As a child in North Carolina, Erica Holmes found her passion: sports. Today, she is responsible for helping run the American Athletic Conference Men's and Women's basketball tournament, which was recently contested in Fort Worth
“My first love in life was sports. I played every sport growing up and loved every minute of it.” she told us.
Erica felt fortunate to have a pair of strong women in her life who supported her as she dreamed big on fields and courts.
“My grandmother and mother were my inspirations growing up - two of the strongest, hard-working, supportive, loving, dedicated, and caring women I know,” she said. “They were the best examples to have growing up and supported every dream/aspiration I had.”
As one might imagine, her first big goal revolved around athletics.
“In middle school and early high school decided I wanted to play collegiate basketball. I attended and played at Denison University.”
After playing four years and starting 27 of 28 games as a senior at the Ohio Division III school, she went to the University of Louisville where she earned a Master’s Degree in Sport Administration. There she got a head start working in her chosen field.
“My life has taken its path because of sports and so many incredible women athletes."
“While at Louisville, I was the Operations Assistant for the women’s basketball program. After graduating from Louisville, I accepted the Director of Basketball Operations position for the University of Cincinnati Women’s basketball program,” she explained.
The Cincinnati Bearcats compete in the American Athletic Conference, and Erica found her next job when she moved to the conference last fall to assume a role as their Director of Women’s Basketball Operations and Sport Administration. Her postseason responsibilities include the American Athletic Conference Men's and Women's basketball tournament, which occurred this March at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth.
As she works with student-athletes, she keeps perspective on how the opportunities she facilitates for them became possible.
“The impact of Title IX on women’s sports is significant. The law has opened doors and removed barriers for girls and women,” she noted, while also emphasizing that women’s sport can advance even further. “Even though it has opened the doors, we still need to continue to push forward and make sure girls and women get as many opportunities as possible.”
Erica’s own career path shows what sports can do for her gender.
“The skills I learned while playing sports, teamwork, communication, leadership, overcoming adversity, time management, organization, and problem solving helped me reach the position I’m on today,” she said. “My life has taken its path because of sports and so many incredible women athletes and women before me played a major role in making sure I was able to have those opportunities.”
Fort Worth Sports has created a series of blog posts in conjunction with the 50th year of Title IX. Each article will profile a woman who has made substantial contributions to the vibrant Fort Worth sports scene.