LaKitha Murray joins Lafayette as senior associate athletic director

Athletic Director Sherryta Freeman adds LaKitha Murray to her administrative team to help spearhead the department’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and serve on the Patriot League’s sport management committee. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

Athletic Director Sherryta Freeman adds LaKitha Murray to her administrative team to help spearhead the department’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and serve on the Patriot League’s sport management committee. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

LaKitha Murray was added to Director of Athletics Sherryta Freeman’s administrative team as part of a larger reshuffling within the Lafayette Athletics department, as announced last week. Murray will assume her position as senior associate athletic director on College Hill on Sept. 20.

Murray, who is an alum of The University of Alabama at Birmingham and former deputy director of athletics at Kean University, will assist Freeman execute her strategic vision for the Lafayette Athletics Department and will serve as the human resources and professional development representative. In addition, she will  help spearhead the Department’s continued commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as well as act as the senior woman administrator for the Department.

In Murray’s role, she will also serve as part of the Patriot League’s sport management committee and contribute to the decision-making processes related to Patriot League rules and policies.

Freeman has big visions for the department and wants all of faculty to buy into her strategic plan.

“Whether you are an administrator, a coach or a student-athlete, our goal is to create a championship culture for athletics,” Freeman said. “I think our staff has done an excellent job of focusing on those goals and objectives, but to have someone whose primary role it is to follow up and to be the conduit to ensure that those things happen is really, really important.”

Murray was a four-year member of the women’s basketball team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in communication management in 2008. She then continued her education at the University of Alabama, earning a master’s degree in Human Environmental Science – Sport Management in 2011.

Being a part of a competitive DI basketball program was a formative experience for Murray. Although she was grateful for the opportunities the athletic department gave her, she couldn’t help but notice the inequities in resource allotment between male and female athletes.

“It shouldn’t matter if it’s one of the Olympic sports, or one of the revenue-generating sports. We should still get the same level of opportunity,” Murray said. “I want to be in a position where I can fight to ensure that I’m doing everything I can, so that the next generation of female student-athletes get the same opportunities.”

Murray has worked in athletic administration for 12 years, beginning in 2010 as a sport management administrator and intern in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. She then left to become the senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at the The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) for six years. Murray draws many connections between TCNJ—a Division III school of about 7,400 students—and Lafayette due to their high levels of academic rigor and athletic competition. 

“For me, coming to Lafayette where there is a smaller student body, it allows for more intimate development of relationships with the student-athletes and with the faculty and staff so we can ensure that we are providing the student-athletes with the best experience,” Murray said.

Before joining Kean, Murray worked with the NCAA as an assistant director in the Championships and Alliances postgraduate internship program. Murray also served on the Championships and Alliances Equity Diversity Inclusion Advisory Action Team for the NCAA.

One of the most gratifying parts of working in athletics for Murray is seeing how her work directly impacts student-athlete performance.

“It’s all about the student-athlete experience,” she said. “When you are able to be a part of the small things—like making sure they have a bus, making sure they have a hotel, making sure they get fed—those little things are what will put them in a position where the student-athlete doesn’t have to worry about that, so they can go perform.”