STAFF SPOTLIGHT ARCHIVES
China Jude, CU Director of Athletics, knows a thing or two about juggling sports and studies. Playing three sports in high school, which led to a volleyball scholarship, prepared her to multi-task on and off the court.
“As an athlete, the most challenging aspect was dealing with time management and discipline to the organization with both thoughts and actions,” explained Ms. Jude.“I valued the team work and leadership skills I was able to obtain as a result. People may find it hard to believe I was never captain of a team despite my natural ability to lead.
Realizing she didn’t need a title to be a leader was one of the most important lessons she gained from her athletic career. However, now having the title of Director and overseeing all of the athletic programs has been an opportunity to lead by example.
Since she has come to CU three years ago, Jude has worked hard to make positive changes by adding a community service component to the athletes responsibility in addition to a strong emphasis on grade requirements.
“Students need to understand the world is bigger than them. They need to concentrate on selfless acts to contribute to the world. They are required to do at least two community service projects per academic year,” explained Jude.
Modest yet direct in nature, Ms. Jude has gained the respect by all of her counterparts in her field and is viewed as a trendsetter due to her gender. She is only one of thirteen black female athletic directors in the country in all divisions.
She said, “I get teased at conferences but I have befriended some of the most powerful athletic directors in the country.”
Jude said that typically HBCUs tend to stick together, but her philosophy is to “think big,” by networking beyond HBCUs.
However, Ms. Jude is most proud of the success of the women’s basketball team’s improvement after she hired Coach Marilyn Stephens.
“She walked in the door to a team without the ability to recruit– which is way more difficulty than any other programming challenge. She was able to incorporate her philosophies and didn’t miss a beat. Within the first season, the improved record reassuring me that I made the right decision in her hire,” said Jude.
One of Ms. Jude’s priorities was to better engage alumni when she joined the CU family. Under her watch, athletic donations have increased resulting in programming improvements.
She said, “I rely heavily on alumni support and include them in search committees as well as most major decisions including Hall of Fame inductees. The C’Club President is always supportive, allowing me to dream big for our Wolves.”
In this piece she mentioned the success due to inadequate funding while under the direction of both John Chaney and C. Vivian Stringer. She wrote: “It is said that when a person loses one of their senses, the other senses are heightened; this can also be true that from shrinking budgets and limited funding sources comes increased creativity.”
Ms. Jude’s secret to her success has been maintaining a life balance among work with a good relationship with her son. This was done, she says, by keeping him involved behind the scenes so he could develop a better understanding and appreciation of what she does on a day-to-day basis.