Indiana Wesleyan University has chosen Tamika Catchings, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, WNBA legend, sports management executive and entrepreneur, as the 2020 inductee into the Society of World Changers. Catchings will be formally inducted into the IWU Society of World Changers during a special convocation on March 25, 2020.
Catchings’ accomplishments are vast. Raised in a Christian home, Tamika fully surrendered her life to the Lord during college. While making her mark as a starter on the women’s basketball team that reached the NCAA Elite Eight during her tenure, Tamika graduated from University of Tennessee with a degree in sports management and a minor in business in 2001. She went on to complete a master in sport’s studies, also from the University of Tennessee in 2005.
Drafted by the Indiana Fever immediately following college, Tamika would go on to win four Olympic gold medals and play an instrumental role in helping the Fever advance to the playoffs 13 times in 15 seasons, capturing the WMBA title in 2012 and being named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year five times.
All throughout her basketball career, Tamika kept a watchful eye on the inner workings of the home office. Following her retirement as a full-time player, she was hired as Director of Player Programs and Franchise Development by the Pacer’s Sports & Entertainment Organization. She also began working as an Analyst for Women’s Basketball Games for ESPN’s SEC Network. Most recently, in March 2019, she was promoted to Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Fever.
Her path to stardom was not easy. Born with a profound hearing disability, she would find that dedicating herself to the sport of basketball provided a way to overcome challenges as a youth. Impassioned to share this gift with others, Tamika founded the Catch the Stars Foundation whose mission is to empower youth to reach their dreams. Catch the Stars promotes fitness, literacy and youth development by holding camps, fitness clinics, back-to-school celebrations, mentoring programs, reading corners and scholarships in communities all over the USA.
Being a tea-loving, entrepreneur at heart, Catchings purchased Tea’s Me Café, a premier tea bar and café located in Indianapolis in February 2017. It is not uncommon to find her in the store joyfully serving the teas she loves.
In 2016, Catchings married Parnell Smith, a former basketball player from the University of Buffalo (NY). In 2016, Catchings published a book entitled “Catch A Star: Shining Through Adversity to Become a Champion”.
“She has been a vibrant witness throughout her professional basketball career and into her executive management role within the Pacers Sports & Entertainment organization,” said Dr. David Wright, president of IWU. “IWU is delighted to honor Tamika Catchings as an inductee to the IWU Society of World Changers.”