WELLAND – Longtime sport management leader and Welland native Michele O’Keefe will be joining the Niagara College team as associate director of Athletics and Recreation, beginning July 3.
O’Keefe is returning to her hometown in Niagara after serving as president and CEO of Canada Basketball, where she worked to build stronger relationships with sport associations across Canada and was responsible for oversight of key government relations and sponsorship negotiations for Canada Basketball.
O’Keefe began her professional career with Canada Basketball in 1994 and also held positions including manager, Communications, director, Basketball Operations, executive director and president and chief executive officer. Prior to re-joining Canada Basketball in 2010, O’Keefe was the executive director of Ontario Basketball (2007-2010).
During her time with Canada Basketball, O’Keefe was also integral in bringing several world-class basketball tournaments to Canada, including the FIBA U18 Americas Championship 2018, coming to St. Catharines this June. O’Keefe has deep ties to the Niagara region, having grown up in Welland, and is a board member of the 2021 Canada Summer Games Host Society.
“I’m excited for the next phase of my life,” O’Keefe said. “I’ve always thought I would like to move back to the Niagara region and Niagara College has opened this door for me. There are so many great things happening at Niagara College and I’m thrilled to join the team.”
As president and CEO at Canada Basketball, O’Keefe also worked to develop stronger relationships with provincial/territorial partners, national stakeholders and other international federations. In addition, she was responsible for the oversight of all government relations and supported sponsorship negotiations for the organization.
The addition of O’Keefe comes at an exciting time for athletics at Niagara College. The College recently hosted the 2018 OCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, and announced it will be the host of the 2019 CCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Michele back to Niagara, and to the Athletics and Recreation team at Niagara College,” said Dave Taylor, associate vice president of Academic and Learner Services. “Her leadership skills and experience managing provincial and national sport associations, as well as her strong community connections will help cement Niagara College’s role as a key player in Niagara’s sport and tourism industries.”
Niagara College’s intercollegiate athletics program was formed in 1969 and has won nine national championships and 40 provincial championships. More than 130 student-athletes compete on Niagara College’s six varsity sports programs, including men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, and volleyball and three tournament teams, including golf, curling, and cross country.
Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.
(Source: Niagara College news release)