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Volume 22 No. 26
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Kathy Beauregard, Western Michigan University

Photo: Ashley Huss / Western Michigan Athletics

Kathy Beauregard 

Director of Athletics, Western Michigan University
Born: Kalamazoo, Mich.
Education: B.A., Hope College, M.A., Western Michigan University

Get involved. That was one of the first pieces of advice Kathy Beauregard heard when she was named athletic director at Western Michigan 21 years ago.

As a member of the NCAA’s bowl certification committee in the late 1990s, Beauregard was struck by the oversized championship rings each of the men in the group wore. Her mind wandered as she thought about the ring she’d wear when her Broncos won a Mid-American Conference football championship.

Beauregard had to wait nearly two decades, but Western Michigan got its rings after the magical 2016 season when it went 13-0 before falling to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl.

“What I dreamed my entire career about was happening,” Beauregard said.

The long trip from gymnastics coach in 1979 to being one of just seven female ADs in FBS when she was hired in 1997 enabled Beauregard to raise her family in her hometown of Kalamazoo and eventually become the longest-tenured AD in the conference.

As she manages a $31 million annual budget, Beauregard is solving the challenges that come with being AD at a school outside the power five, which includes capitalizing on WMU’s dream season in 2016. Since then, 40 percent of the donations to the university have been directed to athletics, giving her department a critical spike in funding.

“It’s not a job I ever believed I’d have because there just weren’t that many women in AD roles,” she said. “But every time a woman fills one of those jobs, there is a sense of pride.”

— Michael Smith

Getting to know...

Attribute I look for when hiring: I look for inspirational and engaging teachers. 
Proudest professional achievement: Building the opportunity for Western Michigan University to have an undefeated season (13-0) [and] be selected to play in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.
Woman in sports business I’d like to meet: Venus and Serena Williams would be a dream of mine to meet. … Sharing their ability to build an empire in business and captivating the world’s best.
Role of sports in social issues: Sports has always played a role in addressing social issues and my best example is Muhammad Ali. Sports brings and draws attention to social issues more than any other activity or profession. It opens dialogue and attention to conversation that challenges us to think outside our normal comfort zones.