New position created to establish NU For Life professional development program for student-athletes
Janna Blais began her Northwestern career on February 15, 2010. As deputy director of athletics at Northwestern, Blais leads and manages all student-athlete welfare departments: compliance, academic services, sports performance and athletic training. She serves as the department's liaison at Big Ten and NCAA meetings, and internally, is the liaison to the admissions, financial aid and provost offices, as well as the committee for athletics and recreation (CAR). Blais also serves as the sport administrator for men's and women's soccer and women's lacrosse, and serves as a secondary supervisor for women's basketball.
In 2013, Blais received the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) Administrator of the Year award for Division I FBS. The award is presented annually to the NACWAA members for their significant contributions made as athletics administrators. Blais was nominated by her peers and selected by the NACWAA Awards Committee for her service during the 2012-13 academic year.
Within the Big Ten, Blais currently serves on the Joint Group Executive Committee and Administrators Council and is part of several subcommittees including the Compliance and Reinstatement Subcommittee, Legislative Review Committee, Drug Testing Review Subcommittee, and the Sports Management Committee.
Blais came to Northwestern after 10 plus years at Bowling Green State University. While at Bowling Green, she was responsible for the supervision, evaluation and overall management of men's basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball, women's gymnastics, men's soccer, women's soccer, softball, baseball and women's swimming. Her duties also included the administration of the athletic training and strength and conditioning areas; coordinating the development of travel, recruiting and operating budgets and approving expenditures for 11 separate sport and support areas; monitoring/evaluating the department's progress toward meeting the goals and objectives of both the five-year Gender Equity and Minority Opportunity plans; and approving and monitoring grant-in-aid recommendations and letter of intent forms.
During her time at Bowling Green, Blais served a four-year term on the NCAA Division I Softball Committee. Blais chaired this NCAA Committee in her final year (2006-07). In addition, Blais was chair of the MAC Senior Administrators group and a member of the three-person MAC Executive Committee.
Prior to her Bowling Green tenure, Blais served three years as the assistant director of athletics for institutional compliance/SWA at the University of Hartford.
Blais also has experience in the coaching field. In 1995-96, she served as the assistant softball coach at her alma mater, the University of Connecticut. There she assisted the head coach in coordinating recruiting efforts for the highly competitive Division I softball program.
Blais is a graduate of the 2009 NACWAA Institute for Athletics Executives, the 2005 DIA Athletic Director's Institute, and the 2000 NACWAA/HERS Institute for Administrative Advancement. She is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Society, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators, and the National Association of Collegiate Director of Athletics.
A native of Lakeville, Mass., Blais earned her undergraduate degree in sports medicine/athletic training in 1993 from the University of Connecticut, where she played softball. She served as captain as a senior, helping the team to a fifth-place finish in the Women's College World Series. In her final two seasons, she was named East Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year while earning All-America honors. She also was named Big East Player of the Year three times in her career. In 1995, Blais earned her NATA certification in athletic training and in 1996 completed her master's degree in sport management from Connecticut. She and her husband, Michael, have two young sons, Brady (9) and Jace (5).