By: Wade Neely, Martin Methodist (Tenn.) Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications
PULASKI, Tenn. – In an effort to remain at the forefront in terms of providing the richest student-athlete experience possible, Martin Methodist (Tenn.) and the RedHawk athletic department are excited to officially announce the creation of the school's Student-Athlete Enhancement program and the hiring of Ashley White as the school's first-ever director of Student-Athlete Enhancement.
Originally included as part of the Martin 2020 long-range plan to continue growth and development throughout the campus, the program was launched at the start of the fall semester with White overseeing the S.O.A.R. (Success Over and Above the Rest) program.
Under White's leadership, S.O.A.R. will serve in a multi-pronged capacity to help provide a foundation for a successful collegiate experience as well as to help RedHawk student-athletes prepare for life after Martin Methodist.
As a program, S.O.A.R. will aim to service three critical areas for student-athletes: Academic Excellence, Personal Development and Community Service.
In addition to the foreword development the program will bring to the campus, it will also serve as another branch of the school's Champions of Character initiative.
"Ashley White's new role and the Student-Athlete Enhancement Center represent an enormous step forward for Martin Methodist," said Dr. Ted Brown, president of Martin Methodist College. "Not only is Ashley perfectly positioned to support and encourage the academic growth of our student-athletes, but the Center will be a remarkable resource for building their career and life skills."
White will spearhead the program's effort to help increase graduation and retention rates among RedHawk student-athletes. In addition to increased graduation and retention rates, S.O.A.R. is also designed to help RedHawk student-athletes have better awareness of the financial aid, scholarship and federal grant process.
White also serves as a critical liaison between the athletic department and on-campus directors as well as faculty, staff and community partners to provide personal and professional development.
"Our Student-Athlete Enhance Center has the potential to become our most influential programming on our campus," said Jeff Bain, RedHawk executive director of athletics. "We are very excited about the opportunity to hire Ashley to bring this dream to life. This program will be one of very few in the nation at an institution of our size."
Prior to her arrival at Martin Methodist, White spent a number of years working at several NCAA Division I institutions as an athletic academic coordinator and advisor.
A native of Athens, Penn., White received her B.S. degree in Health and Physical Activity from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005 and her M.S. degree in in Education with an emphasis on Sports Administration from Xavier University in 2008.
White started her career in 2009 as an intern at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn. She would shed the intern label just a few short months later, however, as she was introduced as the program's athletic academic coordinator.
Working closely with the APSU athletic department as well as the university's faculty and staff, White helped bridge the gap between athletics and academics during her four years as the program's coordinator.
In 2012, White was hired at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas as the university's athletic academic advisor.
While at UNLV, White was the direct contact for men's basketball and men's and women's swimming and diving. She closely worked with Runnin' Rebels head coach Dave Rice's team – a squad that ultimately produced NBA No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Bennett.
She is also an avid sports fan who can be heard cheering for the Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Panthers.
"I am incredibly excited about the S.O.A.R. program and the unique opportunities that it will bring to our student-athletes," White said. "With this program we have a chance to make meaningful and lasting impressions on our student-athletes. I am fortunate to be working with so many dedicated people committed to the well-being of our student-athletes, both on and off the field. It is my hope that this program provides the necessary resources for student-athletes to achieve academic excellence, personal development and ultimately success after their athletic careers."