JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 23, 2020) – The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Monday that Autumn Lockwood has been elevated to full-time status on the strength and conditioning staff, a move that makes her the first woman in Buccaneer history to serve in a full-time role within strength and conditioning.
“I am completely honored and grateful to be the first full-time female on the strength and conditioning staff here at ETSU,” Lockwood said. “I am inspired and motivated daily seeing women excel and make strides in the sport performance and strength and conditioning field, and I am so happy that I get the opportunity to be a part of that process. I am thankful for the support of the athletic department, specifically our director of athletics Scott Carter and ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland. I believe in adding value everywhere that I go and I am enthusiastic about growing our program and serving our university as a whole.”
The decision to entrust Lockwood with the responsibility that comes alongside being a full-time employee in his athletic department was not one Carter had to take much time to consider.
“Coach Autumn has done a phenomenal job in her work here,” Carter stated. “Her outstanding service to our department has been noted and shared with me unsolicited by her supervisors, coaches and several other members of our staff. I am thankful to solidify the position of such a hardworking and dedicated individual. I’m very proud to call Autumn a member of the ETSU Athletics family.”
In Lockwood’s elevated capacity, she will assist director of sport performance Tyler Janota in managing the totality of basketball sport performance while working exclusively with women’s basketball on all aspects of strength and conditioning including recovery, nutrition and rehabilitation protocols. Additionally, Lockwood’s responsibilities with Brittney Ezell’s women’s basketball program have expanded to cover portions of team-building and mental health awareness.
“I am thankful we can reward Autumn for her tireless efforts,” Ezell said. “Her level of preparation, organization and understanding is well beyond her years, and she is the perfect compliment to our sports medicine staff. With this promotion, we’re able to give one of the brightest stars in the sport performance industry a platform to shine.”
In addition to breaking down the gender wall within strength and conditioning at ETSU, Lockwood also becomes the first woman of color to work full-time within that subsection of the athletic department.
“This is an opportunity to pave the way for those who will follow me,” Lockwood said. “The strength and conditioning coaches that I am following have paved the way for me, and I now hope to pay that forward to those that will follow in my footsteps. I hope my diverse group of mentors are proud of my new position, because without them, this opportunity would never have presented itself. I hope that the strength and conditioning field is evolving to colorless and genderless hiring practices that allows the work, and its results, to speak for itself.”
ETSU’s athletic department continues to work towards that same goal, renewing its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion during a tumultuous 2020. The first measure in that evolutionary step forward was the creation of the What’s Important Now (WIN) committee, a collection of employees, of which Lockwood is one, brought together to address the issues of social injustice and inequality. The committee, on behalf of ETSU Athletics, mandated staff-wide diversity training, led a voting campaign for its student-athletes, amplified stories of student-athletes and coaches affected by racism and inequality in the Jerseys For Social Justice video campaign, and culminated that campaign by announcing Calvin Claggett as the department’s inaugural head of diversity, equity and inclusion.
With the long-term health and well-being of the ETSU student-athlete and campus in mind, one of the action items Claggett, Carter and the university’s vice president for equity and inclusion Dr. Keith Johnson set out to advance was the systematic shift in diversity of staff members within ETSU Athletics.
“It is a mission of the institution and department to increase the efforts of recruiting and retaining minority students, faculty and staff,” Claggett said. “Diversity promotes progress, progress leads to innovation. As a minority in both the gender and race classifications in her field, Autumn is a leader that we’re overjoyed to keep in this full-time capacity.”
But Lockwood’s appointment to the full-time position is not one fueled merely by the department’s commitment to becoming a more equal and just one, it comes from an unrelenting commitment to her craft.
“She’s an extraordinary asset to the ETSU athletic department,” Claggett said. “She is a walking barrier-breaker and she will forever be a part of history here at ETSU. I am proud to work alongside her as she serves as not only a coach for our student-athletes, but as a role model as well. Her leadership and accomplishments will leave a lasting impact on our department.”
Lockwood’s increased workload has already begun, but it is one that she welcomes with open arms as a trailblazer and passionate professional in her field.
“It is hard to adequately put into words the love I have for student-athlete development,” Lockwood said. “My purpose is to shine a light on the individual greatness within our student-athletes. Strength and conditioning is a wonderful platform as a unique piece of a whole. The weight room provides an environment in which our athletes are pushed to adapt to uncomfortable situations. Having the capability to respond to adversity in a positive way translates to their performance on the court, and in life. I aspire to inspire our student-athletes so they know that there are no limits or boundaries to the things they can accomplish.”
For more information on ETSU Women’s Basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s basketball page.