Dr. Donna Lopiano is the President and founder of Sports Management Resources (SMR), a consulting firm that focuses on bringing the knowledge of experienced, expert former athletics directors to assist scholastic and collegiate athletics departments in solving growth and development challenges. She is an adjunct professor of Sports Management at Southern Connecticut State University and president of The Drake Group, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to preserve academic integrity in higher education from the corrosive aspects of commercialized college sports and protect the health and wellbeing of college athletes.
Dr. Lopiano is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation (1992-2007) and was named one of “The 10 Most Powerful Women in Sports” by Fox Sports. The Sporting News has also listed her as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Sports.” The Institute for International Sport named Lopiano among the “100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America.” She has been nationally and internationally recognized for her leadership as an athletics administrator and work advocating for gender equity in sports by the International Olympic Committee, the NCAA, the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Lopiano served for 18 years as the University of Texas at Austin Director of Women’s Athletics and is past-president of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. At Texas, she constructed what many believed the premiere women’s athletics program in the country; twice earning the top program in the nation award. All eight UT sports were consistently ranked in the nation’s top ten in Division I where they earned 18 national title in six different sports, produced 51 individual national champions, 57 Southwest Conference championships and 395 All-American athletes, dozens among them Olympians and world champions. Ninety percent of women athletes who exhausted their athletic eligibility at Texas received a baccalaureate degree. Prior to Texas, Lopiano served as an Assistant Professor and Assistant Athletic Director at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.
Recognized as one of the foremost national experts on gender equity in sport, Lopiano has testified about Title IX and gender equity before three Congressional committees, served as a consultant to the U.S. Office for Civil Rights Department of Health, Education and Welfare Title IX Task Force and an expert witness in over 30 court cases. Dr. Lopiano has also served as a consultant to school districts, institutions of higher education and state education agencies on Title IX compliance and to domestic and international sport organizations on program development, governance and strategic planning. She received her bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University, her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern California and is the recipient of five honorary doctoral degrees. She has coached men’s and women’s volleyball, women’s basketball and softball and the Italian national women’s softball team. As an athlete, she participated in 26 national championships in four sports and was a nine-time All-American at four different positions in softball, playing on six national championship teams. She is a member of the National Sports Hall of Fame, the National Softball Hall of Fame and the Connecticut and Texas Women’s Halls of Fame, among others