Jacksonville, Florida-Edward Waters University named Dr. Ivana Rich as its new Associate Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon at the Adams-Jenkins Community Sports & Music Complex.
The announcement of Dr. Rich as the new AD is a historic one as she becomes the first African-American female to lead the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in the over 155-year history of the institution.
“We engaged our student-athletes, coaches, alumni, athletic administration, as well as our faculty and staff to be a part of listening sessions to help guide us through this process,” remarked EWU President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr. “What really resonated with me the most is the feedback from our student-athletes and Dr. Rich connected with them in a phenomenally positive way.”
Dr. Rich comes to Edward Waters after a seven-year stint at NCAA Division I and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member Norfolk State University, serving in a number of roles within the Athletic Department. Most recently, Dr. Rich served as the Acting Athletic Director at NSU, while also serving as as the Associate AD for external relations and Senior Woman Administrator, after joining the NSU student-athlete support staff in the spring of 2016. After initially serving the department’s learning specialist, Rich was promoted to assistant athletics director for academic support in the fall of 2017. She was later promoted again to associate AD for academic support prior to the start of the 2019-20 academic year and Associate AD for administration/SWA during fall of the 2021 – 2022 academic year.
She was also the department’s diversity and inclusion officer and deputy Title IX coordinator. In addition to serving as a member of the department’s senior leadership team, she has overseen the compliance and academic departments, mental health, Title IX education and programming,
marketing, and diversity and inclusion initiatives within NSU Athletics and the sports of baseball, bowling, and men’s and women’s tennis.
“I am excited to take this role here at Edward Waters, especially in the 50th anniversary of Title IX to show that there is a need for women leaders and to show that we can do this and we can sit in that seat, I believe that is critically important,” remarked Dr. Rich.
Prior to her time at Norfolk State, Dr. Rich had a short stint at Howard University, where she served as athletic academic advisor for all 19 of HU’s sports. At NSU, Dr. Rich’s academic responsibilities included providing student-athletes with academic interventions and competencies in the areas of time management, study skills, writing development and reading development. She also coordinated academic support for the football, men’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s track & field programs.
In 2015, Dr. Rich served as athletic academic support counselor at Robert Morris University. Rich was responsible for coordinating academic support for all 15 of RMU’s sports. She also served as an instructor the RMU first-year experience program. In addition to teaching FYSP, Rich taught the first-year experience study skills course designed for freshmen needing additional preparation for the college-level curriculum. Rich also assisted with the early success program and other various programs offered through the RMU center for student success.
Dr. Rich served a short stint as assistant volleyball coach at Coastal Carolina University. Rich helped lead the Lady Chanticleers to the 2014 Big South Championship and NCAA tournament appearance. Rich coached Big South Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year and three other All-Big South selections.
Prior to CCU, Dr. Rich spent three seasons as head volleyball coach at Virginia State University. The Trojans were 10-17 overall and 8-8 in CIAA play during her first season in 2011. In just a short period of time, Rich set the groundwork for a successful program. In 2012, she led the Trojans to a 15-12 overall record and 13-3 conference record. The Trojans finished second in the CIAA Northern Division and had five players named to an All-CIAA team. Rich guided her team to 14 wins during the regular season, the most wins by a VSU volleyball team since the 2004 season. Also in 2012, Dr. Rich was a recipient of the 2012 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) minority scholarship.
In her final year at VSU (2013), she led the team to a 17-11 record and a 14-2 mark in conference play. The team captured a CIAA Northern Division title and had five All-CIAA selections including the 2013 CIAA Rookie of the Year. Rich was named the 2013 CIAA Coach of the Year during her final season at VSU.
While at VSU, Dr. Rich was also a member of the department’s senior staff, serving as senior woman administrator and student-athlete affairs coordinator. In that role, she coordinated all life skills programming to include career development, leadership development, personal development and community service initiatives. Dr. Rich also served as the advisor to the student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC). During her tenure at VSU, the department was awarded the NCAA Division II Community Engagement Award.
Prior to VSU, Dr. Rich served as the volunteer assistant coach at Chowan University, helping lead the Hawks to a CIAA championship in 2010.
Dr. Rich played four years as a part of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) women’s volleyball program, playing both middle blocker and right-side hitter. As a senior captain, she help lead the Lady Rams to the first regular-season conference championship in school history. During her tenure at VCU, she was awarded All-CAA first team (2008), All-CAA second team (2009), CAA all-tournament team (2009) and COBRA Magazine All-National third team (2009). Rich also broke two school records, the VCU all-time blocks record and the single-season hitting percentage record.
Dr. Rich earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from VCU, a master’s degree in sport management from Virginia State, a master’s degree in human services counseling from Liberty University, and a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction/educational technology from the University of South Carolina. She is a graduate of the NCAA Women Coaches Academy and a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) and Women Leaders in College Sports. Rich is also a member of the 2022 NCAA Charles Whitcomb Leadership Institute and currently serves as a subcommittee lead of the N4A Ethnic Concerns Regional Outreach Committee.
Dr. Rich is a legacy member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and is also the proud mother of a six-year-old daughter, Melanie Rich.