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LEAD1 Association Announces McLendon Minority Scholarship Winners

May 29, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The LEAD1 Association announced the 10 recipients of the minority scholarship award from the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation for the 2018 LEAD1 Institute.

The LEAD1 Association annually conducts the Institute, a three-day educational forum where experienced athletics directors teach and share information and know-how with the Institutes' participants. Typically, these are senior level FBS associate athletics directors nominated by their universities' athletics directors to attend the program. The goal of the Institute is to better prepare the participants to ascend into the role of athletics director. This year's Institute will be held July 16-18, 2018 at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas.

"The McLendon Foundation is proud to once again partner with the LEAD1 Association to provide support for aspiring athletics directors," said Lee Reed, McLendon Foundation President and Director of Athletics at Georgetown University. "Just as the Foundation supports and invests in young people with our postgraduate scholarships, we are committed to assisting with the development of our minority colleagues to ensure a healthy pipeline of promising administrators for the future."

The winners of the scholarships, who were nominated by their schools, are:

Marcus Blossom is the Associate Athletics Director for Business and Administration at Boston College. Prior to joining the Eagles, Blossom was the Associate Athletics Director, Business Operations at Providence College. Blossom earned his bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance at Northeastern University, a master's degree in Sport Management from West Virginia University and an MBA from the University of Rhode Island. While at Northeastern, Blossom was a three-time GTE District I Academic All-American and three-time all-conference selection in men's basketball.

Gaylord Greene, who recently completed a 20-plus-year military career and retired as lieutenant colonel, is in his first year as an Associate Athletics Director with the Army Athletics Association at the United States Military Academy. Among the military schools Greene completed were the Artillery Officer Basic Course and Artillery Officer Advance Course. He graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College in 2007 and received an MBA from James Madison University in 2003. Green earned two varsity letters as a member of the Army football team in 1991 and 1992.

Darrice Griffin is the Deputy Director of Administration at University of Georgia. She previously held the role of Deputy Director of Athletics at University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst and was a senior athletics administrator at UMass since 2015. Griffin was a standout basketball student-athlete at Texas Tech, graduating in 2007 with cum laude honors in psychology. She was a four-time recipient of the Texas Tech Student-Athlete Merit Award, a two-time Academic All-Big 12 Conference honoree and was named an Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar in 2007.

James Hall is the Associate Athletics Director, Student Development at New Mexico State University. He has been with the Aggies since 2006. Prior to joining New Mexico State, Hall was the founder and CEO of Majority of One Brands, a group that creates educational and business development opportunities for students and athletes at the high school, collegiate and professional level. He received his bachelor's degree in Speech Communication from Iowa State University and his master's degree in Higher Education and Personnel Services, also from Iowa State.

China Jude, the Assistant Vice President and Athletics Director at Queens College, N.Y., was named Senior Associate Athletics Director for Administration/Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) at the University of Wyoming on Jan. 8, 2018. Jude served as Assistant Vice President and Athletics Director at Queens College for over six years, assuming those duties in August 2011. A native of Waukegan, Ill., Jude completed her bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from Alabama State in 1994. She earned a master's degree in sports administration and marketing from the United States Sports Academy in 1996. Jude completed her doctor of education (Ed.D.) in athletics administration from Northcentral University in 2017.

Mario Morris is the Associate Athletics Director for Business Operations at University of Wisconsin (UW), a position he has held since 2015. Prior to joining UW in 2011, Morris worked for several years in the financial services industry. He received his law degree from UW in 2006 and earned his bachelor's degree in Finance from University of Alabama in 1994, where he was a starting linebacker for the team that won the national championship in 1992. Morris is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at University of Wisconsin.

Keiko Price was named Senior Associate Athletics Director, Sport Administration at University of Illinois in May 2016. She previously served as Associate Athletics Director, Academic Services since 2013. Price graduated cum laude from UCLA in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in African-American Studies. She received her master's degree in Language, Literacy and Culture from Cal Berkeley in 2004. An elite swimmer during her career at UCLA, Price was a 22-time All-American, a member of the U.S. National Team, and, at one time, held five UCLA swimming records.

Nona Richardson is Utah's Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator. Richardson came to Utah after seven years at UC Davis, where she held the title of Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director and SWA from 2011-14. In 2011-12, she also served as the Interim Athletics Director. Richardson was a standout volleyball player at Michigan State where she earned her bachelor's degree in Physical Education. Richardson received a master's degree in Human Behavior and Society from Valparaiso.

Randale Richmond is the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Compliance and Student Welfare at Old Dominion University (ODU). The Akron, Ohio, native joined ODU from Kent State University, where he spent 10 years working in student-athlete services and compliance. Richmond received his bachelor's degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in 2004 with a major in History and a minor in Sociology. He earned his master's degree in Education from Kent State in 2006.


Ayo Taylor-Dixon is Georgia Tech's Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations. Taylor-Dixon came to Georgia Tech from University of Minnesota, where he served as Senior Associate AD for Fan Engagement. Current National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) President, Taylor-Dixon was a member of the track and field team at Stephen F. Austin University, where he earned his bachelor's (Business Administration - 2000) and master's (Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Business, Communications and Kinesiology - 2002) degrees.

"The John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation continues to provide us with a unique opportunity to further the careers of some of the most accomplished individuals in athletics administration," Tom McMillen, President and CEO of the LEAD1 Association, said. "I offer each of them my sincere congratulations and look forward to working with them in July."

About the LEAD1 Association: LEAD1 is an association of the athletics directors of the 130 universities that comprise the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The primary role of the LEAD1 Association is to assist the athletics directors, the sports programs, and the personal development of student-athletes. LEAD1 supports the athletics directors of America's leading intercollegiate programs in preparing today's students to be tomorrow's leaders. The Association seeks to accomplish its mission by focusing on shaping the rules of college sports, advocating for the future, and providing services to members. For more information, please visit www.LEAD1Association.com.

About the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation: The John McLendon Minority Foundation is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization Founded and Administered by NACDA that provides educational opportunities and serves as a vehicle for networking, information and advocacy on behalf of the profession. If you have any questions regarding this program, please visit www.mclendonminorityfoundation.com.

Media Contacts:
For any questions, please contact Chevonne Mansfield, Director of Communications for the LEAD1 Association, at 540-351-7486, or by email at chevonne@lead1a.com.