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Leadership Development Staff

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Curtis J. Hollomon

Director of Leadership Development

Curtis J. Hollomon is the director of leadership development at the NCAA. His primary duties include development and implementation of broadly defined skill enhancement, professional development and career advancement programs, grants and workshops for NCAA student-athletes, coaches and athletics professionals.

Before coming to the NCAA in 2005, Hollomon was the assistant athletics director for operations and development at St. Cloud (Minnesota) State University. Prior to his duties at SCSU, Hollomon served as assistant to the directors at the Georgia Tech Athletic Association, a nonprofit organization responsible for maintaining the intercollegiate athletics program at Tech.

A 1999 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Hollomon was a three-year letterman in football and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in history, technology and society. He holds a master’s degree in sports administration, which he obtained while at St. Cloud State.

DeeDee Merritt

Associate Director

DeeDee Merritt came to the NCAA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2016. At the national office, she administers the NCAA Postgraduate Internship Program, the Divisions II and III portions of the Pathway Program, and the Emerging Leaders Seminar, as well as assisting with the Leadership Institute, of which she is an alumna.

Merritt came to the NCAA after more than 15 years at Milwaukee, where she served in positions including assistant athletics director, director of special projects (global inclusion and engagement), and coordinator of women’s services and advocacy. During her time in the athletics department, Merritt created life skills programming for college athletes and professional development for administrators; managed Horizon League championship tournaments; coordinated athletics and recreation facility scheduling; supervised the academic monitoring program; and executed campus training workshops on bystander intervention, relationship violence and leadership training. She served as chair of the Horizon League Life Skills Coordinator Group, was the advisor to the Milwaukee Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and administrative liaison to the Horizon League SAAC.

Merritt has a Bachelor of Science in business management from the University of Phoenix and a master’s degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. She previously has worked at the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Justin Paysinger

Associate Director

In his role as associate director, Justin Paysinger will serve as the primary administrator for Career in Sports Forum, Student-Athlete Leadership Forum, Emerging Leaders Seminar, Effective Facilitation Workshop, Leadership Academy Workshop, Life Skills programming and DiSC behavioral assessments, as well as assisting with the Leadership Institute.

In 2014, Paysinger represented the NCAA at the NFL Prep 100 series, where he met with high school football student-athletes and their parents in eight different major metropolitan cities in the United States. Throughout the series, Paysinger engages the participants in discussions focused on NCAA initial eligibility, core values, personal branding, leadership and life skills.

Paysinger arrived at the national office from Texas Tech, where he created and managed programming for all Red Raider student-athletes in many student-development areas including personal, professional, community service, leadership, diversity, and wellness. He also served on various athletics department, campus and Big 12 Conference committees geared toward student-athlete development and well-being. He also held the role of senior academic counselor for the men’s and women’s golf teams with oversight of all matters related to initial eligibility, continuing eligibility, admission, APR and degree completion.

A native of Los Angeles, Paysinger was a football student-athlete at San Jose State University where he earned a master’s degree in sport management and a Bachelor of Arts in child and adolescent development.

Kyle C. Leach

Assistant Director

Kyle C. Leach joined the NCAA in 2014 and oversees all aspects of the marketing and branding of the department’s annual education programs and resources benefitting NCAA college athletes, coaches and administrators.

Prior to working in the newspaper business, Leach was the director of sports information at Swarthmore (Pa.) College where he introduced live video at home games and hosted NCAA Division III tournaments for men’s tennis and men’s soccer. In 2006, Leach received the Grant Burger Media Award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Additionally, he was an assistant coach with the Swarthmore women’s basketball team..

Leach received a Bachelor of Arts in political science at the University of Rochester (N.Y.). He was an all-UAA performer and team captain on the Yellowjackets’ men’s basketball team that twice qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament and made the national semifinals in 2002. He also earned a master’s degree in magazine, print and online journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

His work has appeared in award-winning publications, including The Star-Ledger, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Palladium-Item, the Swarthmore College Bulletin, The Daily Orange, The Saratogian, Inside Jersey magazine, NCAA Champion magazine and Handshake magazine.

Ali Teopas

Assistant Director

As assistant director of leadership development, Ali Teopas oversees the NCAA Chancellors and Presidents Engagement Program and the Division II and Division III diversity grants, and assists with the administration of the Career in Sports Forum and the Student-Athlete Leadership Forum.

Teopas works closely with the NCAA national office executive, governance and regulatory affairs staff to build relationships and provide resources to chancellors and presidents in the membership. She also collaborates with the governance staff, administrative services and the membership-based selection committees to establish policies and increase consistency and efficiency for the grants.

