Jean Lenti Ponsetto -- pictured with Ben Westley at DePaul's 2011-12 Athletics Award Banquet.
June 22, 2012
CHICAGO - As chair of the executive committee for the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, DePaul athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto will appear on ESPNU Saturday as part of the Honda Sports Awards presentation.
The award show starts at 2 p.m. CT on the 40th anniversary of Title IX and can be seen on ESPNU.
Now in its 36th year, the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding female athletes in NCAA-member colleges and universities around the country. The program's highest honor goes annually to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year, who is awarded with the prestigious Honda Cup. Past winners include Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mia Hamm, Lisa Fernandez, Misty May, Courtney Kupets and Candace Parker.
Ponsetto, who is recognized by her peers as a Title IX Trailblazer, will introduce the show which will be broadcast live for the first time in the award's 36 year history.
Ponsetto who came through DePaul as a student-athlete in the 70s was a four-time captain of the women's basketball team while she also played softball, volleyball and tennis. Following her successful playing career, Ponsetto served in various coaching roles, before moving into an administrative role and introduced four women's sports -- indoor and outdoor track, cross country and women's soccer -- to varsity status. She has helped DePaul transition from an independent into the Great Midwest, Conference USA and the BIG EAST Conference, where she is currently the only female athletic director; she was named to this position in 2002.
Ponsetto was the first woman to serve as Chair of the 49-member NCAA Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet. She led the movement that expanded championship opportunities to include all Division I conference champions. She also was a member of the Division I Budget Committee and served as an adviser to the NCAA President during negotiations with ESPN, yielding additional championship appearances and revenue. She served on the Division I Women's Basketball Committee from 1992-98 and was chair of the committee her final two years. Ponsetto has served on many national boards including the NCAA Life Skills Taskforce, Men's Basketball Enhancement Group, Honda Awards Board of Directors and the Wade Trophy Selection Committee. Ponsetto is a past president of NACWAA and the NACDA Division I-AAA Board of Directors.
The Honda Award broadcast highlights a full day of programming on the ABC and ESPN platforms on June 23rd. Saturday's multi-network programming will be tied together, beginning at 11:30 p.m. (CT), through studio segments from ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters. ESPN soccer analyst and espnW contributor Julie Foudy will host with former collegiate and WNBA women's basketball star Sheryl Swoopes. The studio set will be Title IX-themed using set colors based on the animation and The Power of IX logo. ESPN anchor Sara Walsh will report from the AAU Girls' National Volleyball Championship from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.