Kentucky Sports Authority Board Members & Staff

KSA Board

Jerry Abramson, Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth

Jerry Abramson

Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson was the longest-serving mayor in the city of Louisville’s 232-year history, having won election to five terms, two of them over a merged city and county government.

Throughout 21 years as mayor, Abramson oversaw a dramatic transformation of Louisville. He helped maintain and enhance Louisville’s economy during the nation’s recent economic crisis by bringing the KFC Yum! Center to the city’s waterfront and supporting the expansion of major employers such as UPS, Ford and GE. At the same, Abramson supported local small business and accelerated the community’s downtown revitalization with the addition of Fourth Street Live, the Frazier International History Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center.

Abramson was known for creating public/private partnerships to further policy goals, including one that brought together the business, government and civic sectors for the Greater Louisville Education Commitment, a widely successful effort to increase college graduation rates.

He also brought together diverse partners to re-invent Louisville as a “City of Parks” and to develop a nationally recognized public housing model. In 2008, the U.S. Conference of Mayors acknowledged Abramson’s impact when it named Louisville “America’s Most Livable Large City.”

As lieutenant governor, Abramson will bring the knowledge, enthusiastic ideas and local government experience he exhibited in Louisville to serve the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky. Over the last several months, he has spent countless hours in Kentucky’s big cities, small towns and homegrown communities, meeting local officials and families and learning what is important to them. Despite the diversity of Kentucky communities, Abramson believes all Kentuckians are united by a strong sense of values, a strong work ethic and belief in the significance of quality education.

Abramson received a B.S. in Business Economics from Indiana University and a law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He served in the U.S. Army from 1969-1971, and then went on to hold two terms on Louisville’s Board of Aldermen. In addition to privately practicing law, he served in state government as General Counsel to Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown, Jr.

He and his wife, Madeline, have a son, Sidney.

Bob Stewart, Secretary, Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet

Bob Stewart served as Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Travel from 1992 until September, 2003. This position culminated a 30-year career in Kentucky state government which included working on the staffs of four governors: He served as an assistant to Governors Wendell Ford, Julian Carroll, Martha Layne Collins, and Brereton Jones.

His work included a variety of positions that involved communications, public relations, the arts, and state marketing promotions, both domestically and internationally. A native of Frankfort, Stewart is a graduate of Centre College in Danville, Ky.

Stewart was the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of the Arts from 1983-85 and also served as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Bicentennial Commission in 1989.

As the commissioner of the Department of Travel, Stewart was responsible for a 45-person agency, a $2 million advertising campaign, and represented the state on several regional and national boards and organizations. He received national recognition from the National Council of State Tourism Directors as the 2001 State Tourism Director of the Year.

After leaving state government in 2003, Stewart worked as a marketing consultant.

He was named Secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet by Gov. Steve Beshear in June, 2013.

Bob Vance, Secretary, Public Protection Cabinet

Bob Vance

Robert D. Vance brings nearly 30 years of managerial experience and a record of civic involvement to his post as Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet. He earned business and law degrees at the University of Kentucky. He also is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University and the Executive Banking Institute at the University of Louisville.

Mr. Vance has served as president of the Maysville-Mason County Chamber of Commerce, board chairman of the Kentucky Bankers Association School of Banking and vice chairman of the Maysville-Mason County Industrial Authority.

Kathy DeBoer, Executive Director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association

Kathy DeBoer

Kathy DeBoer is currently the Executive Director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). The AVCA is a member-funded, non-profit organization that advocates for the sport at all levels by providing training, awards programs, programming and publications that serve the volleyball coaching community. Prior to her AVCA appointment, DeBoer spent three years as the Commissioner of General Services for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. In that capacity she managed a $25 million budget, 375 employees, and oversaw the Divisions of Parks and Recreation, Building Maintenance and Construction, and Fleet Services. Before her government work, DeBoer spent twenty-three years in intercollegiate athletics serving as a coach, administrator and fundraiser. She spent eighteen years at the University of Kentucky, finishing her career as the Senior Associate Athletics Director. From 1999 to 2002, DeBoer served as the Southeastern Conference representative to the NCAA Division I Management Council. From 1997 to 1999 she was the chair of the Finance Committee of the NCAA Division I Business and Finance Cabinet. From 1988 to 1996 DeBoer served as an advisor to the USA Women’s National Team. She was part of the coaching staff for three Olympic Sports Festival Teams and the 1989 World University Games Team.

