Coach Laster and Dr. Harvey Featured Alongside Hampton Alums for Special Edition of CIAA Title IX Trailblazers

By: CIAA

Jacqie McWilliams-Parker | Hampton/Virginia Union/CIAA
Student-Athlete/Coach/Administrator/Commissioner


Before Jacqie McWilliams-Parker was the first appointed African-American female Commissioner representing NCAA Division I, II, and III, she was a two-sport student-athlete at Hampton University. A 1988 Women’s Basketball National Champion, McWilliams-Parker finished her collegiate career as a 1,000-point scorer in basketball and a CIAA Volleyball Player of the Year in 1990.

After managing the Division I basketball tournaments for the NCAA for nine years, McWilliams-Parker was named the Commissioner of the CIAA in 2012, becoming the first female to serve as commissioner of the conference. In the 10-plus years as commissioner, her extensive list of achievements and accolades include improving the bottom line of the conference, launching the CIAA Sports Network, and negotiating multi-year, million-dear partnerships with Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment, Aspire TV, ESPN, and Under Armour. She also negotiated the extension that kept the CIAA Basketball Championship Tournament in Charlotte, NC before negotiating the deal to bring the tournament to Baltimore, MD.

McWilliams-Parker was selected as the President for Women Leaders in College Sports (2020), and she has served on several committees, such as the NCAA Board of Governors, the NCAA Cultural Diversity Committee, and the NCAA DII Management Council. She currently serves on the board of directors for the John B. McLendon Scholarship Foundation, the Doug Williams Center Advisory Board, and the NCAA Gender Equity Task Force.

She has also been inducted into the Sierra High School Hall of Fame (2004), Temple University’s Gallery of Success (2006) and Outstanding Alumni (2013), Hampton University Hall of Fame (2018), and Virginia Union University Hall of Fame (2021). McWilliams-Parker’s career in coaching, compliance, and administration started at Virginia Union University. 

 
Tonia Walker | Hampton/Winston-Salem State/CIAA
Student-Athlete/Administrator


Before becoming the Director of Athletics at Winston-Salem State or the Senior Associate Commissioner of the CIAA, Tonia Walker was a two-sport athlete at Hampton University, playing basketball and softball. Walker led the Pirates in three-point percentage in three of her four years and she was an All-American and conference champion in softball.

Walker began her career with the conference in 1993 before moving on to Winston-Salem State, where she spent 18 years as an athletic administrator. From 2014 to 2018, Walker served as the Director of Athletics for the Rams. While with Winston-Salem State, Walker had an influential role in the Rams’ transition to Division I and in the Rams’ 14 conference championships and six NCAA Division II Tournament appearances. She was named the 2015-16 CIAA Athletic Director of the Year and the 2016 Administrator of the Year for the National Association for Collegiate Athletics Administrators.

Currently, Walker serves as the Senior Associate Commissioner for Strategic Marketing and External Operations for the CIAA, a role she has held since Summer of 2022. Prior to re-joining the CIAA, Walker was the first full-time female athletic director at Bluefield College en route to being named the Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics at Bluefield in 2020.  Twice, Walker has been named Administrator of the Year by Women Leaders in College Sports (2022 [NAIA] and 2016 [NCAA DII]).
LaTaya Hilliard-Gray | Hampton/Winston-Salem State/Elizabeth City State
Student-Athlete/Coach/Administrator


A 2000 graduate of Hampton University, LaTaya Hilliard-Gray played four years of volleyball and a year of softball. She was a senior captain for the Pirates’ volleyball team in 1999.

Hilliard-Gray then took the experience and knowledge she learned at Hampton and became the assistant volleyball coach at Winston-Salem State in 2000. The next year, she added assistant softball coach to her list of duties. From 2003 to 2022, Hilliard-Gray served as Head Softball Coach for the Rams and spent time as the Head Volleyball Coach for a stint (2003-2006). As the Head Softball Coach, Hilliard-Gray won five conference championships and three conference coach of the year honors. Hilliard-Gray led Winston-Salem State to multiple NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament appearances and in 2019, the Rams became the first CIAA program to earn a #7 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Hilliard-Gray and the Rams continued her history-making by earning a win in the opening game of that tournament. 

