Amanda Braun enters her fifth full year as the Director of Athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the first-ever female to hold that post at UWM.
Braun was named to the post in early March 2013 and officially took the reins of the department on May 1, 2013. In her tenure on campus, she has helped Milwaukee to new heights and played the lead role in bringing Panther men’s basketball contests back downtown. She also was instrumental in helping the University secure naming rights for UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, the downtown home of Milwaukee men’s basketball.
The department also received its first-ever $1 million gift from alumnus Fred Sitzberger, the largest ever made to Milwaukee Athletics, in the Fall of 2016.
The 2016-17 academic year was once again an amazing success. Fundraising totals increased for the fourth consecutive year, with gifts and pledges approaching $1.5 million dollars. Over Braun’s tenure, fundraising has increased 257 percent.
The student-athletes continue to shine. The Spring 2017 term marked the 34th semester in a row that Milwaukee student-athletes posted a collective GPA of 3.0 or higher. A total of 58 Panthers compiled a GPA of at least 3.80, while 16 of those achieved a perfect 4.0 mark.
Through the Fall 2016 sports season, Milwaukee had ranked first in the 2016-17 McCafferty Trophy standings for the Horizon League’s all-sports champion award. The Panthers have finished in the top three in the McCafferty Trophy standings a remarkable 17 times in the last 19 years, winning the award on seven occasions.
During the 2015-16 academic year, donations to Milwaukee Athletics reached unprecedented levels as the department topped the $1 million dollar amount for the first time ever. Under Braun’s leadership, the department also began a partnership with Learfield Sports and renewed an agreement with adidas to serve as the official footwear, apparel and accessory provider for all Panther teams through the 2020-21 school year.
Milwaukee student-athletes continue to achieve at the highest level in the classroom, as the Panthers produced an Academic All-American for the third consecutive year in 2015-16. During the Fall 2016 term, Milwaukee student-athletes posted a combined grade-point average of 3.322, which marked a school record. Six UWM programs posted perfect Academic Progress Rate scores for the 2014-15 scoring period, the most recent released by the NCAA.
In 2015-16, the women’s basketball program had its best season in a decade, reaching the Horizon League Championship game and earning a WNIT berth. Women’s soccer returned to the top of the Horizon League standings under first-year coach Troy Fabiano and senior Brett Pozolinski was named First Team All-American after finishing tied for fifth in the high jump at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Fundraising skyrocketed under Braun’s watch and in 2014-15, the department enjoyed a 42 percent increase in gifts and pledges coupled with a 45 percent bump in total donors. During the 2014-15 academic year, 10 Milwaukee teams finished first or second in either the Horizon League regular season or league tournament races. In the classroom, the Panthers posted a cumulative grade-point average over 3.00 and for the second straight year boasted an Academic All-American. Milwaukee student-athletes also topped the 4,000-hour mark in community service for the second straight year, with 4,185 hours.
In 2013-14, Milwaukee won eight Horizon League regular-season and tournament championships, produced three All-Americans and earned the conference’s McCafferty Trophy, which is awarded to the league’s all-sports champion, for the seventh time in 14 years. Success was not limited to just athletics endeavors however, as Milwaukee student-athletes performed over 4,000 hours of community service and one Panther was named Academic All-America.
Braun came to Milwaukee from Northeastern University, where she most recently served as Executive Senior Associate Director of Athletics. No stranger to the Horizon League, the Brodhead, Wis., native also previously worked for six years at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where she rose to the position of associate director of athletics before departing for Northeastern.
At Northeastern, Braun served as the top administrator to the director of athletics from 2008-13 and directly supervised four sports programs, including men’s and women’s basketball. Additionally, she supervised Northeastern’s business office staff and oversaw its $10 million annual operating budget and $10 million annual athletics scholarships budget. Braun was also involved in fundraising, athletics capital projects and student-athlete academic compliance. She joined the Huskies’ Athletics Department as associate AD in 2006.
Braun also has served stints at the University of North Carolina and Duke University and has gained valuable experience on numerous NCAA and conference committees, including the NCAA Women’s Basketball Issues and NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey committees. In October 2015, she was appointed to the NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee. The committee has oversight of competitive matters for sports other than football and men’s and women’s basketball and oversees the NCAA Olympic Sports Liaison Committee. Braun is one of 11 directors of athletics from across the country serving on the NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee.
A former basketball player at Siena College, Braun graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. She later earned a master’s in sports administration from the University of North Carolina. Braun is married to Kelly Braun and resides in Whitefish Bay.