FAYETTEVILLE – Waga Damuni, associate director for academics at the University of Arkansas, recently graduated from the NCAA’s 2010 Leadership Institute for Ethnic Minority Males and Females.
Damuni, who works with the Razorback football team, attended four consecutive weekend development sessions and a week-long workshop with the purpose of expanding their experience in leadership roles.
The courses included leadership and administration, human resource management, finance and fundraising, booster, public and media relations and inner game of leadership sessions.
"This was an extremely valuable experience," Damuni said. "The institute has allowed me to grow and expand as a leader, both personally and professionally and I look forward to sharing and applying my new found insight here at Arkansas. I commend the NCAA for their vision on diversity and Inclusion and would like to thank them, and the athletic department for allowing me to be part of the 2010 Ethnic Minority Leadership Institute."
The NCAA Leadership Institute established its educational program in 2001 providing support for the shortage of senior-level ethnic minority females and males in athletics. Deedee Brown-Campbell, coordinator of athletic diversity Initiatives and associate director for academics, and Eric Wood, assistant athletic director for student-athlete development, with the Razorbacks, are both 2008-09 graduates of the program.
Damuni is in his second year with the Razorbacks and ninth as an academic coordinator to student-athletes at the Division I level. Joining Arkansas from Colorado, Damuni’s responsibilities with the Razorbacks include tracking NCAA initial and continuing eligibility, coordinating the academic affairs for football student-athletes, and assisting the coaching staff with on-campus recruiting and day-to-day operations.
Prior to joining the Razorbacks, Damuni made stops at Colorado, Memphis and his alma mater, Utah State, where he was an assistant director, counselor and graduate assistant, respectively. Some of the duties he has held include implementing a monitoring and reporting program for student-athletes and working with numerous men’s and women’s teams by assisting each of his coaching staffs via a shared academic vision of the university with prospective student-athletes.
Damuni was a counselor for the State of Utah Juvenile Justice Services serving in different capacities including detention, family crisis intervention and community outreach services. He also served as the liaison between the Juvenile Justice Services and the Hispanic community in the Cache Valley area. He is fluent in Spanish after serving a two-year church mission in Monterrey, Mexico.
Damuni earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Utah State University in Logan, Utah. He received his bachelors of art degree in sociology in 1998 with minors in social work and Spanish. He went on to earn a master’s in business information systems in 2005. He began his football career as a tight end at Dixie Junior College in St. George, Utah, and was recruited to Utah State by Coach Bobby Petrino. A three-year letterman, he helped the Aggies win back-to-back Big West Conference championships.
A native of Laie, Hawai’i, he is married to the former Val Tonga of Millbrae, Calif. They have seven children – Emosi (12), Levani (11), Junior (9), Jovesa (8), Lavinia (6),Lusiana (3) and newborn baby Damien.