Rollins

Parker Selected as NCAA Gold Award Finalist

November 27, 2023

By Jessica Firpi ’11

Associate Vice President of Athletics Pennie Parker has been named a finalist for the NCAA 2023 Division II Gold Award, recognizing those who have had a significant impact on DII athletics.

Pennie Parker
Photo by Scott Cook.

In honor of NCAA Division II’s 50th anniversary celebration, conferences around the country have nominated players, coaches, and administrators of the past 50 years who have embraced and enhanced the experience of DII athletics for the 2023 NCAA Division II Gold Award. The Sunshine State Conference (SSC) has selected Pennie Parker as the female finalist for the esteemed award.

“I’m genuinely honored and humbled to be a finalist for the NCAA Division II Gold Award,” says Parker. “In my eyes, Division II is the perfect balance of academic excellence and athletic capability. Our Rollins student-athletes embody that perfect blend, and it has been a true joy to dedicate my career to supporting them and watching them passionately pursue those endeavors.”

During Parker’s 21 years at Rollins, she has devoted her career to improving the student-athlete experience not only at the College but in the SSC as a whole through serving on several national committees.

Parker’s introduction to Division II was in compliance and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) oversight during her first four years at Rollins, but her national influence on DII began in 2015 when she was selected to serve on the NCAA Division II Management Council, of which she was later named chair in 2018.

As a board member for Women Leaders in College Sports, Parker played key roles as secretary and treasurer and served five years on the NCAA Division II Legislation Committee. She is currently the secretary of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Executive Committee and previously served on the board of directors and as president of the Division II Athletic Director’s Association (ADA).

Throughout her time on the ADA board, Parker took on the role of liaison to the DII NCAA mentoring program, showcasing her commitment to mentorship—a commitment that persists in her current role as the Division II liaison for the esteemed NCAA Pathway Program.

Parker has been resourceful in utilizing the NCAA DII Diversity Grant program, twice securing support for an assistant coach for women’s basketball. Most recently, she made a noteworthy addition to Rollins’ athletic department by hiring its first sports psychologist this past summer.

Under Parker’s leadership, student-athletes are consistently nominated for prestigious awards and participate in preeminent programs like the NCAA Career in Sports Program, the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Program, and the Apple Institute. Additionally, athletics staff under her guidance are afforded opportunities to attend conventions and conferences organized by professional organizations.

In 2013 and 2017, Parker’s outstanding contributions were celebrated by her peers as she was named the prestigious Under Armour Division II Athletics Director of the Year. Adding to her accolades, in 2020 she was honored as the Nike Administrator of the Year by Women Leaders in College Sports.

Throughout Parker’s tenure, Rollins has been recognized with the Division II President’s Awards for Academic Excellence for 12 consecutive years. The Tars’ Academic Success Rate (ASR) has led the SSC since the NCAA began calculating ASR in 2006. Under Parker’s leadership, Rollins has won three NCAA Division II national championships, 22 SSC titles, 13 SSC tournaments, and five SSC Mayor’s Cup All-Sport trophies.

The NCAA will choose one male and one female for the prestigious 2023 Division II Gold Award and present the award at the 2024 convention in Phoenix.

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