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Chico State Alumni Association

Wildcat Connect Webinar Series: The Future of Sports

What will sports look like post COVID-19?

future of sports

Register for the webinar | June 4, 2 - 3 p.m.

This webinar will discuss some of the impacts that COVID-19 pandemic has had on sports in the U.S. Panelists will discuss potential solutions to the problems facing professional and collegiate sports as well as plans and proposals for the future. In addition to discussing the impacts that the pandemic has already had, the panelists will also discuss both the short-term and long-term challenges faced by management, athletes, and fans.

Webinar host: Anita Barker, Chico State Athletic Director

Moderator: Luke Reid, Chico State Sports Information Director

Panelists: Alisha Valavanis, Valerie Cleary, Luke Barker

valavanisAlisha Valavanis, '00 - President and General Manager of the Seattle Storm Alisha Valavanis was hired as Chief Operating Officer of the Seattle Storm on June 18, 2014, and elevated to President on Oct. 1, 2014. Valavanis graduated from Chico State in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in communications, and completed her master's degree in physical education with an emphasis on athletic administration in 2004. Valavanis’ impressive coaching resume spans over two decades. She got her start in 2002 as the women’s basketball first assistant coach at Chico State. In her four years as assistant coach, the program made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, highlighted with a 2006 Final Four appearance. Valavanis moved on to the University of the Pacific in 2006, joining the women’s basketball program as an assistant coach. Valavanis joined the Storm from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was an Assistant Athletics Director of Development.

valerie-clearyValerie Cleary, '00 - Athletic Director, Portland State University Cleary completed her bachelor's degree at Chico State in 2000 and a master's degree in counseling from California State University, Long Beach in 2003. Cleary was named Portland State's Director of Athletics in 2016, which marked her return to Portland State. Cleary spent two years as Athletics Director at Willamette University after serving as Portland State's Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator from 2013—2015. She served as interim AD in late 2014, and when Cleary returned to Portland State in 2017, she stepped into the development and completion process of the Viking Pavilion, the academic and athletic center that now houses the department and hosts basketball and volleyball in a 3,000-seat arena.

luke barkerLuke Barker, '14 - Professional Baseball Player, San Antonio Missions (Triple A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers) Barker earned his bachelor's degree in exercise physiology in 2014 and master's degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in biomechanics in 2016—both from Chico State. The son of Director of Athletics, Anita Barker, and Head Athletic Trainer, Scott Barker, Barker grew up around Chico State athletics. He eventually joined the Chico State baseball program and put together one of the best pitching careers in the program's history, earning All-America honors and First Team All-Conference honors as a starter and a reliever. Barker pursued a professional career by playing in independent leagues following his senior season, eventually signing with the Milwaukee Brewers in November of 2016. An Organizational All-Star in 2018 and Southern League mid-season All-Star in 2019, Barker has advanced all the way to Triple-A and is one of the organization's rising stars.