Hunt came to the University two and one half years ago from a position as compliance officer at Northwestern University in Chicago. She recalled receiving the call to see if she was interested in coming to UTPA from William Weidner, current director of intercollegiate athletics, while in her office during a blizzard in Chicago.
“Bill offered me the opportunity to be the athletic program’s senior women’s administrator, which is a role that has a lot to do with student-athlete welfare, and I wanted to be in a place where I could make a difference in the lives of student-athletes and how their experiences are. He gave me that opportunity,” Hunt said.
“This time we had absolutely no issues in this area,” said Hunt, who acknowledged it was one of her proudest moments at UTPA. She said UTPA now has a strong checks and balances system for the athletic program policies and procedures.
“Charolette’s participation in the NCAA recertification effort resulted in this institution’s attestation of its advances in compliance at all levels. The leadership she provided to the various committees during this process (self-study) assured the reviewing officials that UT Pan American had complied with the standards established for NCAA certification,” said James Langabeer, vice president for Business Affairs. “All of us in the administration feel the loss of Charolette will create a temporary hole in the Athletic Department that will be difficult to replace.”
According to Weidner, Hunt is a prime example of the high quality of personnel that UTPA has brought to the University to build a solid foundation for the athletic program’s future. He said Hunt played an integral role in regards to the athletic program’s commitment to NCAA rules compliance and student athlete welfare.
“When Charolette made a decision to leave Northwestern University to come to UTPA, a motivating factor for her was having an opportunity to go to an institution where she could have an impact and make a difference. As Charolette prepares for her new position with Conference USA, I think she will leave us knowing her hard work and commitment during her stay here really has made a difference in a most positive way,” Weidner said.
Hunt, who has a Bachelor of Science in Sports Promotion and a minor in Journalism from Arkansas State University, said her only experience as a student-athlete herself was as a walk-on for her University track team for a year. But realizing the time it took and with no scholarship support, she quit to help finance her schooling. Hunt, however, stayed around the athletic department becoming involved in the athletic ambassadors and helping with recruiting weekends and marketing promotions.
“I did an internship in compliance and that’s where my interest grew. I was fascinated with those stories of Southwest Conference teams that got into trouble,” Hunt said.
At Conference USA, Hunt will be handling the day-to-day activities in the Conference office and providing interpretations of the rules to campus compliance officers. Schools in Conference USA include TCU, Houston, Tulane, Memphis, Charlotte, Alabama-Birmingham, Marquette, Louisville, Cincinnati, Army, East Carolina and South Florida.
As Hunt shared her large photo album of pictures taken while on trips with the students to compete, she said the thing she will miss most at UTPA is dealing with the student-athletes.
“I have found that the athletes do appreciate what’s being done for them, and appreciate that you are there and that you have gotten to know them outside being an athlete. It warms my heart that for certain people I’ve touched them in some way.”
Weidner said that through Hunt’s efforts the UTPA athletic department has raised the bar in regards to our commitment to NCAA compliance.
“As we conduct a national search to find Charolette’s successor, our challenge will be to find that special individual who will continue to raise the bar as it relates to enhancing our outstanding NCAA compliance program.”