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Building the spotlight

Kristin Fasbender works behind the scenes to ensure student-athletes can shine

By Kristin Fasbender, as told to Kayci Woodley

Kristin Fasbender never attended a national championship as a student-athlete, but she has made a career out of coordinating them. Fasbender is now in her 15th year with the NCAA championships group and currently coordinates the Division I women’s volleyball championship.

I was a track and field student-athlete at the University of Nebraska. So when I came to the NCAA national office as a postgraduate intern in 1997, I knew about the championships the NCAA oversees…or thought I knew. But I learned that so much more goes into planning those events than I ever imagined. 

As a student-athlete, you just have to show up. The track is set, the officials are there and all you have to do is run. So, as a championships intern, seeing how all those logistics came together was really intriguing. I really loved my experiences here as an intern, so I knew if there was an opportunity to return here I would.

After a year of coordinating championships at the Big 12 Conference, I started back at the NCAA in August of 1999 and have been a member of the championships staff ever since. My dad always said, “Find something you like to do and figure out a way to get paid to do it.” And I clearly have found that here.

Once we get to the championship site, it’s all about putting out small fires that might come up. How are the student-athletes moving from one place to another? Who gets what locker room? How many chairs are on the team benches? How do we get the court installed?

We have 10 committee members made up of administrators from across the country who are charged with selecting the teams, running the event and helping to grow the sport of volleyball. My job is to help them do that successfully.

Just before that first serve on championship night, when the teams are being announced and the lights are down, you can feel the excitement in the building. Whenever those student-athletes step on the court, our team wants it to take their breath away. If we’ve done our jobs, they should say, “Wow, I’m here. I made it.”