Athletics Director Chris Plonsky
11th Year as Director of Women's Athletics
• On leadership: Q&A with Chris Plonsky [Nov. 8, 2010]
Academic year 2012-13 -- when completed -- will mark the 25th year of Chris Plonsky's association with The University of Texas.
She has served as women's athletics director since spring 2001 and since 1993 has supervised external services for UT men's and women's athletics. As Women's AD, Plonsky directs UT's 11-sport program comprised of more than 240 women student-athletes. The external services area includes serving as UT Athletics' chief liaison with multimedia rights holder IMG College, whose staff performs corporate sponsorship sales and radio network/Internet/TV production and distribution. IMG College's sponsorship sales for UT Athletics and the Frank Erwin Center rank among the highest in the nation and features elements appearing in signage, game-day publications, consumer and retail promotions, radio, Internet, and video.
In January 2011, The University of Texas, IMG College and world-wide sports leader ESPN announced a ground-breaking agreement for a television network exclusively dedicated to UT and UT sports coverage. Longhorn Network launched on Friday, Aug. 26, 2011 with a live, two-hour special broadcast from The University's South Mall. LHN is the first channel dedicated exclusively to one university. During 2011-12, LHN produced more than 170 live events, athletics and otherwise, including home sports events, 100 hours of music content from Cactus Café, and 180 hours of student film content from the Longhorn Film Showcase series. Rights fees from LHN contribute to UT Athletics and main campus, and five academic chairs were initiated in 2011-12 in communication, fine arts, liberal arts, natural sciences, and physicians. A LHN smart phone app is being developed later this fall to include LHN content for authenticated subscribers, free audio casts and statistical-casts of live events, and other premium content.
Plonsky also supervises UT's trademark and licensing staff, which works directly with IMG College's Collegiate Licensing Company. UT generates more trademark royalties (passing the eight-figure mark several times in recent years) than any other CLC client.
Austin's Clear Channel Communications affiliates, KVET-AM and KVET-FM, serve as UT Athletics' flagship radio stations. Audio broadcasts of UT sports and coaches' radio shows also are delivered by XM-Sirius satellite radio.
On a volunteer basis, Plonsky serves as a board member of the National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame and USA Basketball. Her past NCAA committee work includes service on the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance (CAP), the NCAA President's Task Force on Commercialization, and five years with the Division I Management Council (chair, January 2003-April 2004). Plonsky also is a former member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Executive Committee and the board of directors of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators. She was NACMA president in 1999-2000, and in June 2003, was a NACMA Hall of Fame inductee. She is president-elect of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) in 2012-13.
Born in Pittsburgh and raised in Greensburg, Pa. and northeast Ohio, Plonsky earned a B.S. Journalism degree in 1979 at Kent State University. She is a former editor of The Daily Kent Stater campus newspaper and was named KSU outstanding journalism graduate (magna cum laude) in 1979. Plonsky also lettered three years in basketball (1975-78) and served as team co-captain during her junior season. She was a student sports information director at Kent from 1976-79.
Plonsky worked as women's SID at Iowa State from 1979-81 and first joined the UT Athletics staff in January 1982 as women's sports information director. She was named BIG EAST Conference office director of public relations in July 1986 and spent seven years with the league in public relations and assistant/associate commissioner capacities. She rejoined UT Athletics in October of 1993 as associate AD for external services under men's AD DeLoss Dodds.
In Austin, Plonsky is a member of the UT Libraries Advisory Council, the Capital Area Crime Stoppers board, and the University Federal Credit Union supervisory committee.
(28 April 2013)