In January 2021, Hilliard-Gray added the title of Associate Director of Athletics at Winston-Salem State. She spent eight-plus years as the Senior Woman’s Administrator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics. In August 2022, Hilliard-Gray was hired by Elizabeth City State University to be the Deputy Athletic Director. Hilliard-Gray is currently in the 2022 cohort of Dr. Charles Whitcomb Leadership Institute and a 2016 graduate of the NCAA/Women Leaders in College Sports Institute for Advancement. 

Tiny Laster | Hampton
Coach/Administrator


Tiny Laster served in a variety of coaching and administration roles at Hampton University for nearly three decades. Mr. Laster served as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach from 1988-1995, he started as Head Softball Coach in 1989 and Head Volleyball Coach in 1994, holding both titles until his passing in 2017.

In softball, Mr. Laster and the Pirates won back-to-back CIAA titles in 1994 and 1995, and then won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) title in 1996 after transitioning to NCAA Division I. In 2006, Mr. Laster crossed the 500-win threshold in softball by winning the MEAC Championship and just prior to his passing, led Hampton to a regular season title. Mr. Laster was named the MEAC Softball Coach of the Year in 1996 and 2007.

In volleyball, Mr. Laster had a 27-5 season in 1994 that featured a 22-2 mark in CIAA action, and in 2005, the Pirates earned their first winning season at the Division I level. As the Pirates’ Head Women’s Basketball Coach, he led the Pirates to four 20-win seasons, three NCAA Tournament appearances, and an overall record of 128-77. 

A pioneer in women’s athletics since the implementation of Title IX in 1972, Mr. Laster also spent time as Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Talladega College and Tuskegee University. He became the head coach of the Golden Tigers in 1976 and finished in second place in the first-ever NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. During his 12 years as Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Tuskegee, Mr. Laster compiled a phenomenal 245-128 overall record and was named as the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Coach of the Year in 1979, 1982, and 1985. 
Dr. William Harvey | Hampton
President


When Dr. William Harvey retired in June 2022, it was the completion of a 44-year run as President of Hampton University. Reigning as president from 1978 to 2022, Dr. Harvey is the longest-serving president in school history and one of the longest tenures of any president of any college or university.

Dr. Harvey has overseen a lot of growth of Hampton, including, but certainly not limited to, the addition of 92 degree-granting programs, 12 doctorates, 30 new buildings, nearly 40,000 graduates of Hampton, a university-owned commercial development, and the increase of the university’s endowment from $29 million to $400 million. 17 Hampton administrators have progressed to become presidents of other colleges and universities.

Under Dr. Harvey, Hampton has transformed from Hampton Institute, a small, black college to a world-class leader in higher education. Hampton is the first HBCU to lead a NASA mission, having four satellites that orbit the Earth, and Hampton has Virginia’s first proton therapy cancer treatment center.

Prior to becoming president of Hampton, Dr. Harvey held administrative positions at Harvard, Fisk, and Tuskegee. He owns degrees from Talladega, Virginia State, and Harvard, along with 11 honorary doctorates. He has received appointments to national boards by six different U.S. Presidents and has served on countless other boards and committees. In 2023, the CIAA will be honoring Dr. William Harvey as he is the recipient of the Jimmy Jenkings Legacy Award.

On February 25, the CIAA will be crowning the 2023 champion in men’s and women’s basketball and so every week leading into the CIAA Basketball Tournament, the conference will be recognizing a set of trailblazers.

Additionally, as part of the continued efforts to champion and highlight the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, the CIAA has introduced a dedicated Title IX Page on its website, featuring archives of the CIAA Woman of the Years, various other relevant news releases, and video podcast episodes highlighting some amazing women inside and outside the conference. 

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Title IX imagery will be featured heavily during the CIAA Tournament. Last month, the CIAA inducted an all-women’s Hall of Fame class for 2023 in honor of Title IX. Tickets are currently on sale for the CIAA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which is scheduled for Friday, February 24 at 9 a.m.

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