Edward Waters University made history on Tuesday with the announcement of its first African-American woman to lead the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in the over 155-year history of the institution.

Dr. Ivana Rich was named the Associate Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon at the Adams-Jenkins Community Sports & Music Complex.

“We engaged our student-athletes, coaches, alumni, athletic administration, as well as our faculty and staff to be a part of listening sessions to help guide us through this process,” said EWU President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr. “What really resonated with me the most is the feedback from our student-athletes and Dr. Rich connected with them in a phenomenally positive way.”

Dr. Ivana Rich has had a long-standing career in athletics with experience at many different universities.

Dr. Rich comes to Edwards Waters after a seven-year stint at Norfolk State University, where she served in numerous positions such as the acting athletic director, associate athletic director for external relations, and senior woman administrator. She was also the department’s diversity and inclusion officer and deputy Title IX coordinator.

Prior to her time at Norfolk State, Dr. Rich held positions at many other institutions such as Howard University, Robert Morris University, Coastal Carolina University, Virginia State University, and Chowan University.

She served as the athletic academic advisor for all sports at Howard, and in 2015 she was the athletic academic support counselor at Robert Morris University. She also served a short stint as assistant volleyball coach at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) where she helped lead the Lady Chanticleers to the 2014 Big South Championship and NCAA tournament appearance. Prior to CCU, Dr. Rich spent three seasons as head volleyball coach at Virginia State University and was named the 2013 CIAA Coach of the Year during her final season. While at Virginia State, Dr. Rich was also a member of the department’s senior staff, serving as senior woman administrator and student-athlete affairs coordinator.

“I am excited to take this role here at Edward Waters, especially in the 50th anniversary of Title IX to show that there is a need for women leaders and to show that we can do this and we can sit in that seat, I believe that is critically important,”

– Dr. Ivana Rich on her new postion at Edward Waters University

Dr. Rich earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she played both middle-blocker and right-side hitter for the women’s volleyball program. As a senior captain, she helped lead the Lady Rams to the first regular-season conference championship in school history. She also broke two school records, the VCU all-time blocks record and the single-season hitting percentage record.

Dr. Rich continued her education at Virginia State where she earned her master’s degree in sport management. She then obtained a master’s degree in human services counseling from Liberty University, and a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction/educational technology from the University of South Carolina.

She is a graduate of the NCAA Women Coaches Academy and a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics and Women Leaders in College Sports. Dr. Rich is also a member of the 2022 NCAA Charles Whitcomb Leadership Institute and currently serves as a subcommittee lead of the N4A Ethnic Concerns Regional Outreach Committee.

Dr. Rich says she has found her new “home” at Edward Waters University.

“To be offered the position and to be the finalist for the position, I felt like things were coming into place,” Dr. Rich said. “I felt like I’d found a home when they called me and said, ‘You are our final selection.’”