WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.
- Monmouth University Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Marilyn McNeil announced the 2012 honoree at the school's annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, to be celebrated on February 11, is ESPN Vice President, Carol Stiff. Stiff, the 2012 recipient of the Rebecca Stafford Leadership Award, was promoted to vice president at ESPN in 2010.
"Carol Stiff has been an advocate of all women in sport, and has single-handedly grown the production and perception of women’s sports on television," stated McNeil. "She is a consummate professional who represents ESPN and the sporting world with a passion and expertise that is unmatched!"
Monmouth head women's basketball coach Jenny Palmateer, who was involved with the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, along with Stiff added, “I cannot think of a person more deserving of the 2012 Rebecca Stafford Award than Carol Stiff. Carol is a winner in every sense of the word, and her passion, commitment and dedication to the advancement and promotion of women’s sports has been invaluable. Under Carol’s leadership, women’s sports have gained national exposure and continue to grow each and every year. I am very grateful and beyond appreciative for all she has done!”
Stiff was promoted to vice president, programming & acquisitions in ESPN’s programming department in April 2010. She previously was senior director, programming & acquisitions, a position she assumed in November 2005. Before that advancement, Stiff had been director, programming & acquisitions and program manager, programming & acquisitions.
In her current role, Stiff is involved in the programming acquisition and scheduling for a variety of sports on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, including NCAA women’s basketball, NCAA championships (the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, Frozen Four, College World Series and Women’s College World Series), WNBA, professional softball and more.
Stiff, who joined ESPN in 1990, worked as a program planner before receiving a promotion to program planner II in 1997 and senior program planner in 2000. Before joining ESPN, she gained experience in the college coaching profession.
From 1988-89, Stiff was the first assistant women’s basketball coach and recruiter at Brown University after serving as head women’s basketball coach and physical education instructor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. from 1985-88. Stiff began her coaching career at Western Connecticut State University where she served as head field hockey coach and assistant women’s basketball coach from 1983-85. She also worked as a part-time elementary school physical education teacher.
A member of ESPN’s employee committee in support of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, Stiff has been a leader on behalf of the company’s efforts to benefit The Foundation. She was instrumental in the development of the Jimmy V Week and in raising awareness for the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund in partnership with The V Foundation.
Stiff is a member of several professional groups, including the Women’s Sports Foundation, appointed to the USA Women’s Basketball Standing Committee, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors and has served as a panelist and/or lecturer for several sports-related events. Adding to her list of credentials, Stiff was inducted into the Connecticut Basketball Hall of Fame in April 2005; was named the “Top Advocate for Women’s Basketball” by the Tampa Tribune in 2008; in 2009 Sports Business Journal recognized her as one of the most influential executives leading the way in women’s sports; and was recently awarded the 2011WBCA Mel Greenberg Media Award for her commitment to women’s basketball and advancing the role of the media in the game.
Stiff graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. While in school, she competed in both basketball and field hockey. In 1989, Stiff received her master’s degree in human performance/physical education from SCSU. She is a native of Bernardsville, N.J.
On February 11th, when the Hawks face Fairleigh Dickinson in Northeast Conference action, Monmouth University will celebrate the 25th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day. At halftime of the women’s basketball game, Monmouth will be honoring student-athletes from local middle schools, student-athletes from all of its women’s teams, and the 2012 Rebecca Stafford Leadership Award recipient, Stiff.
As part of the day's "Think Pink" festivities to help increase breast cancer awareness on campus and in the community, Monmouth will host a reception for the honorees, parents and some valued supporters of women’s athletics, as well as past honorees. After the reception MU Athletics will host a conference for middle school girls that will focus on developing confidence and leadership.
Past recipients of the Rebecca Stafford Leadership Award, named for former Monmouth University President, Rebecca Stafford, include Pat Millines (1998), Nancy Welch Williams (1999), Patrice Murray (2001), Joan Martin (2002), Jane Freed (2003), Christie Pearce Rampone (2005), Trudy Parton (2006), Sherry Herman (2010) and Kelly Kulick (2011).