Evans, 39, has a rich sports background that includes playing volleyball, basketball, indoor and outdoor track, baseball and cross country at the high school and college levels. She gained prominence as a point guard at Potomac High School in Potomac, Md., and Evans also played point guard while at Bowie State University where she secured a bachelor’s in Psychology and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. Of all the sports she played, Evans said, basketball was definitely her passion. But her playing days are long gone, she added.
She brings 27 years of experience as a basketball player and college coach. Evans served as head coach of women’s basketball at the University of the District of Columbia, Kentucky State University (KSU) and Virginia Union. She helped her KSU team to its first-ever at-large berth in the NCAA Division II tournament. Most recently, Evans served as the Head of Player Development for the women’s basketball program at the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, Md., where she was responsible for developing the women’s basketball program.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), described Evans as “someone who is going to continue to take us forward in the areas of athletics and academics … She was the best candidate, period. Just like (Coolidge High School Football Coach) Natalie Randolph, she has demonstrated she’s the best coach irrespective of gender.”
Schools’ Chancellor Kaya Henderson, 41, chose Evans for her background which includes responsibilities at the collegiate level of budget management, recruiting, staff supervision, fundraising, scheduling, and academic advisement.
“This is a very exciting day,” Henderson said at a Nov. 15 press conference at Eastern High School announcing Evans’ selection. “…We have found a leader after a painstaking search. After interviewing 65 candidates for the role, we have been able to find a leader that we think can restore DCPS’ athletics programs to its former glory. Stephanie has over 27 years experience as a player and a coach and her background in psychology has allowed her to enrich the educational experiences of the diverse student-athletes she has coached, both on and off the playing field.”
Henderson reiterated Evans’ belief that athletics plays a vital role in a child’s overall education in remarks offered at the high school located in Northeast.
“… In order to ensure that we have great schools, we need more than academics,” she said. “We need the arts, we need athletics, we need technology and for many of our students, athletics is the hook for them. It’s the thing that makes them come to school, it’s the thing that keeps their grade point average up, (and) it’s the thing that keeps them interested. It teaches them teamwork and perseverance and discipline and a lot of the other qualities that are going to make them successful in life.”
Henderson acknowledges the problems the athletic department has endured. This includes turnover at the top, with Evans being the fourth athletic director in three years. In addition, the department has been plagued with eligibility, scheduling and other issues which have called into question the viability of the department’s leadership.
“We haven’t provided the very best that we can for our students,” Henderson said. “We know that leadership matters. It is incredibly important for the success of our athletics program so I’m excited to introduce our new Athletic Director Stephanie Evans. We wanted to kick it up a notch in terms of what we offer in our athletics programs.”
Evans takes over responsibility for the athletics programs in 111 of DCPS’ 142 schools in grades four through 12.
Transitioning from the court to administration seemed to be a logical progression, she said.
“I thought it was an excellent opportunity to expand my career to athletics administration,” Evans explained. The DCIAA (D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association) has a rich tradition. I grew up here and saw the rich legacy.”
Evans boasts local roots and local ties.
“I born in Southeast D.C., and … I was raised in Oxon Hill,” she said.
Much is being made of the fact that she’s a woman making a foray into what has essentially been a man’s world.
“I haven’t really thought about that,” Evans said. “I think if it serves as an inspiration to young women in the area that’s awesome. (But) it’s a difficult job ahead.”
“I want to look at eligibility which has been an ongoing issue. And I also want to makes sure we field teams so that we don’t miss games. We’re going to enforce the rules, strengthen Title IX programs and grow club sports.” wi