MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President Shane Lyons has named Natasha Oakes as the Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) for the Mountaineers.
At West Virginia, Oakes will serve on Lyons’ senior staff and oversee the department’s areas of sport governance, gender equity and Title IX initiatives. She will represent the department as its Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) on Big 12 and NCAA governance groups and be the sport administrator for women’s basketball and Olympic Sports as assigned.
As the department’s chief diversity officer, she will direct and coordinate the department’s efforts to advance DEI initiatives and oversee the Every Mountaineer Committee. She will also serve on various department and University committees and represent WVU Athletics on NCAA and national professional committees.
“Natasha will be a great addition to our department, and our student-athletes and staff will benefit from her years in athletics administration,” Lyons said. “When we started this search back in late spring, Natasha’s name kept coming up as someone who was ready to be a SWA at the Power 5 level, and she will play a key role in our department’s daily operations. Her duties are vital to our overall department success and the student-athlete experience.”
Oakes comes to West Virginia from North Texas where she has been since 2017. In her most recent role there as the executive senior associate athletics director, she oversaw all areas of NCAA, Conference USA and institutional compliance for all 16 Mean Green athletic teams.
In addition to her compliance responsibilities, Oakes was the senior woman administrator (SWA), Title IX deputy coordinator, chief diversity officer and had oversight of the men’s and women’s cross country/track and field programs.
At North Texas, she was chair of the NCAA Division I Progress Toward Degree Waivers Committee, and subcommittee chair of the NCAA Division I Track and Field and Cross Country Group. Additionally, she was a board member for the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association and served on the Legislation and Governance Committee.
Before North Texas, Oakes worked at Missouri Western State University from 2014-2017, where she was the associate athletic director for internal operations and SWA. As a member of the athletics senior staff, she had direct sport supervision over nine sports, while also overseeing the compliance, academics and Title IX needs of the department.
Prior to her time at Missouri Western, Oakes worked at the NCAA for four years (2010-2014) as an assistant director of academic and membership affairs. In that role, she was responsible for providing legislative interpretations, conducting rules education, and overseeing the legislative relief waiver process.
Oakes got her start in collegiate athletics at the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) in 2004 as the Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Internal Operations. With the MIAA, she managed compliance and governance matters, while also serving as a championship manager for select spots and working with conference budget and financial affairs.
“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to join Shane Lyons and the entire Mountaineer family. West Virginia is a place rich in tradition and values that align with my own,” Oakes said. “It is also a state that holds personal significance for me, as my father’s side of the family calls it home. I look forward to the opportunity to positively impact the Athletics Department, as well as the University overall, and cannot wait to engage with our coaches, administrators, and most importantly our student-athletes. Let’s go!”
The Topeka, Kansas, native earned her master’s degree in sport and fitness management from Missouri Western State University and her bachelor’s degree in business from Emporia State University, where she was a track and field student-athlete.
Additionally, Oakes is a graduate of the prestigious Dr. Charles Whitcomb Leadership Institute, which was formerly known as the NCAA Leadership Institute for Ethnic Minority Males and Females. Her tenure at WVU will begin on August 15.