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Janet Cone
Janet Cone
Position: Athletics Director
Experience: 9 Years
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Janet R. Cone is in her 10th year as Director of Athletics at UNC Asheville. She also serves the school as Senior Administrator for University Enterprises.


In June, she was one of just 28 Directors of Athletics to be named as Under Armour AD of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.


This past year saw many accomplishments under Cone’s leadership. The school revived women’s swimming at UNC Asheville. It marked the first time the athletics department had added a sport in 20 years.Her leadership helped bring the Charlotte Bobcats NBA basketball team to the Sherrill Center and Kimmel Arena for their fall training camp. More than 60 percent of UNC Asheville’s student-athletes in the 2012-13 academic year had a GPA of 3.0 or above.


The 2011-12 year was highlighted by the men's basketball team's winning the Big South Conference championship for the second year in a row. The Bulldogs set a school record for conference and overall wins. Asheville advanced to the NCAA Tournament where it nearly pulled off one of the greatest upsets in NCAA history when the 16th-seeded Bulldogs lost a close game to top-seeded Syracuse.


In addition, the school successfully hosted the Big South Conference men's basketball tournament with a national television audience and sellout crowd watching the championship game in the school's brand-new Kimmel Arena.


Cone oversaw the successful opening of the Wilma Sherrill Center which houses the Kimmel Arena. She worked to bring the top-ranked UNC Chapel Hill men's basketball team to open Kimmel against the Bulldogs in a game that was nationally televised. That game was also sold out.


The Sherrill Center had more than 100,000 visitors in its first year as its hosted various events from concerts to graduation. 


Other successes included the men's tennis team's finishing in second place in the Big South Conference, its highest league finish ever, the volleyball team's advancing to the semifinals of the Big South Tournament for the eighth time in the last nine years, and the women's tennis, men's tennis and women's track and field teams being honored for their work in the classroom.


Cone guided the athletic department through a successful certification process by the NCAA. In addition, she brought back women's swimming as a varsity sport for the first time in more than 35 years.   


In the 2010-11 year, Cone saw the UNC Asheville men's basketball team win the Big South Conference championship and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  In addition, the Bulldog women's indoor track and field squad finished in third place, the highest finish in school history. Senior sprinter Natalie Pearson made her second appearance in the NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field meet.


Four years ago, Chancellor Anne Ponder appointed Cone to the position of Senior Administrator for University Enterprises. In this position, Cone oversees the Sherrill Center, manages specific community relationships and serves as a member of UNC Asheville's major gifts team. She is a member of the Chancellor's Senior Staff.


In 2009, Cone helped to create the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission to bring athletic events to the Asheville area. Her leadership helped secure the return of the Southern Conference men's and women's basketball tournament to Asheville starting in March of 2012.  


Student-Athletes have excelled in the classroom under Cone's leadership. In 2004, she created the Athletic Director's 3.0 + Club which recognizes student-athletes who achieve a 3.0 or better grade-point average each semester. More than 1,000 student-athletes have made the club during Cone's nine years. 


During that same time period, more than 900 student-athletes were named to the Big South Presidential Honor Roll.


Cone has overseen construction projects that have dramatically improved the facilities in which UNC Asheville's Bulldog student-athletes compete and train. (1) The Wilma Sherrill Center/Kimmel Arena was completed in the spring of 2011. Funded partly through a $35 million state appropriation, Cone helped raise more than $ 7 million dollars in private funds to construct the Kimmel Arena, a major convocation space that will accommodate larger group events than the campus has been able to host before. Among other things, this will allow the university to host its own graduation, attract major speakers and performances, and have a new home for the men's and women's basketball teams. (2) Renovation and repairs to the Karl Straus Track began in the spring of 2009. Cone helped raised more than one million dollars in private funding for the track project. (3) Cone negotiated a partnership with Crowne Plaza Hotel and Resort for construction of a new Bulldog tennis facility which has indoor courts, composition courts and six hard courts that were completed in the fall of 2009. The facility has been the home of Bulldog men's and women's tennis for the past three seasons, and this past spring hosted the Big South Conference men's and women's tennis championships for the first time in school history.


Highlights of the 2007-08 year included the men's basketball team being co-regular season champions of the Big South Conference and earning a bid to the National Invitational Tournament, making UNC Asheville the first men's basketball team in Big South history to receive a bid to the NIT. Cone helped the department successfully host the Big South Conference Men's Basketball Tournament and Women's Basketball Tournament in back-to-back weekends.


In October of 2007, Cone was named the 2007 Division I-AAA Administrator of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators. Chancellor Anne Ponder was delighted to see Cone receive the award. "Janet Cone's inspirational leadership has set a very high standard for our student-athletes and our coaches, all of whom continue to be winners both on and off the field," stated Ponder. "We are thrilled that she is being recognized in this way for her vision, her energy, and her tenacity, qualities our University benefit from each and every day."



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