Janet R. Cone, who has served as UNC Asheville’s Director of Athletics since 2004, is the only woman currently serving on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee that selects and seeds the teams for March Madness. She was one of just 28 Directors of Athletics to be named as an Under Armour AD of the Year in 2013 by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
In 2014, she negotiated the first-ever college revenue development service platform with IMG College to combine athletics development and capital campaign with sponsorship sales. This partnership generated recording breaking revenue for 2014-15 for the Bulldogs.
Outside of UNC Asheville, Cone helped create the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission and was a former chair. She currently serves as a founding board member for the group. In addition to her term on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, she is currently serving on the NCAA Division I Institutional Performance Committee and on various Big South Conference Committees.
Under Cone’s leadership the Bulldogs have achieved unbelievable progress with the creation and implementation of the “More Wins, More Friends, and More Resources” strategic plan. Cone, who also serves as the Senior Administrator for University Enterprises, oversaw the successful opening of the Wilma M. Sherrill Center which houses the Kimmel Arena, a new tennis facility, and the expansion of the Karl Straus Track Facility. Presently a campaign to build on-campus baseball and soccer stadiums is underway.
More importantly, the Bulldog athletics department’s Academic Progress Rate is 977, and Bulldog student-athletes have an overall 3.108 GPA and a Graduation Rate of 85%. UNC Asheville’s athletics budget is one of the lowest in NCAA Division I Athletics; however, under Cone’s leadership, a sustainable revenue plan has been implemented to increase the athletics budget from $2.1M to $5.7M and will add another $1.2M over the next two years. In spite of the budget, Bulldogs have won Big South Conference Championships in Baseball, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, and Women’s Soccer. The Bulldogs value community engagement and perform thousands of hours of community service each year, too.
Cone continues to work rigorously to improve Gender Equity, and earlier this year, she announced the addition of women’s golf as the 16th NCAA Division I athletics program at UNC Asheville. When women’s golf tees off in 2016-17, they will become the second sport added in the last five years. The revival of the women’s swimming program in 2012-13 marked the first time that the athletics department had added a sport in 20 years.
Prior to coming to Asheville, Cone served as the associate athletics director for Samford University, and also coached women's basketball at Samford, Saint Leo University, Western Carolina University and Mars Hill College. Cone holds a bachelor’s degree from Furman University and a master's degree from the University of South Carolina.