JWU News

For Charlotte Director of Athletics, ‘All-In’ Is the Way to Win

Charlotte Director of Athletics Trudi Lacey

3/28/18 | The mantra of the JWU Charlotte women’s basketball team is “Excellence is still excellence at any level.”

That constant striving to be better has resulted in the team’s first national championship — also a first in the history of JWU Charlotte Athletics.

As director of athletics, Trudi Lacey believes in constant improvement and an “all-in” mentality. Lacey has developed what she calls “Lacey’s Laws,” her philosophy of developing the total person. Cornerstones of Lacey’s Laws include:

  • Positive self-talk
  • Team first/protect the hood
  • Be early — it’s a sign of respect
  • Be great at what you do and be good to others

Since taking the athletics helm in 2016, she has changed the recruiting philosophy: “We started to focus on good students and good people who are also really good athletes.”

The coaches have embraced the process which is helping the student athletes achieve an expected 3.03 overall GPA, that includes mandatory and supervised study hall hours.

“She holds us to a standard. She cares more than just about us putting a ball in the hoop,” says player Eufrasia Harris. “And if we get behind, we have to sprint back and forth across the court 5 times, within 55 seconds! The coaches enforce that, but it’s her rule. GPA doesn’t meet standards? We don’t get to play.”

Lacey served as general manager and head coach of the WNBA Charlotte Sting and the Washington Mystics. She also has a wealth of experience in management, mentoring, and community relations. Her leadership style evolved while working with Olympic athletes at USA Basketball.

At JWU, Lacey has focused on player development strategies. As part of her Leadership Enhancement program, she teaches a two-hour life course on leadership lessons and life skills. In addition, she oversees the 24-Hour Athlete Series, a Buddy Program, and an executive leadership guest lecture program with the goal of “creating a winning culture that includes a skill set to win at life.”

In addition, JWU athletes performed 1,400 hours of community service — including a Thanksgiving food drive for the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte and reading programs for area youth. JWU was the first USCAA school to participate in the Play for Kay to benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. As a result of Lacey’s philosophy to give back, she created a Youth Sports Day where 50 elementary school students come to JWU for sports and life skills, a campus tour and a culinary healthy snack demo.

Lacey is helping bridge the business world and JWU, encouraging business leaders and entrepreneurs to serve as mentors for our students as they prepare to transition from collegiate sports and graduation to careers.

The USCAA National Tournament win is an historic achievement for Athletics and JWU Charlotte. Another of Lacey’s Laws is, “Be grateful.” She will be quick to add, “But keep improving!”


Basketball player Eufrasia Harris (center) flanked by her mom and Lacey (right)

Throwback to Lacey’s JWU coaching days. Photo courtesy of the USCAA.

Topics: Charlotte Athletics