Wendy Fallen, Big Ten Conference
Wendy Fallen was the first Michigan gymnast to win the Big Ten’s all-around title when she was a freshman with the Wolverines. She didn’t know it at the time, but that conference championship was just the start of a career spent in Big Ten athletics.
An associate commissioner and member of Commissioner Jim Delany’s senior staff, Fallen has touched all aspects of competition, both inside the conference and outside it.
She schedules it, plans it and executes it. One of her colleagues in the Big Ten office said Fallen’s influence can be felt across all aspects of the 28 sports sponsored by the conference, ranging from awards and honors, championship formats, scheduling, player gifts and television. String that across 10,000 competing student athletes and it’s not hard to see what keeps her busy.
“This, for many of them, is going to be the biggest stage they compete on, and I want it to feel like that for them,” Fallen said. “First and foremost, we want them to have a first-class experience.”
Fallen also has played a pivotal role in reshaping the NCAA gymnastics championships with a new format and revolutionizing the scheduling process for the Big Ten’s Olympic sports to create a more sophisticated online method than the old spreadsheets.
“When you think about our ability to accomplish things like keeping the student athletes off the road during exams, we’ve come a long way,” she said. — Michael Smith