SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Game Changers

Game Changers: Chris Plonsky

SUSAN ALLEN SIGMON
Plonsky has helped steer Texas through the changing
college landscape.
Chris Plonsky
University of Texas
Women's Athletics Director

When a team of representatives from the University of Texas traveled last month to meet with their counterparts from the University of Oklahoma in an effort to keep the Big 12 Conference together, three key officials were part of the mission. UT President Bill Powers was accompanied by Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds and Women’s AD Chris Plonsky.

While Powers and Dodds have been front and center during recent talks about lightning-rod topics like conference realignment and the Longhorn Network, Texas hasn’t made a move without the input of Plonsky, who carries the dual role of running UT’s women’s sports as well as serving as director of external services for both the men’s and women’s programs.

Plonsky has been linked to any number of jobs in college sports and even jobs related to her other passion, golf, but she has stayed at Texas for 23 years, carving out a place as one of the school’s most influential administrators. She played a hands-on role with the formation of the Longhorn Network, working day to day with multimedia rights partner IMG College and media partner ESPN to establish the groundbreaking channel. She also oversees Texas’ monstrous licensing department, which has generated more royalties than any other Collegiate Licensing Co. school for the last six years.

— Michael Smith
  • First job: Selling hot dogs in concession stands at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio.
  • Biggest professional disappointment: I never utilized my journalism degree to write-report on sports full time at a big daily newspaper or at Sports Illustrated (latter was a dream from junior high on).
  • Woman in sports business you'd most like to meet: Sheila Johnson, vice chair and managing partner, Washington Mystics.
  • If I had to do it all over again, I would …: Have not spent as much time playing hoops and learned to play golf earlier than age 32.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“She knows that every dollar she helps us generate for Texas is a dollar she and DeLoss Dodds can turn into a better quality academic and athletic experience for UT’s student athletes. It is that passion for the student athletes that drives Chris.”

  • Tom Stultz, senior vice president, managing director, IMG College
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