Carla Wilson was named the fourth Director of Athletics in the Division I era, made official on Monday, December 2, 2013 with a public announcement at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City. She held the position in an interim role the previous five months.
As Wilson took upon the permanent leadership role of Athletics Director, the Kangaroos began competing for the first time in the Western Athletic Conference. Wilson’s leadership in the department has touched many facets – budget, human resources, fundraising, strategic planning, facilities, sport administration, and student-athlete welfare and development.
Wilson is the first ever female and minority leader of intercollegiate athletics at UMKC, and at the time of her appointment, became the only female athletics director in the Western Athletic Conference. She is one of a few minority women serving as an athletics director at the NCAA’s 351 Division I institutions. At the time of her hire, less than 9 percent of Division I athletics directors were women; less than 4 percent were minority women. She was also the only African-American woman athletics director in Division I not at a historically black college or university.
In 2012, she was named the Division I Administrator of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators. A member of the WAC AD’s council, Wilson’s 16 years of experience in Athletics will be vital as she works with the WAC on strategic planning and branding initiatives. Well rounded in sport administration, she has been the sport administrator for 14 of the 16 sports sponsored by UMKC throughout her career – men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, men's and women's cross country, and men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field.
Partaking in program-wide administrative responsibilities, including decision making at the institutional, conference and national levels, Wilson collaboratively addresses departmental goals, supports women's interests and supports and helps manage diversity, gender equity and Title IX matters.
Prior to the AD appointment, she served as the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Business and Administration and Senior Woman Administrator since 2007. In this role, Wilson was responsible for the human resources and business operations of the department, as well as all day-to-day operations in the absence of the Director of Athletics and was the highest ranking female involved with the management of UMKC's Intercollegiate Athletics program.
As a member of the Director of Athletics senior staff, Wilson represented UMKC in dealings with the conference office and the NCAA, and was responsible for the preparation, development and maintenance of the budgets for all 16 sports and nine administrative areas of the department. She also served as the sport administrator for women's basketball, men's soccer, and men's and women's tennis. Wilson served as the Assistant Athletics Director for Business Operations for nine years prior to her time as Senior Associate Athletics Director.
Wilson, who is an active member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, the College Athletic Business Management Association and the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association, is a 2010 graduate of the NCAA Fellows Leadership Development Program. The 18-month program was developed with the specific goal of enhancing the employment and leadership opportunities for racial/ethnic minorities and women at the senior management level of intercollegiate athletics administration. She is also a 2009 NACWAA HERS East graduate. Wilson is also a member of the MOAA Educational and Professional Development Committee and the Program Committee, which is responsible for programming of the MOAA Symposium held at the annual NACDA Convention. Wilson is also a frequent presenter at CABMA Conventions, and serves on the Membership and Program committees for the organization.
Wilson has also been active on NCAA committees during her time at UMKC. In 2010, Wilson began a four-year term on the NCAA Division I Women's Softball Committee, and served as the chair of the committee for 2013-14. From 2004-07, she also served on the Division I NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Committee. Both committees are responsible for selecting the teams that compete for the opportunity to play for a national championship. Since 1999, Wilson has also served on the NCAA Region V Post Graduate Scholarship Committee.
A career Kangaroo since 1988, prior to athletics Wilson served UMKC as a budget specialist in the University's administrative affairs office for four years, where she was responsible for assisting in the preparation of the University's $159 million dollar budget. From 1988-93, she also served in the accounting department as a senior accountant.
Wilson graduated from UMKC in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in accounting. She and her husband Kevin, who reside in Olathe, KS, are parents to four adult children, Shae, Tristan, Kevin Jr., and Kaylan.