By Alicia Stearn
When he was an athlete at West Chester University, Suni Blackwell had an epiphany.
“From being a player, you really get the luxuries of everything,” Blackwell said. “We come to the game, and everything’s set up. The bleachers, the chairs, we even
go into the locker room and our uniforms are washed and hung up. It’s pretty cool how everything comes into play. How is all of that possible?”
The WCU director explained all of this is possible under “athletic operations” and from there Blackwell knew that was the direction he wanted to go in for his career.
Blackwell attended Chester High School Academy and then West Chester University for his bachelor of science degree in liberal studies with minors in elementary and secondary education.
While Blackwell attended WCU, he played on the varsity basketball team.
“I knew I wanted to do something around sports, like sports broadcasting.” Blackwell said. “But I went into the education side of things.”
Blackwell, attended Temple University tocompletehismaster’sdegreeineducation, specializing in sports administration and recreational management.
Blackwell has been involved in sports since he was five years old and in his last year of graduate school he had the opportunity to work at Drew University as a college basketball coach and athletic administrator.
“I was on a grant through the NCAA,” Blackwell said. “I got a lot of wealth and knowledge out of that three year opportunity.”
After graduating, he got a job with Active Network, broadcasting high school
lacrosse and football games. He reported games over the internet and travelled on a tour bus to 24 states.
He then worked at the Philadelphia Housing Authority running facilities that housed girls and boys clubs.
Shortly after that, Blackwell worked as a community liaison, then a climate manager, followed by assistant coach at Chester Upland School District.
He and seven other educators started from the ground up to create an independent Catholic school in North Philadelphia for underprivileged children called Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School.
“The dream is now a reality, that 100 percent of the graduating class of 2016 were accepted into college,” Blackwell said.
As the director of Wellness, Athletics and Recreation, he encourages students to recruit each other to become student athletes by wearing their jerseys.
“It’s a commuter college so the best way to get word around is word of mouth,” Blackwell said.
To show his athletes support, Blackwell says he tries to attend all of the home games and most of the away games.
“I’m finding that balance now, of being a husband and a father of two, is very important,” Blackwell said. “Although I have my passions, self-fulfillment, and my accomplishments, I also have to balance that out and make sure I’m there for the
most important accomplishment. And I’m starting to find that balance.”
Contact Alicia Stearn at firstname.lastname@example.org