FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Athletics Department has announced the addition of Erica Nelson as the Director of Student-Athlete Development. Nelson will start her appointment on August 14.
“I’m really excited to join the Razorbacks family and want to thank Jeff Long and Derita Ratcliffe for the confidence they’ve placed in me to lead this tremendous program,” said Nelson. “I look forward to working with the administration, coaches and staff to support our great student-athletes’ personal and career development.”
In this position, Nelson will implement and conduct life skills programming that will enhance the total development of the student-athlete academically, athletically, socially, and personally, with an emphasis on enlisting the support of and participation by coaches, athletics department staff, and staff from the Office of Student-Athletes Success.
Nelson will serve as Arkansas’ advisor for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, direct the student-athlete drug testing program and serve on the athletic department’s Performance Team.
“Developing student-athletes on and off the field is at the very core of what we do in Razorback Athletics,” said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “With Erica serving as the director of our student-athlete development team, the young men and women in our program will benefit from her personal experience as a student-athlete as well as her extensive personal and professional development experience in both intercollegiate and professional sports. We are pleased to welcome Erica to the Razorback Family.”
Nelson is familiar with the Southeastern Conference joining the Razorbacks after seven years as the Director of Life Skills and Community Outreach for the University of South Carolina Athletic Department. With the Gamecocks, Nelson managed the life skills programs, directed the athletic department’s community outreach programs and was the advisor for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
In addition to her work in higher education, Nelson has worked with the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the NYC2012 Olympic Bidding Committee.
While with the NBA, Nelson worked in player development executing programming that supported the personal and professional development of players. One of her primary projects was working with the “Rookie Transition Program”, educating incoming players about their newfound responsibilities as a professional athlete.
As the sports manager for NYC2012, Nelson recruited and managed more than 2,000 Olympians and Paralympians worldwide who supported New York City’s bid to host the 2012 Games. Nelson began her career in sports as an intern at the Women’s Sports Foundation, founded by tennis legend, Billie Jean King.
Outside of her professional responsibilities, she also served for seven years on the National Board of Directors for WISE (Women in Sports and Events), a national networking organization for women working in the sports and events industries. In 2005 she was recognized by EBONY magazine as one of 30 “Leaders of the Future” age 30 and below.
Nelson is a graduate of California State University, Dominguez Hills (Carson, California), where she was a member of the basketball team. She earned a master’s degree in sport management from Slippery Rock University (Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania) where she worked as a graduate assistant for the women’s basketball team.