Bluefield College has announced that Tonia Walker will serve as the school's new full-time athletic director. Walker is not only the first female to serve in this role but is also the first full-time athletic director in the history of Bluefield College. A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday, May 29, 2019, at 1 p.m. in the Chandler Boardroom located on the third floor of Lansdell Hall on Bluefield College’s campus in Bluevield, Virginia.
Editor' note: This is a different school than Bluefield State College located across the state line in Bluefield, West Virginia.
Walker comes to Bluefield College after serving 18 years in athletic leadership at Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Bluefield College received almost 80 highly qualified applications. The 10-member search committee composed of students, faculty, and athletic department representatives, conducted its search over three months. Ms. Walker became the candidate of choice from among a strong group of finalists by presenting a detailed game plan for success for the future of Rams Athletics.
“I am extremely grateful, honored, and humbled to serve Bluefield College as its first full-time dedicated director of athletics. I am grateful to the students, coaches, faculty, staff, and administrators who were a part of the selection process, for having the confidence in me to lead the Bluefield College Rams. It is indeed an honor to work for an institution that emphasizes a Christ-centered learning community that develops transformational servant leaders, and I look forward to creating a vision for the athletic department that will reflect that mission. I value the opportunity to work with young people at such a transitional time in their lives, all while leading coaches who will have an impact on and will shape students into strong community leaders. I consider it a privilege to be joining the Bluefield College team to build on the great story that began back in 1922,” said Walker.
Prior to accepting her role at Bluefield College, Walker served as Director of Athletics at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) and placed her own stamp of leadership on their athletic programs. An integral figure in the university's transition from NCAA Division II to Division I (football championship subdivision) status and later reclassification back to Division II, she brought a wealth of knowledge of intercollegiate athletics to WSSU. Walker came to WSSU after completing a seven-year stint with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) headquarters office where she began her career in 1993.
Named the 2015-16 CIAA Athletic Director of the Year and the 2016 Administrator of the Year for the National Association for Collegiate Athletics Administrators, Walker has worked to continuously advocate for student-athletes and opportunities for women and minorities. She believes strongly in the power of service and galvanized staff and students at WSSU to amass 3,000 community service hours annually.
She was one of eight participants around the country selected for the NCAA Fellows Leadership Development Program. In addition, she is currently a member of the Women's Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA) and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA), as well as the Black Women Sports Foundation.
Walker is a 2004 graduate of the NACWAA/HERS Institute and 2005 NACWAA Executive Institute, serving to enhance opportunities for women to move into positions as athletics directors or conference commissioners. She was named the 2008 NACWAA recipient of the Nell Jackson Award bestowed annually to an athletic administrator who exemplifies the qualities of Dr. Nell Jackson.
Tonia attended Hampton University as a two-sport athlete, playing basketball and softball and departed the university as a member of the 1993 CIAA Softball Championship Team, All-Region, and All-America softball performer. She graduated with honors, receiving a bachelor’s degree in communicative sciences and disorders and went on to attend Old Dominion University to attain her Master of Science in recreation and sports administration.
Walker will begin her leadership of Bluefield College Athletics on July 1, 2019.