Sheridan Blanford leaving MIAC for new opportunity

Sheridan Blanford

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced Thursday that Assistant Director Sheridan Blanford will be leaving the Conference in early August for a new opportunity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A national search will begin immediately to fill the open position on the MIAC office staff.

Blanford graduated from St. Olaf College in 2015 where she played basketball and earned her Master's degree in the University of Washington's Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership program the following year. She began her tenure in the MIAC office last August as part of the prestigious NCAA Division III Ethnic Minority and Women's Internship Grant, which fully funds the Assistant Director position for two years in order to provide opportunities for women and ethnic minorities to gain experience in college athletics.

"The MIAC has been nothing short of amazing in the last year," Blanford said of her time working in the Conference. "I have had the opportunity to meet, interact with and build relationships with some of the best student-athletes, coaches, administrators and presidents around. I have been able to push forth ideas and initiatives that I truly believe will continue to keep the MIAC as one of the most premiere conferences in Division III."

Blanford will now begin transitioning to her new role as Inclusion & Engagement Coordinator for Badger Athletics. Her work will continue to focus heavily on enhancing the student-athlete experience. Among her responsibilities, Blanford will serve as a direct liaison with student groups on campus and co-facilitate various courses and training summits to support diversity-related matters, as well as student-athlete inclusion and engagement efforts.

"I am extremely excited and thankful for the next opportunity in my career to become a part of the Badger family," Blanford said. "It will be an honor to work for and be a part of this nationally recognized initiative in support of diversity and inclusion to better the overall student-athlete experience."

She will be well-prepared for her new role at Wisconsin. Blanford was the chief strategist in organizing the MIAC's upcoming Student-Athlete Leadership Conference at Saint Mary's University, assembling guest speakers and arranging logistics for the event. She also served as the advisor to the MIAC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and assisted with the MIAC's strategic planning efforts, with a particular focus on diversity and inclusion goals and initiatives. 

"Sheridan's impact in the MIAC will be long lasting," MIAC Executive Director Dan McKane said. "She was instrumental in helping us approach several important topics surrounding diversity and inclusion. In addition, her work with planning the MIAC Student-Athlete Leadership Conference was fantastic. We are extremely proud of Sheridan's accomplishments and excited for this next step in her career." 

The MIAC has already begun its national search to find the Conference's next Assistant Director. The position description and application instructions can be found here.

Founded in 1920, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is home to 13 private institutions, all housed within the state of Minnesota's borders. The MIAC sponsors championships in 22 sports, and is committed to its four core values of Quality Athletics, Academics, Student-Athlete Well-Being and Integrity.