Rhonda Lundin Bennett, senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator at Nevada and former chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, will be returning to the committee in 2021 to assume the vacancy left by Tamica Smith Jones, the outgoing director of athletics at UC Riverside. Smith Jones was recently named chief operating officer for athletics at Kennesaw State, creating a committee opening.

Bennett will serve on the committee in place of Smith Jones for the rest of her 2021 committee term, which concludes Aug. 31. Bennett previously was a member of the committee from 2014 to 2019, serving as chair in 2017-18 and 2018-19. She also previously was a member of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee. Smith Jones has served on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee since 2016.

“We are thrilled that Rhonda was available, willing and able to return to the committee,” said Lynn Holzman, the NCAA’s vice president of women’s basketball. “Her recent committee service and selections experience combined with her knowledge of the new women’s basketball NCAA Evaluation Tool made her the perfect replacement at this point in the season. This is a unique circumstance, given the timing of the vacancy and need for the committee to fill the position with an individual who can immediately step in and provide experience and expertise. We congratulate Tamica on her new role at Kennesaw State and thank her for her many committee contributions over the last five years.”

MARCH IS COMING: 2021 DI Women’s Basketball Championship planning announced

A member of the Nevada athletics department since September 2005, Bennett currently oversees assigned Wolf Pack sports teams. She also provides direction for the sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and video support units in the department. She is a deputy Title IX coordinator for the university and Nevada’s NCAA athletics health care administrator. She also oversees Nevada’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the department’s community service efforts.

Before Nevada, Bennett spent six years at Arizona State and worked in the Kansas State and Minnesota athletics departments. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern in 1996, where she got her start in college athletics as a student intern in the sports information office.

“I am honored about this unique opportunity to step in to serve and am ready to carry forward the momentum that Tamica was working towards for the upcoming selections and championship,” Bennett said. “The NCAA women’s basketball championship has always been near and dear to my heart, and I look forward to contributing to a memorable championship experience for all in 2021.”

In addition to Bennett, the committee now includes chair Nina King, senior deputy athletics director and chief of staff at Duke; Deneé Barracato, deputy director of athletics at Northwestern; Greg Burke, director of athletics at Northwestern State; Beth Goetz, director of athletics at Ball State; Kurt McGuffin, director of intercollegiate athletics at UT Martin; Lisa Peterson, deputy athletics director at Oregon; Derita Ratcliffe Dawkins, deputy athletics director at Arkansas; Debbie Richardson, senior associate commissioner at the Atlantic 10 Conference; and Jill Shields, deputy athletics director at Kansas State.

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