Courtesy of Allie Ware

Excited and enthusiastic to begin, Allie Ware, a former Division I lacrosse player and experienced fundraiser since 2014, has joined Yale Athletics as the assistant athletic director for development. 

Starting on Sept. 21, Ware began working with various Yale Athletics Associations, which fundraise for individual teams, creatively approaching her new role amid the obstacles posed by Yale’s altered sports schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Allie Ware’s new position in Yale Athletics is a result of her years of work within the world of sports, fundraising and alumni relations. Raised in Atlanta, Ware’s academic and athletic career at the University of Richmond inspired her love of sports and connecting with others, sparking her interest in a career within its fundraising sector.

“I love getting to know people and I think each person has a story to tell,” Ware said, reflecting on her initial interest in her field. “I think working in fundraising, it’s a mixture of both, like, it’s getting to know that person and their story … while still being involved in college athletics.”

In the beginning of her athletic career, Ware played Division I varsity women’s lacrosse at the University of Richmond, taking on a role of captain her senior year.

She describes her experience as a student-athlete at Richmond as “the best four years of [her] life,” where she was both athletically and academically urged to explore the opportunities around her.

Ware explained that academics, not only athletics, are very important to her. She majored in sociology at Richmond and eventually received her master’s degree in higher educational leadership from Mercer University.

“I realized that I really like being in a classroom, and I’m kind of a nerd,” Ware said. “I want student athletes to have the same life changing experience that I had.”

During her four years at Richmond, Ware developed a strong relationship with the Spider Club, a fundraising sector for athletics at the university, and eventually began an internship there. This internship guided her toward her eventual career at Yale.

Ware also developed close connections to mentors within the Richmond athletic program. Allison Kwolek, head coach of women’s lacrosse at Richmond for the past nine years, spoke very highly of Ware. Kwolek said that their relationship lasted long past their two years together during her junior and senior years of college.

At Richmond, Ware developed a strong relationship with the Spider Club, a fundraising sector for athletics at the university and eventually began an internship there. (Photo: Courtesy of Allie Ware)

“She did a lot for us,” Kwolek said. “She was somebody that embraced change and wanted it to be successful.”

Kwolek described the contributions made by Ware to her team, who often served as a catalyst to help the coaches and assistant coaches implement positive change within the program. Ware did this while still being incredibly “passionate [and] loyal” to her teammates. 

Following her collegiate career, Ware returned to Atlanta to work for the Aspire Group, a sports entertainment firm. There, she sold tickets and made cold calls for programs and events, like the U.S. Open and NCAA Championships, to raise money. 

Brian Gerrity, senior associate athletic director and executive director of the Athletic Foundation, then hired Ware to work as a graduate assistant at Mercer. Gerrity soon promoted Ware to assistant director of the Mercer Athletic Foundation.

“The biggest thing is her energy,” Gerrity said. “She always remembers people’s birthdays … she knows what’s important to people and celebrates it.”

According to Gerrity, Ware also played an essential role in establishing the Mercer’s Women’s Athletic Endowment before she was recruited back to Richmond to oversee the Spider Athletic Fund.

Soon after being promoted by the University of Richmond, the opportunity for Ware to assume her new position at Yale became available and, in her opinion, the decision was “kind of a no brainer.”

“Being around high quality people who are also really good at their job, it’s the best of both worlds,” Ware said. “So learning from them, in terms of what makes this place so special and how I can use that, … there is so much room for growth.”

Scott Lukas, the former Yale assistant director of development, advocated for Ware in the hiring process. After many conversations over Skype due to the pandemic, Lukas saw that Ware was “the perfect fit” for his position because they operate “at the same wavelength.” Lukas described Ware as a highly energetic, quick learner, who is already bringing in new ideas and initiatives to improve the Yale Athletics program. 

Lukas is now the associate athletics director for advancement and external partnerships at Yale.

“I think that she will do a great job developing relationships, developing trust with our alums,” Lukas said. “She picks up for areas that I lack and that really helps our team be better.”

This year, Ware will be working with the lacrosse, crew, hockey, swimming and diving and golf and fencing associations in helping them achieve their fundraising goals. Because there are no athletic competitions for the rest of the calendar year, Ware expressed the importance of being creative, finding a way to bring Yale to its alumni and various donors. 

As Ware looks ahead to the future, when events like the Yale-Harvard game will bring people together again, she aspires to eventually become a Division I athletic director. With the leadership of a current female athletic director at Yale, Ware is excited to learn and take in this new experience.

“I’m just looking forward to watching her career unfold, she’s got so much potential,” Gerrity said. “The sky’s the limit on her end.”

Amelia Lower | amelia.lower@yale.edu