Stacy Martin believes participating in sport paved the way for her success, and not just because she works in the sports industry today.
“I truly believe that sports teaches you the best lessons you can learn in life; dedication, hard work, patience, physical and emotional strength, mental toughness, and importance of self-reflection. Whether it is a team or individual sport, you learn so much about yourself, your capabilities, and how you directly control your own actions” Stacy told us via email.
She competed as a gymnast at San Jose State University, lettering four years and serving as team captain in her junior and senior seasons. She also earned a M.B.A. in finance there in 2005. She currently works for the American Athletic Conference as senior associate commissioner and chief financial officer and had a hand in putting together the framework of the recent AAC women’s and men’s basketball tournaments held at Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena. She’s had an impressive track record of advancement through the collegiate sports business, a direction she started to target as she finished up her time as a competitive gymnast.
“Although I didn't set out to have this as my career, I knew once I finished my last year of gymnastics in college I wanted to stay involved some way. I worked in the athletic department and completed an assistantship with the gymnastics team. It was amazing what I learned being on the other side of the program/department,” she explained. “I immediately knew that I wanted to be one of those people who helped to create success on the field, court, gym, and classroom. That premise is what guided me into a career in collegiate athletics and still guides me to this day.”
She worked in the Spartans' ticket office, then moved to business operations in 2003 and eventually became the senior associate athletics director/chief operating officer and the program’s senior woman administrator. She went from there to Kansas State, then to the University of Memphis. She worked for The American as CFO before moving to the University of North Texas for three years before returning to the conference in 2019.
She’s managed multi-million dollar budgets that encompass both men’s and women’s sports. Stacy credits Title IX with having lifted the prospects of the latter. She wants to do her part to continue that momentum.
We have seen tremendous growth in opportunities and investments for female athletes that would not have been possible without Title IX.
- Stacy Martin
From a collegiate athletics standpoint, I feel we have seen tremendous growth in opportunities and investments for female athletes that would not have been possible without Title IX. The opportunities that are now available for female athletes, coaches and administrators have increased tremendously since even I was an athlete and that is part of what drives me in my own career.
Stacy started as an athlete at the age of two, competing mostly in gymnastics with a few forays into diving mixed in. The Omaha, Nebraska native earned state gymnastics titles there for both her club and high school before going to California for college. She credits those who influenced her during that time with setting her on the path to success.
“From my parents, to my sister, family members, coaches, teammates, etc., I was fortunate to have a family that invested in my gymnastics career and were willing make the sacrifices necessary to support me in the sport of gymnastics,” she said. “My top inspiration always was and still is my parents. They represent everything I am today and have taught me to be independent, driven, and appreciative in life.”
Now, as someone in a position to influence young athletes, she hopes to help create an atmosphere conducive to developing the next Stacy Martins.
“I am a believer of the "a rising tide lifts all boats" theory. We need to be thankful for what we have and continue to support success in all aspects of sport to create opportunities for everyone who strives to be the best they can be. Setting examples and pathways for female athletes to succeed is something we all should be striving for in athletics administration.”