Terry Gawlik ’81, Chairwoman, NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship
Terry Gawlik ’81 shares her experience as Chairwoman of the 2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Committee.
A student-athlete in both basketball and volleyball, Terry Gawlik took her on court experience to the next level. She became a collegiate coach within the same conference right after graduating from Southwestern in 1981. After 13 years of collegiate coaching in Texas, she joined the Athletic Department staff at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. During her time there she was promoted to her current role of Senior Associate Athletic Director of Sports Administration, overseeing several of the Badgers’ sports teams.
Through her role at Wisconsin, Gawlik was selected by the Big Ten Conference to serve as an administrator on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Committee. This was not her first NCAA Division I Committee Chair role, having also chaired committees for the Women’s Volleyball Championship and Men’s Soccer Championship for two years each.
While the media “madness” starts in March, Gawlik’s work started on the tournament much earlier in the year. “Our Committee had several meetings to review teams and discuss who we are watching and share intel on the teams. We also had four regional calls and receive information from the coaches assigned as regional representatives from each conference.” The National Championship Committee is made up of 10 members and each are assigned by primary and secondary conferences to monitor during the year. Gawlik adds, “I watched close to 300 games this season alone to prepare for Selection Weekend.”
This year, selections took place on Monday, March 13, 2017. Terry reported to Indianapolis the Thursday prior, never leaving the hotel in the days between. “The NCAA staff has a room set up for us to work in. We start by filling out a sheet that asks us to list teams we think are: in for sure in our mind, under consideration, and the NCAA fills in the 32 automatic qualifiers. Then we start the process with teams that get all but one vote being moved in the tournament.” Gawlik shared that the Committee continues this process by voting teams in and, then, starts filling in the seed lines. “We are very thorough and our NCAA media liaison takes notes on everything we discuss so we have record of it.”
This year’s Women’s Basketball Tournament made history with the University of South Carolina’s first Championship and the ending of the University of Connecticut’s 111-game winning streak.
Reflecting on her experience as Chairwoman of the tournament, Gawlik shares, “It was one of the best experiences that I have ever had and one of the most challenging. Preparing agendas, directing the meetings, doing homework on all the teams and conferences and speaking on behalf of the committee to the media was challenging but also fun. I learned a lot about myself and how my mind works as a visual by being on all these committees. It was very rewarding and I met some of the best people in our business who all have the student-athlete experience in mind.”
Terry Gawlik is originally from Bulverde, Texas, and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Southwestern. As a Pirate, Gawlik played both women’s basketball and women’s volleyball.