DeBoer is a nationally known public speaker on the impact of gender on competitive behavior. She also does popular programs on motivation, teamwork and 21st century leadership. She has written extensively on issues of competition, gender, coaching, and intercollegiate athletics. Her articles have appeared in The NCAA News, the National Federation News, Women in Higher Education, Coaching Volleyball, Coaching Women’s Basketball, and The Soccer Journal. She has authored book chapters for a sports medicine text entitled The Female Athlete and USA Volleyball’s Annual Manual. She also has produced numerous videotapes on volleyball skill development and coaching. Her first book, Gender and Competition: How Men and Women Approach Work and Play Differently, was published by Coaches Choice in 2004.

She has a B.A. in Humanities from Michigan State University (1978) and her M.B.A. from the University of Kentucky (1988). She is married to Mark Pittman and resides in Lexington, Kentucky.

Paul Rogers, WHAS Sportscaster

Paul Rogers

In his current position at WHAS Radio, a clear-channel, 50,000-watt station, Paul Rogers anchors morning sportscasts, and is the play-by-play voice of University of Louisville football and basketball and Churchill Downs racing. He has been at WHAS since August of 1973 as a sportscaster for both radio and television. His work at Churchill Downs has included calling the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup for local TV and radio.

A native of Louisville, Mr. Rogers attended Eastern High School and the University of Kentucky. Rogers has been voted “Kentucky Sportscaster of the Year” by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association three times, and is a multiple-winner of the Associated Press' “Best Sportscast in Kentucky.”

Paul Rogers is married and has two sons and two grandchildren. His hobbies include traveling, golf and reading (usually non-sports books.)

Joe Terry, Managing Partner, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP

Joe Terry

Joe Terry is the Managing Partner of the Washington DC Office of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, a 480-attorney regional law firm based in Cincinnati. Mr. Terry, who is a transactional attorney with a niche in sports marketing, has served as counsel to IMG College, and its predecessor Host Communications, a national sports marketing firm located in Lexington.

His sports marketing practice includes negotiating and drafting sponsorship, event management and licensing agreements and has done so with numerous Fortune 500 corporations and national television networks. He has negotiated and drafted sponsorship agreements on behalf of the NCAA, the SEC, the Big Twelve and numerous colleges and universities. Mr. Terry has been recognized in the publications, CHAMBERS USA, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers in America, having been selected by his peers.

Douglas Hall, Executive Vice President & Co-Founder – Evergreen Rehabilitation

Douglas Hall

Douglas Hall co-founded Evergreen Rehabilitation in 2000. Mr. Hall’s career in healthcare began in 1992 as a Nursing Home Administrator and he eventually moved into leadership roles, including Regional Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Administration at a publicly traded rehab provider. Mr. Hall is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, and he resides in Louisville, KY with his wife, Carrie Pearson Hall, and their four children. In his leisure time, Mr. Hall is a competitive Triathlete and multiple Ironman® Triathlon finisher.

Janna Clark, Sports and Sales Director for the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau

Janna Clark

Janna Clark is currently the Sports and Sales Director for the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau in Elizabethtown, Ky. Elizabethtown is home to the newest sports destination in the commonwealth, the Elizabethtown Sports Park. The 160-acre state of the art tournament facility includes 25 outdoor sports fields to attract regional and national sporting events to the area. The park opened in July 2012. Janna’s role is to market the park to national rights holders and tournament directors.

Prior to working with the new park, Clark spent nine years working in the tourism association management field with Lexington-based Host Communications. Additional experience includes special event fundraising, with events such as golf tournaments, 5Ks, mini car races, and auctions. Janna has also achieved success as a grant writer and event planner.

Clark serves on the Board of Directors of the Elizabethtown/Hardin County Heritage Council, as well as the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana. Clark has authored articles for “Sports Destination Magazine”, a national sports tourism publication, focusing on the economic impact of hosting sporting events.

She has a B.A. in Communications and an M.A. in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is married to Mitchell Clark and they have two sons, Jackson, age 8 and Will, age 5.

 Stephen N. St. John, Regional General Manager, Eastern Kentucky Expo Center

Steve St. John, a native of Flint, Michigan, graduated from Grand Blanc High School in 1980.  During his high school years, he was a two-sport student- athlete, playing both hockey and football.  After graduation he attended Baker College in Flint, Michigan, where he studied management and accounting.

Steve began working in arena management in 1997 at Ice Mountain Arena in Burton, Michigan, where he served as General Manager.  Later, he worked with the Carolina Hurricanes organization for eight years, managing two facilities:  first, the Compuware Sports Arena as General Manager and then the Germain Arena as Vice President of Arena Operations.  In 2006, he started in his current position as Regional General Manager with SMG Management at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center.

Steve is married to Susan St. John, and is the father of five children and the proud grandfather of four.

Chuck Haddaway, Executive Director,CEO of Kentucky Recreation and Park Society, Inc.

