Arizona Athletics names Sofia Read to first fully endowed position in department history

Ginny L. Clements Academic Center

The University of Arizona athletics department continued to show a strong commitment to the success of student-athletes, on and off the field, with the announcement of the first fully endowed position in department history: the Tyler Family Endowed Assistant Athletics Director for C.A.T.S. Student-Athlete Development.

Sofia Read, director of the Edward T. Bell C.A.T.S. Student-Athlete Development program, will hold the position, Arizona Athletics announced May 31.

Read said she is excited to build on the successes of the student-athlete development program by providing Wildcats with personal and professional growth opportunities and mentorship so they can go on to "healthy, positive, impactful and fulfilling lives following graduation."

A woman with long brown hair and red lipstick, wearing a white polo shirt, sits in front of a grey background and smiles for a photograph.

Sofia Read

"I feel very fortunate to be able to support students in this role," Read said. "This appointment is truly a testament to the Tylers and their support of the student-athlete experience. There are a lot of great things happening in Arizona Athletics and a lot of awesome stuff happening in student-athlete development."

The endowed position was established with a commitment from Kerry and Charles Tyler, UArizona alumni and longtime supporters of the university and Arizona Athletics. During the pandemic, the Tylers reestablished the student emergency fund, named the Richard H. Tyler Student Emergency Endowed Fund in honor of Charles' father, a local teacher. The fund provides support to any UArizona student in need and at risk of having to withdraw from their classes due to an unexpected, temporary financial hardship.

"I am so appreciative of the Tylers for their support of our student-athletes and their partnership with the University of Arizona," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "I am very proud of the focus on our student-athletes' total success and the tradition of excellence it enables, and Dr. Read is an incredible mentor and the ideal person to hold this first endowed position within Arizona Athletics."

Read joined Arizona Athletics in 2018 as the assistant director of C.A.T.S. Life Skills  and started leading the unit after the retirement of Becky Bell in 2020. Student-athlete development is part of the larger Cedric Dempsey C.A.T.S. Program. C.A.T.S. stands for Commitment to an Athlete's Total Success, and the initiative provides student-athletes access to programs, events and individualized support to develop as leaders, community members and future professionals. The program fosters community engagement, leadership opportunities and personal development tailored to the individual interests and needs of each student-athlete.

"Our student-athlete experience is rooted in excellence in competition, the classroom and community as we champion all Wildcats to achieve their dreams," said director of athletics Desireé Reed-Francois. "Dr. Read's leadership continues the outstanding legacy of our C.A.T.S. program, inspires personal growth and creates a vision for professional success after sports. We are grateful for the Tyler Family's commitment to impacting the lives of student-athletes and helping create future Wildcat leaders. I would like to thank the Tyler Family for their incredible generosity in supporting all 508 of our student-athletes, including their commitment to our holistic development of all Wildcats."

A former two-time captain of the women's soccer team at Towson University, Read said she personally understands the impact that support can have on the development of student-athletes. While at Towson, she connected with academic counselors and faculty who inspired her to think about her own future and worked closely with support staff and her teammates to keep one another motivated. Through those experiences, Read said she learned to love supporting her teammates and the power of sport and education.

Read graduated from the Towson Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in sports management before completing a master's degree in the same subject from the University of Connecticut. While in Connecticut, Read said her passion for helping others bloomed into a professional journey that led to her earning a doctorate in educational leadership from UArizona. 

Read is excited to maintain and improve the level of developmental support for student-athletes and is particularly excited to work alongside other C.A.T.S. professionals to develop more experiential learning opportunities, such as internships that support future career goals.

Read highlighted a variety of Arizona Athletics' recent activities in supporting student-athletes:

  • Last October, Arizona Athletics hosted its first-ever Community Cats Fall Festival in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Tucson. More than 70 local youth spent the day with Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat in the Cole and Jeannie Davis Sports Center participating in arts, crafts, sports drills and games.
  • Arizona student-athletes met with over 25 different employers and providers of career resources in November at the re-launch of Career Night.
  • In January, the department held its inaugural Career Trek, a two-day, off-campus networking opportunity that allowed student-athletes to build connections with Arizona alumni, community members and other student-athletes.
  • The department sent five student-athletes to the 2024 Black Student-Athlete Summit in Los Angeles in May. The summit is dedicated to preparing Black student-athletes for life beyond sports, through workshops, panel discussions, career fairs and networking opportunities.

"Our biggest success is the ways that all C.A.T.S. areas and athletics staff work together to support student-athletes every single day," Read said. "The continued academic success, post-graduation accomplishments and sport-specific accomplishments are a testament to every single person that works with the athletes and other staff members to ensure a high level of excellence. It's a really special team to be part of."


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