Love for sports and student success leads Takeshia Shelby ’01 to senior administrative role in collegiate athletics

An Alcorn State University alumna, driven by her love for sports and fostering the academic prowess of student-athletes, has her career in the fast lane to success.

Takeshia Shelby, a 2001 Alcorn alum, is the new director of Athletic Compliance at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. As the director, Shelby will be responsible for overseeing student-athlete eligibility and education, monitoring, and enforcement of the college’s compliance with all NCAA and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) rules and regulations. She also serves as a member of the senior athletics administration as the assistant athletic director.

Before her new roles, Shelby served as an athletic academic coordinator at Grambling State University, where she guided Grambling’s student-athletes academic progress toward completion of their degrees. She also served as an academic transition counselor at Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis. She gained experience in athletic administration at Alcorn, as well as Prairie View A&M University and Jackson State University.

Shelby earned a master’s degree in sports administration and leadership from Belhaven University and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Alcorn.

Shelby’s career is ascending at a pace more rapid than she anticipated. She’s grateful to be in a position to uplift students.

“It feels great,” said Shelby. “To have my career excel to this position in such a short time is exciting. I appreciate my president and athletic director for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to serve the student-athletes at Lane.”

In her dual responsibility, Shelby expressed her plans for taking her department to a higher level of advancement.

“From an athletic compliance perspective, our student-athletes, coaches, faculty, and staff are all aligned with what it takes to make sure we are compliant and eligible for competition. I want compliance education to be ongoing and not something we do when necessary. As an assistant athletic director, enhancing the student-athletes’ development is a priority for me. I want our young men and women to know that they are leaders beyond their respective sports. My mission is to develop the whole person, not just the athlete.”

Sports have always been a big part of Shelby’s life. She always knew that one day, she would turn her love for athletics into a career.

“My love for sports inspired me to pursue this career. I never lettered in a sport; however, I grew up around it and always wanted to know what was happening in the game. I focused on the administrative side of sports and building my career around something I truly enjoyed. These roles allow me to be a part of the decision-making processes, as well as having direct interaction with my student-athletes.”

Shelby understands how passionate her students are about dominating their sport, but she always reminds them that a college degree is an ultimate prize. She emphasizes acquiring knowledge will give them more career longevity than their athletic ability.

“There has to be a responsibility for providing an environment that offers opportunities and academic excellence. Academics will always be the priority with my student-athletes because education will always outlast athletic ability. Every student-athlete, regardless of where they find themselves when they come to me, deserves an environment that helps them achieve their goals and cultivate lifelong learning. I am always willing to meet them where they are, but the goal is for them to leave me better than they came.”

The connections that Shelby made with her peers and mentors while attending Alcorn have played an enormous role in her rise as a professional. The moments spent picking the brains of her professors, growing as an adult with her friends, and networking with experts has led Shelby to this point in her bright career.

“Building relationships is an important aspect of success. Alcorn is family, and I gained lifelong friendships and professional relationships that have been a part of my support system along my journey. I was educated, nurtured, and disciplined by some great faculty and staff, some of whom I still have a relationship. My time at Alcorn taught me that there isn’t a challenge that I can’t overcome. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend and become a loyal alumna.”

A high student-athlete success rate is the main focus for Shelby. Her goal is to implement the resources that will steer her students on a path that includes winning in class, their sport of choice, and their future careers.

“I want to ensure that Lane College remains compliant, our student-athlete progress is on track, and that our graduation rate continues to rise. Meeting these goals will ensure that our students will leave with degrees and quality preparation to excel in their chosen careers.”