CARBONDALE — Saluki Athletics announced Thursday that longtime senior associate athletic director Kathy Jones will retire at the end of December.
A Southern Illinois University alum, Jones has served as the department's senior woman administrator since 2000. Among her many responsibilities, she has served as a mentor to coaches, staff and student-athletes, and spearheaded the department's student-athlete well-being efforts.
For most of her career, she oversaw compliance and student services units, including academic advising, the athletic training area and the strength and conditioning program, in addition to supervising a number of sports. Jones also headed up departmental efforts on diversity and gender-equity issues.
She has been a member of the executive team and was involved with the strategic planning process within athletics.
"Kathy has served under three different athletic directors and has provided invaluable leadership, guidance and direction on a range of important issues," said Director of Athletics Tommy Bell. "Throughout her career, she has been a champion for student-athlete welfare. Her energy, enthusiasm, compassion and wisdom will be missed."
Among the many coaches she has impacted during her career at SIU is Connie Price-Smith, a Saluki Hall of Famer who built the track and field program into a national powerhouse during the past decade.
"I can't thank Kathy enough for all of the support she gave me and my team during my time as a coach at SIU," said Price-Smith, who is currently the head track and field coach at Ole Miss. "I am sure she will be missed by the department and the university, but I think she served them well. I wish her nothing but the best in the next chapter of her life."
Jones succeeded Title IX pioneer Dr. Charlotte West as Associate Athletic Director at SIU after West's retirement in 1998. According to Dr. West: "Kathy has always been a strong advocate for student-athletes. Her decisions and actions are always guided by what is best for the welfare of the athletes."
Jones has been a voice for the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) at the national level, representing the conference on the NCAA Leadership Council for three years (2008-11) and the NCAA Management Council for three years (2005-08).
"Kathy has been an important part of the athletics leadership both at SIU and in the Missouri Valley Conference," said Doug Elgin, Commissioner of the MVC. "Her focus has been on improving the experience of Saluki student-athletes and helping provide SIU athletic programs with the resources and opportunities to be competitive."
During her tenure as an athletic administrator in the MVC, Jones served on a number of Conference standing committees including the Sports Management Committee, Equity & Diversity, Long-Range Planning, and Legislative Review.
"After nearly 18 years in Saluki Athletics, it's time for me to explore the next chapter in my life," Jones said. "It's been my pleasure to serve this University in making sure the experience we offer student-athletes is life-enriching and that we continue to strive to do the 'right thing' In how the athletics enterprise works. There is always more work to do, but I'm looking forward to getting some rest, traveling, spending time with my family and figuring out what is next for me. It's always been important to me to make a difference. I hope I have made a difference at SIU and wish everyone in the Saluki Family all the best."