JU SAAC representatives make trip to A-Sun fall meeting
Junior center Danielle Gray participates in the Fall Carnival for foster children over the weekend at the ETSU Memorial Center.
Junior center Danielle Gray participates in the Fall Carnival for foster children over the weekend at the ETSU Memorial Center.
After being named representative for the National Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in July, junior women’s basketball player Danielle Gray ran her first Atlantic Sun Conference SAAC meeting at host ETSU over the weekend.

The A-Sun holds two annual in-person SAAC meetings, one in the fall and one in the spring, to address the role of SAAC, NCAA and institutional updates, communication, conference tournament surveys, fundraiser competitions for the year and the election of new officers. Prior to the meeting, all members of the A-Sun SAAC volunteered in a community service project by hosting a Fall Carnival for foster children in the ETSU Memorial Center.

“The A-Sun SAAC meeting was amazing and I was truly honored to be a part of it,” Gray said “We had dinner the first night and it was great to be surrounded by such vivacious student-athletes like myself. We participated in a community service project where we played basketball, baseball, golf and many other activities with foster children. For me, doing community service is always a very humbling experience because I feel like I am making a difference in someone’s life.”

Gray, who is the third Dolphin to represent the A-Sun on the national level, was nominated to the conference by JU due to her SAAC experience, community service achievements, overall GPA and athletic achievements. Former JU baseball player Matt Dobbins, who was present during the meeting to pass the torch to Gray, made the trip to Johnson City, Tenn. along with JU SAAC president Natasha Harvey (track & field) and director of student-athlete development Stephanie Metz.

“I was really nervous initially, but everyone was so nice and welcoming that I was able to relax,” Gray said. “The greatest joy was being passed the title from Matt. In that moment, I felt like all the hard work that I had put forth as both a student and an athlete had come together. I look up to Matt for all of his accomplishments and leadership skills and I can only hope to be just like him in representing the conference.”

Former Dolphin Becky Watt (rowing) and Dobbins (baseball) held the position in previous terms while the JU SAAC has represented the A-Sun since 2005. Gray, who will hold a two-year term, will represent the A-Sun at NCAA National SAAC meetings. She will also serve as secretary for the JU SAAC as she enters her third year with the organization.

“Danielle, Natasha, and Matt continued to represent JU well at the A-Sun SAAC meeting,” Metz said. “Danielle showed her leadership ability in her first meeting as A-Sun SAAC chair and I know that she will continue to do a great job in that capacity. The fact that JU has produced three consecutive chairs is a positive reflection of the athletic department’s goal to not only recruit good athletes but quality individuals.”

For more information on the JU SAAC, log onto www.judolphins.com.