Teopas came to the NCAA in 2013 as an assistant coordinator of championships and alliances. After being promoted to coordinator, she served as championship manager of the NCAA Division II Women’s Golf Championships, and supported five additional championships: Division I men’s soccer, Division II wrestling, and Divisions I, II and III rowing. She previously was the assistant athletics director of external affairs, assistant softball coach and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee advisor in four years at Wittenberg University.

Teopas has a Bachelor of Arts in sports management from Denison University, where she was a student-athlete on the softball team and represented the university on the North Coast Athletic Conference SAAC. Additionally, Teopas holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Dayton.

Nicole Jameson


Nicole Jameson serves as coordinator of leadership development. Her primary duties consist of the internal operations of the department, the development and implementation of initiatives impacting the transition of student-athletes to life after sports, and the support of a smooth transition for NCAA student-athletes into professional sports. Jameson is also the primary administrator for the NCAA Elite Student-Athlete Symposium and conducts the initiative to provide financial awareness for college athletes.

Jameson came to the NCAA from Georgia Institute of Technology where she worked as the assistant director of the Total Person Program and executive assistant to the director of athletics. While at Georgia Tech, Jameson created and managed life skills programming for all Yellow Jacket student-athletes that consisted of a series of topics related to career development and placement, personal health and well-being, and community outreach. She also served as an advisor on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

A native of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, Jameson attended North Carolina State University and earned a Bachelor of Science in sport management. She also holds a master’s degree in sports administration from Georgia State University and a certificate of financial management from Cornell University.

Patricia E. McConney

Administrative Assistant

Patricia E. McConney is an administrative assistant in the NCAA leadership development department. Her main responsibilities include collecting, processing and filing BEOs, contracts and invoices for department programs. She also assists in logistics of the programs, including hotel, travel, presentations and gifts. Additionally, she receives invoices and processes them into the accounting system.

McConney also prepares DiSC Assessment requests from NCAA membership schools and conferences. Prior to working in the leadership development department, McConney was an administrative assistant in the Division I governance department at the NCAA.

McConney’s past job experiences entailed working at the Indianapolis Public Schools, the University at Albany – State University of New York (SUNY), the Indiana House of Representatives, and she worked as an executive secretary in the Office of the Mayor of Gary, Indiana. McConney attended Schenectady County Community College in Schenectady, New York, as well as, SUNY Albany and Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis.

Dawon Baker

2017-18 Postgraduate Intern

Education: University of Missouri, Columbia (B.S.); University of Central Florida (MBA.)

Dawon Baker is a native of St. Louis and graduated from Missouri in 2015, with a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism. As an undergrad, Baker participated in track and field and worked as an intern and student worker for Mizzou Athletics. In addition, Baker was a McNair Scholar and an active member of the Mizzou student community. He graduated in December 2016 with a Master of Business Administration and a master’s in sport business management from the University of Central Florida, where he was a graduate research assistant for The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES).

In addition, he also served as an academic mentor and game-day intern for UCF athletics, as well as a student assistant in the office of student-athlete welfare and development. Baker also serves as a feature writer for He has had experience working as an athletics intern for Lincoln University (Missouri), in fan support for the Orlando Magic and as a student assistant in athletics with Stephens College in Missouri.

His hobbies include writing, playing sports with friends and volunteering.

Molly Mullins

2017-18 Postgraduate Intern

Education: Concordia University, St. Paul (B.S.); Florida Gulf Coast University (MBA)

Molly Mullins graduated from Florida Gulf Coast with a master’s degree in business administration in the spring of 2017 after completing her bachelor’s in sport management at Concordia-St. Paul, graduating with summa cum laude honors. While at Concordia, Mullins was a four-year member of the golf program, an officer on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a Myles Brand Award recipient.

Recently at Florida Gulf Coast, Mullins was a graduate assistant, overseeing the SAAC and the Eagles Council while developing the inaugural Wings Up Olympics to create better cohesion between student-athletes, coaches and administrators.

Also, Mullins has tracked community service hours for more than 250 student-athletes and athletics staff and also arranged many workshops and speakers for all student-athletes. In addition, Mullins organized and coordinated multiple annual events for the Florida Gulf Coast athletics department. Among these events, Mullins spearheaded the academic awards luncheon and senior send-off and awards ceremony.

Mullins is native of Caledonia, Minnesota, and aspires to oversee student-athlete affairs. Her interests include traveling, being outdoors and spending time with friends and family.