Howard University athletics has been dominating the collegiate sports world and increasing their exposure like never before. In August 2022, Howard began a 20-year partnership with Jordan Brand, creating substantial athletic and academic opportunities for the university. The Bison have since expanded this opportunity as various sports teams have dominated their conferences, bringing home wins that have been overlapping at the Mecca like never before.
In recent years, Howard volleyball became the 2021 MEAC champions. Women’s basketball, Howard softball and football, as well as men’s golf also acquired MEAC championships in 2022. Not to be overlooked, the women’s golf team became the SAS champions in 2022. This year, the overlapping of championships has continued as the men’s swimming & diving team became the 2023 NEC champions. Howard men’s basketball made their first NCAA March Madness appearance since 1992 while also becoming the 2023 MEAC champions. Additionally, after winning indoor and outdoor MEAC championships in 2022, Howard women’s track & field became the 2023 MEAC indoor track & field champions.
The list of accomplishments for Howard University athletics goes on. However, it is important to recognize the people in athletics working diligently to make sure that the student athletes are able to continue to reach their goals and embrace the opportunities that have been acquired so far. While Women’s History Month has come to an end, it is important to recognize the women behind Howard athletics’ recent success.
Nichole Williams and Jalisa Fulwood are two women of many within Howard athletics who have seen and experienced the growth and success of sports at Howard. Nichole Williams as the assistant athletic director of administration at Howard manages daily operations that support the athletics program. This includes managing business relationships, assisting with creative events within the athletic department, as well as marketing and developing projects.
Williams also helps to maintain relationships with Howard’s current athletic sponsors, oversees student workers and works with the general counsel’s office to fully execute game contracts for all division one sports at Howard. Williams also shared with The Hilltop that she is an advisor for Howard cheer and the Bisonettes.
When asked by The Hilltop about what she enjoys most about working in Howard athletics Williams responded by saying, “The thing I enjoy most about working in sports in general and specifically Howard athletics is the relationship aspect. I enjoy building relationships in order to not only do my job but allow athletes to achieve their greatest level of success. Success can mean many things, it may not always be a gold medal or a national championship but seeing an athlete accomplish a team or personal goal and being able to assist in fostering their professional as well as personal development is truly heartwarming for me.”
Fulwood, who serves as assistant athletic director of media relations, shared some similar insights with The Hilltop as well. “I like gaining this experience. I also love meeting all these different students and seeing their success. Seeing the students’ success has been really great. I came to Howard at a good time, I got to see swimming and diving and men’s basketball have a historic season. Women’s basketball as well, having them make it to their third championship game. Getting to see that and be a part of that is really fulfilling and also gaining that experience has been influential,” Fulwood said.
While Williams works more on the administration side in athletics, Fulwood works more with media relations, overseeing Howard’s growth and exposure on social media. Fulwood creates the graphics, helps run the social media for athletics, and does website maintenance to make sure that every score, schedule and news feed is up to date. Fulwood works alongside Derek Bryant, Howard’s athletic director of media relations and sports information, to maintain the direct lines between the teams and the conference. Fulwood also advocates for Howard athletes, nominating them for Player of the Week, Player of the Year and any other post season awards that are submitted to the conference.
When asked by The Hilltop about any challenges faced as a woman in sports at Howard, Fulwood responded by saying, “I wouldn’t so much say that the hardships have come because I am a woman. I feel like the hardships are more so what was already here. Some obstacles were already here and I’m just learning how to maneuver around them. I don’t really feel the hardships here have been because I am a woman. There’s a lot of women who work here, thankfully.”
Howard University is now in the midst of their spring season, finishing out the school year strong with track & field anticipating an exciting outdoor season, tennis hoping to finish out the season strong and Howard football getting ready for spring ball.
Williams and Fulwood were able to share in their closing statements what they are looking forward to for Howard athletics as they transition into a new school year. “More partnerships, increased community and alumni engagement which we’ve started to really tap into this year, and then of course more championships,” said Williams.
Fulwood responded by saying, “This growth. I am looking to keep this momentum going. We had a great winter season, a great fall season as well. Football did great this year, and volleyball is still killing the game and I expect them to still keep killing the game. I am excited for the continuation of these championship runs, MEAC titles, and having great athletics here at Howard.”
Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee