ETSU athletics to present first ever Spherion PathMaker Award

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Annual luncheon will honor individuals who have contributed

 to providing equal opportunity for women



            JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 16, 2008) - The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association will host the first annual Spherion PathMaker Award Luncheon April 24th in the Grand Soldiers Ballroom at the Carnegie Hotel. The recipient of the first-ever award will be named at the luncheon.


            The Spherion PathMaker Award will be given annually to an individual who has contributed significantly to the development and success of young women, and to the advancement of opportunities for all women in their chosen field of endeavor. The award specifically celebrates the importance that participation in sports has in developing character, confidence and self esteem for today's young women. Recognizing that the stereotype of the female has changed dramatically since the inception of Title IX legislation, we now have an entire generation of parents who overwhelmingly encourage their daughters as they participate in sports.


            "We see everyday in our work at ETSU athletics just how life changing the educational and competitive experience can be for our student-athletes," said ETSU Associate Athletic Director Jo Anne Paty. "Over the last four decades, those opportunities have vastly improved for females. We hope this award does even more to recognize those achievements."


            The luncheon's keynote speaker will be Beth Bass, a 1984 graduate of ETSU and former women's basketball player for the Lady Buccaneers. Currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), Bass has enjoyed a highly successful career as both a college athletic administrator and a marketing executive for worldwide athletic apparel companies such as Nike and Converse. A recipient of ETSU's Award of Honor, which recognizes Outstanding Alumni for their accomplishments and representation of the institution, Bass certainly represents the values that the Spherion PathMaker Award will represent.


            "We are so proud that Beth will be able to return to ETSU and speak at this inaugural event," said ETSU Associate Athletic Director Barbie Breedlove. "She is an example to both our student-athletes, as well as those of us already working in our chosen field, of all the opportunities that are now available to women thanks to legislation such as Title IX. The world has certainly changed in just the last 36 years, and Beth is a real world example of how things have improved."


            Tickets to the hour-long event, which is scheduled to begin at noon, are free of charge and space is limited. Individuals wishing to attend the event can call 423-439-8398. Media questions or reservations to attend can be made by contacting Michael White at 439-4220 or e-mailing White at





            Spherion recognizes the need for stronger work force development and the benefits of being associated with programs that ensure the success of both female and male workers. Because there is a great deal of research showing that participation in athletic programs has a positive impact on educational achievement and can lead to higher wages later in life, Spherion is a proud supporter of the ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.



            The Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association's mission is to fund athletic scholarships at ETSU, and BASA holds as its core value that no goal exceeds the mandate to educate and graduate the student-athlete. The expanding role of women in our society makes scholarship support of the female student-athlete a high priority, and equally as important to the continued support of scholarship funding for male student athletes.


Beth Bass Bio


Beth Bass became Chief Executive Officer of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) on Nov. 1, 2001. Only the second individual to assume this position in the 20-year history of the WBCA, Bass is the successor of Betty F. Jaynes who retired in November 2000 from the organization she helped found. Bass assumed the role of CEO of the organization as originally stipulated during her hire by the WBCA Board of Directors in late 1996. She originally joined the WBCA in January 1997 as Executive Director.

As Chief Executive Officer, Bass administers all operational affairs for the WBCA, which boasts more than 5,000 members, including coaches and leaders in women's and girls' basketball both nationally and internationally. Bass oversees all marketing endeavors of the Atlanta-based Association. She also manages the non-profit organization's $3 million annual budget, all WBCA programs and services, and supervises the national office staff, which consists of 14 full-time staff members and 6 interns. She is also charged with overseeing the WBCA's external affairs as she takes on a more active role with affiliate organizations such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), Women's Sports Foundation (WSF) and USA Basketball.

The WBCA Board of Directors hired Bass after a highly successful tenure in the sports and fitness industry. With experience as a women's basketball and women's sports marketing executive at Converse Inc. and NIKE, Inc., Bass has been a catalyst for corporate support of women's basketball for more than 10 years. As CEO, Bass sits on several boards and committees that include the following:


At NIKE, Bass specialized in the firm's women's basketball sports marketing endeavors, including coaching endorsements, the WBCA Girls' High School All-America Game, the inaugural Nike Girls All-America Camp, and the Coaches' Extravaganza at the WBCA National Convention. Prior to NIKE, Bass served as National Sports Marketing Director at Converse from 1986 through 1995, during which time she cultivated Converse's women's basketball marketing endeavors including the renowned Converse/WBCA Coach of the Year Award.

Bass' experience at Converse was not limited to women's athletics. She coordinated several marketing and merchandise programs geared toward the global basketball audience. These efforts encompassed basketball at a variety of levels including recreational basketball with "Hoop it Up", men's college basketball with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (
NABC) and professional basketball with the NBA's All-Star Weekend.

A native of Hartsville, South Carolina, Bass was a four-year women's basketball letter winner at East Tennessee State University, where she graduated with honors in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in her double major of public relations/advertising and political science.

Upon leaving ETSU, Bass enrolled at the
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she served as a graduate assistant for marketing & promotions in the Lady Volunteers athletic department. She completed her master's degree in recreation administration at UT in 1986. In 1998, Beth received an Award of Honor from East Tennessee State, which is given each year to Outstanding Alumni recognizing outstanding accomplishment and representation of East Tennessee State. The Award only goes out to a maximum of four ETSU alumnae per year.

Bass received the President's Award from the National Association of Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) in April of 2004. She was honored for her efforts in promoting and marketing The State Farm Wade Trophy, which is the oldest and most prestigious award presented in Division I women's basketball and commonly referred to as the "Heisman of Women's Basketball." The State Farm Wade Trophy honors the late Lily Margaret Wade who pioneered an unprecedented dynasty in women's basketball, leading to the growth and popularity of the sport during the 1970's.