a position he has held for over twenty years.  During this time Dr. Hitt has succeeded in tripling enrollment, making UCF the largest university in Florida, and increasing the quality of students, faculty, and academic programs.  He is also a board of director member for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and represents the American Athletic Conference on the NCAA Division Board of Directors.  Dr. Hitt has been a longtime supporter of the NCAS even before moving to the UCF Campus and has served on the former Planning and Development Committee.  We applaud his unwavering determination to improve public and higher education, and thank him for continuing to make UCF a better university.


Tom Miller
Tom MillerDr. Thomas Miller serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs of the University of South Florida as well as an associate professor in the College of Education.  While in this position he has been honored with the Robert H. Shaffer Award for Academic Excellence as a Graduate Faculty Member.  He has also served as the Chairman of the Board of the NCAS for over twenty-five years.  He brought stability and direction to the NCAS, especially during times of challenge for the organization.  Without his leadership and influence the NCAS would be where it is today.  Thank you Dr. Miller for the instrumental role you have played in developing the NCAS!


Joe Crowley
Joe CrowleyDr. Joseph Crowley is the former president of the University of Nevada, Reno, where he served a record-setting twenty-three years in this position. While there he established a university foundation, expanded the School of Medicine, developed new core curriculum to increase faculty research, and founded the College of Human and Community Service.  Joe also spent two years as the NCAA president and continues to serve on the Honors Committee and Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee. Dr. Crowley has been a supporter of the NCAS from the first day he met Dr. Lapchick and Keith Lee. He is responsible for the establishment of the NCAS Western Regional Office located at the University of Nevada Reno, which was directed by Keith Lee.  Now the NCAS Chairman of the Board, he has been a member of the governing body of the NCAS since 1992.


Jessica Bartter-Duffaut
Jessica BartterJessica Bartter-Duffaut is the Foundation Relationship Manager for the Giving Back Fund, an organization focusing on charities and helping those who help others.  Prior to joining the Giving Back Fund, Jessica was an important member of the NCAS staff.  She was the Assistant Director for Membership and was instrumental in the development of colleges joining membership of the NCAS.  Jessica also handled certain details of the Giant Steps Awards Banquet as well as creating the structure of policies and procedures for the NCAS.  We thank Jessica for the impact she had on the NCAS and the creating the foundation for our organization!
Diana Kenepp
NCAS_30YearsDiana Kenepp has been serving the Penn State Athletic Department for many years in the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes as a board member and now as Director Emeritus.  She was also a distinguished professor while at Penn State.  Diana was one of the first members of the NCAS Planning and Development Committee. While on the committee she focused on conference development and the life of a student-athlete council.  She was a strong supporter of the NCAS mission while with the organization and continued to uphold it throughout her career.


Jeff O'Brien
jeff-obrienJeff O’Brien has been with NCAS for two decades and is one of the most requested presenters in the US for his expertise on the prevention of violence against women.  He coordinates and manages the activities of the training consultants, develops new programs and leads high profile trainings for NCAS. Jeff has delivered over 100 conferences, and provided training for thousands of administrators, coaches and student-athletes at over 150 universities.  He has also worked with all major professional leagues in the US. Thank you Jeff for all of your time, hard work and dedication. 
Tom Kowalski
Tom KowalskiThe NCAS honours Tom Kowalski for spearheading continuing education for professional athletes. For over 20 years, Tom developed degree completion plans for active and former NFL players and acted as a liaison between players and academic advisors. He has been the director of NCAS Midwest Regional Office and President of the Transit Group, an educational and career development firm.  Tom sadly passed away in 2013 after a battle with Multiple Myelnoma.  Tom is greatly missed but will never be forgotten and we thank him for all he’s done for academics and sports.
 Ellen Bettman
NCAS_30YearsEllen Bettman worked for the anti-defamation league for many years and was one of its earliest advocates.  Ellen has been instrumental in NCAS’s efforts as she is responsible for training our facilitators including Keith Lee, Rob Weathers, and Lynn Dawson.