JACKSON, Miss. – Jackson State University Vice President / Director of Athletics Ashley Robinson has been selected as a winner of the prestigious 2021-2022 Cushman & Wakefield Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of College Directors of Athletics.
A total of 28 winners were announced of the Cushman & Wakefield AD of the Year Award. The award spans seven divisions (NCAA FBS, FCS, Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior College/Community Colleges). Winners will be recognized in conjunction with the 57th Annual NACDA & Affiliates Convention at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, prior to the Featured Session on Tuesday, June 28 at 4 p.m.
The Athletic Director of The Year Award highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses, and their surrounding communities.
“On behalf of the entire Jackson State University family, I’d like to congratulate AD Robinson on being named Athletic Director of the Year,” said President Thomas K. Hudson, J.D. “Ashley is an exceptional talent who has worked tirelessly to elevate the JSU athletics program. This recognition is well deserved.”
Completing his fourth year as athletic director at Jackson State, Robinson has continued to improve JSU athletics in the classroom and in competition. JSU student-athletes combined to post a 3.19 grade-point average in Fall 2021, with 10 of JSU’s programs earning at least at 3.0 GPA.
Among the on-field highlights during the past year, Jackson State won its first Southwestern Athletic Conference football championship since 2007. Women’s basketball became the first team in the SWAC in more than decade to win three consecutive league regular season championships.
Always visionary and forward-thinking, three of Robinson’s football hires, all first-time college head coaches at the time, earned postseason play in Fall 2021. Willie Simmons, whom Robinson hired at Prairie View A&M in 2015, led Florida A&M to an at-large berth in the FCS Playoffs, the first for a SWAC school in more than 20 years. Eric Dooley, who Robinson hired to replace Simmons prior to the 2017 season, led Prairie View A&M to the SWAC Football Championship game for the first time since 2009.
In perhaps his boldest decision, Robinson and JSU leadership named Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders as head coach of Jackson State. The hire of Sanders not only galvanized JSU football but transformed college athletics on and off the field. Sanders led JSU to an 11-2 record and the SWAC Championship in 2021 while elevating the Jackson State University brand to become one of the most recognized in sports and culture today. Jackson State set an FCS in football attendance last fall, averaging more than 42,000 fans.
“Ashley Robinson is the reason Jackson State Athletics are what they are,” Sanders said. “His commitment to excellence, always striving to improve the present, and the consistency he displays is a blessing to our programs. I got love for my A.D. who also serves as my brother in the tremendous challenges we face at HBCUs. He gives us an advantage in our fight for equality.“