CWU News

CWU athletics appointment supports success of student athletes

Central Washington University has appointed a veteran administrator, Keith Champagne, to serve as assistant athletic director for inclusivity and diversity.

The new position expands on a long-standing record of encouraging and promoting diversity and inclusivity within intercollegiate athletics programs. Since 2011, Champagne has been associate dean for Student Development. He begins his new position March 6, 2017.

Dennis Francois, CWU athletic director, said Champagne will work within the Athletics Department to enhance student retention and leadership.

“I’m delighted to be able to underscore our commitment to the success of our student-athletes with this new position,” Francois said. “Dr. Champagne brings remarkable depth and breadth of experience to Wildcat Athletics and we’re eager to put it to use for the success of our student-athletes.”

Champagne is recognized nationally for his expertise in strategies to promote leadership and academic success among students of color. At recent academic conferences, he has presented on subjects including leadership, diversity, and social activism within intercollegiate athletics; promoting campus engagement among student athletes of color; and creating a sense of belonging for student athletes of color.

Champagne said he is excited about the new assignment, because it aligns with his professional experience as well as his passion for helping students succeed.

“We need to help prepare student-athletes to lead in a profession that is more diverse and more animated by social activism than ever,” Champagne said. “We want our student-athletes to understand their responsibilities as leaders in communities as well as on fields of competition.”

Champagne helped established the student organization, S.I.S.T.E.R.S (Sisters, Invincible, Self-Actualizing, Tenacious, Educated, Resilient, Successful). He helped to found CWU’s chapter of The Male Success Initiative, and of Brother 2 Brother (B2B), the first chapter in the Pacific Northwest. B2B is affiliated with the national Student African American Brotherhood, which provides positive intervention, support and opportunity to young men of color. MSI is designed to help students build skills necessary for success within and outside the classroom, and after graduation. He’ll continue to direct both B2B and MSI in his new post.

His extensive athletic background includes a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, with an emphasis in intercollegiate athletic leadership and sports management, from the University of Washington. His dissertation was entitled, “Black Intercollegiate Athletic Administrators: Ascending the Career Ladder.”

In addition, he is a graduate of the prestigious Sports Management Institute and National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics—National Collegiate Athletic Association—Sports Management Institute.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,

March 1, 2017