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renae myles payneFORT VALLEY, Ga.- Fort Valley State University is pleased to announce that Renae Myles Payne, Ed.D., has been named the new director of athletics, effective March 15, 2023. With more than 25 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics, she joins FVSU from the University of Miami (UM), where she served as the senior associate athletic director for administration and chief diversity officer.
"Dr. Myles Payne's exceptional leadership qualities and extensive experience in collegiate athletics make her the ideal candidate for this position," said FVSU President Paul Jones, Ph.D.
"We are excited to have her join the Fort Valley State University family and look forward to working together to elevate our athletic program. I have no doubt FVSU is poised to continue its tradition of excellence and achieve new levels of success."
Jones also thanked Interim Director Wheeler Brown for his leadership during the transition, adding, "His dedication to the athletic program has been instrumental in maintaining the stability and success of the department. Mr. Brown's hard work and commitment to the university have not gone unnoticed, and we appreciate his unwavering support for FVSU Athletics."
As FVSU's new athletic director, Myles Payne will oversee the administration, development, and planning for advancing the University's NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs. FVSU is a part of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) East Division.
"I am thrilled to join President Jones and Fort Valley State as the director of athletics," said Myles Payne. "When I met President Jones, I instantly knew we would make a great team, and now I get to partner with him, the coaches, staff, and student-athletes to enhance the brand and tradition of FVSU Athletics. I am excited to be a part of the Wildcat family!"
At the University of Miami, Myles Payne led the sports administrators group responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the Hurricanes 18 varsity sports as well as oversight of team travel and the Anthony Travel agreement, saving the department more than $200,000 annually. Other accomplishments include:
Overseeing the program's most lucrative Adidas equipment contract and development of policies and procedures for the department.
Securing a $50,000 gift toward the diving facility project slated to begin this summer.
Creating and leading the Cane Culture Council, a group of athletic employees responsible for enhancing the department's culture through staff recognition, engagement, professional development, and people operations and inclusion.
Creating the UM Athletics Trailblazer Award to honor and recognize former minority student-athletes and others affiliated with athletics.
Developing a five-year diversity and inclusion action plan for the Canes and a webpage dedicated to educating staff on DEI.
Myles Payne has held athletic roles at the University of Connecticut, University of Pittsburgh, San José State University, Delaware State University, Southwest Baptist University, Alabama A&M University, and Winthrop University. Before Miami, she was the senior associate athletic director and chief operating officer at Winthrop University. She was second in command to the director of athletics and developed and managed a $13.5 million budget. She also led the strategic planning process DRIVE'25, and the NCAA recognized the department as a model institution for diverse hiring processes. In addition, Winthrop increased ticket sales and facility rental revenue by 170% under her leadership.
Myles Payne is an active leader on the national scene. She is the vice president of the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA) and will assume the presidency this June during the MOAA/NACDA Convention in Orlando, Florida.
She has served on NCAA committees and is a regular presenter at NACDA (National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics), CABMA (College Athletics Business Management Association), and Women Leaders in College Sports. In 2019, she was named Administrator of the Year in Division I by Women Leaders in College Sports. In addition, she is a member of NADOHE (National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education) and a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Myles Payne received her M.Ed. in Sports Administration from Northwestern State University of Louisiana and her Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. She and her husband, Marcus Payne, have two adult daughters, Brianna and Ariana. She is a native of Clarksdale, Mississippi, and a 1997 graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where she competed in track and field.
A press conference will be scheduled soon to welcome Myles Payne and her family.


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