A Q&A With Tiffany Howard, Assistant Athletics Director at Temple University

Tiffany Howard

Assistant Athletics Director for Business Operations,

Temple University

What are your responsibilities in the role of assistant athletics director for business operations at Temple University?

My primary responsibilities include assisting with the fiscal and administrative management of Temple University Athletics’ multi-million-dollar budget. This includes overseeing and directing the daily operation and administration of the athletic budget, purchasing, contracts and travel operations. In addition, I serve on our diversity, equity and inclusion committee and as a sport administrator for our men’s soccer and fencing programs.

If schools have to start paying student athletes, what would be the challenge and biggest impact institutions would face?

Tiffany HowardTiffany Howard

If institutions begin paying student athletes, there [is] an important line of questions … many institutions will face. The most pressing being, ‘Who and how will we pay student -athletes?’ As the monetary value of the student athlete experience continues to grow, how are institutions that do not generate the large revenues needed to cover these increasing costs in addition now pay student athletes? How will institutions with low revenues compete against institutions that generate an abundant amount of revenue?

What is the most satisfying thing about your work with student athletes?

Being able to provide a full student athlete experience — on the field, in the classroom and through life experiences. Assisting our staff and coaches by allocating resources to get things done. Helping our student athletes compete at the highest level, providing them with the equipment and tools needed to be successful and affording them the opportunity to travel abroad to see different parts of the world. Knowing that when our student athletes leave Temple they have gained more than just a degree, they had a well-rounded experience that helped to better prepare them for the world.

How does diversity come into play in your role?

As one of the few African American women in the role of assistant athletics director for business operations, I know from my own experience how important diversity and inclusion is. Not having the advantage early on in my career of seeing many people that looked like me in this role, it is important that I be the best representative while in this position. Serving on Temple Athletics’ DEI Committee allows me to help bring awareness, educate and create protocols … that promote a culture of open dialogue and inclusion.

Where is the next place on your travel bucket list and why?

Antigua and Barbuda! I have an affinity for the sun, sand and islands.

Did you play any sports in high school, college or professionally?

I was a two-sport athlete at North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. My first love was basketball, followed closely by track and field. At North Central, I was a two-time basketball state champion and a track & field state qualifier in the shot put/discus. At Indiana University, I walked onto the track & field team and graduated a Big Ten Champion/All American in the shot put. After graduation, I continued to train professionally for the 2012 Olympic Trials and earned 7th place in the shot put. Almost a decade later and I still think this was the best time of my life. If I knew then what I know now….

What do you think the biggest challenge has been in your role during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

The biggest challenge but also something that I have embraced is the uncertainty of it all. Recognizing that things may change in an instant from cancelled seasons to moving competition to the spring, the NCAA extending recruiting dead periods, the possible additional year of competition for student athletes, the cancellation of games and COVID testing, to name a few. The athletics business office is sometimes considered “the numbers folks” but now more than ever we understand that to navigate such changes we must be flexible.

What would you recommend to a student athlete who wants to use their platform to get more involved with mainstream campus activities and/or social activism?

I recommend that they realize the strength of their voice and the responsibility of it. Have them reach out to individuals and/or organizations on campus that reflect their passions and thoughts and get involved. And if those organizations do not exist, do not be scared to be the first and start your own. Reach out to your coaches and administrators to see how they can help assist you in those efforts. At Temple, our student athletes have created Owls for Justice to use their platform to promote social activism to advocate for long-lasting and substantial reform for racial equality in this country. Since its inception Owls for Justice has held several events and participated in protests fighting racial injustice with the support of Temple Athletics’ DEI Committee.

This article originally appeared in the April 1, 2021 edition of Diverse. Read it here.