Chuck Haddaway is the Executive Director / CEO of the Kentucky Recreation and Park Society, a nonprofit organization that promotes park, recreation, sports, and active living throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  In that role, Chuck also represents the state regionally and nationally on parks and recreation issues.  He currently is privileged to serve as the Chair of the Kentucky Land Water Conservation Fund Advisory Board, the National Recreation and Park Association Programming Committee, the NRPA National Council of State Executive Directors and the Kentucky League of Cities Board of Directors among other appointments.

Prior to assuming the leadership of KRPS, Chuck spent over 24 years in radio broadcasting, a decade in development and varied positions through the years in sports and recreation community services.  He studied Pre-Law and Policy Analysis at the University of Louisville, where he also enjoyed a year as the Cardinal Bird mascot!  Currently residing in Louisville with his wife and twin children, Chuck can usually be found, in his leisure time, on a volleyball court, a golf course, or obviously in a local park.


Alvis Johnson, President and Chief Operator of Harrodsburg Transportation Company, Inc.

Alvis Johnson is President and Chief Operator of Harrodsburg Transportation Company, Inc. He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky where he earned his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. He later earned his Master of Arts (MA) degree in History from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. He is a former high school educator, athletics director, assistant principal, head football coach, head track coach, and community leader.

He is married to Rosetta Cooke of Smith’s Grove, Kentucky. She is a graduate of Western Kentucky University where she earned her teaching degree. They have two sons: Derrick Alvis Johnson and Dennis Alan Johnson, both who attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky on football scholarships and later going on to sign national football contract in the NFL.

Mr. Johnson served twenty eight years in the public school system in Kentucky in the positions stated above. He also spent eight years as the Assistant Director of Athletics at the University of Kentucky before going into private business in July 2006.

Mr. Johnson has served honorably, both locally and nationally. He became the first African American in US history to be elected as president of the National Federation of High School Athletics in the United States. This is the governing body for all high schools athletics played in the United States. He served eight years as a member of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control (KHSAA) where he was elected as president in 1992. From 1996 to 1997, he served on the NCAA School Relations Committee.

Mr. Johnson was inducted into the Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1992 and into the Kentucky Dawahares High School Hall of Fame in 2004. Walt Disney selected him as a finalist for the Walt Disney National Teacher of the Year Award in 1996, where he was chosen runner-up. He was honored in 2002 as one of the most successful football coaches in Kentucky high school football history winning nearly 200 games in a short career, establishing a winning percentage of 71.6%.

Mr. Johnson served the last eight years in his position as Assistant Director of Athletics for the University of Kentucky, as chief purchasing officer for the University of Kentucky’s multi-million dollar Nike Sports contract, where he was in charge of providing athletic team equipment for all of the University’s athletic teams.

Wade Houston, President of Dry Ice Blasting Technologies
Born in Alcoa, Tennessee, Wade Houston attended public schools in Alcoa and graduated in 1962 from Hall High School.  In 1962, he became the first African-American player to sign a basketball scholarship at the University of Louisville.  He graduated from the University of Louisville in 1966 earning a Bachelor’s Degree and later received a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology.  During his attendance at the University, he was a three-year letterman in basketball and a two-year starter.

Wade’s coaching and playing career began in 1966 as an assistant Coach at Ahrens High School.  Following four seasons at Ahrens, he traveled to Strasbourg, France to coach and play professional basketball from 1970-71.  Upon returning to the United States, he became the head coach at Ahrens High School and later Male High School in Louisville, Kentucky where his team played two state tournament championship games and won the 1974-75 Kentucky State Basketball Championship.  Wade then began a long and successful association with the University of Louisville.  He served as the Director of Corporate Relations before becoming a full-time member of the basketball staff.  While at the University of Louisville, Wade was responsible for recruiting and recognized nationally as one of the premier recruiters in the country.  His efforts were recognized and he was subsequently promoted to Assistant Head Coach.  During his tenure, the University of Louisville’s Basketball teams appeared in four Final Four competitions, winning the National Championship in both 1980 and 1986.  In 1990, Wade was inducted into the University of Louisville Athletic Hall of Fame.  In 1999, Wade was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and the Male High School Alumni Hall of Fame.

In 1989, the University of Tennessee hired Wade.  He was the first black head coach in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).  During his stay at the University of Tennessee, Wade’s teams participated in two National Invitational Tournaments and he was named NABC’s District 7 Coach of the Year, voted State’s Top Coach by the Tennessee Sportswriter’s Association, and listed in USA Today as an Honorable Mention selection for its “five best coaching jobs”.  In March 1994, Wade resigned his position at the University of Tennessee and decided to devote his talents, resources, and energies to his expanding business interests.

Wade’s interest and commitment to business began in the early 1980’s when he and his college roommate, Charlie W. Johnson, formed Big III Enterprises and opened a convenient type grocery store to service Louisville’s West End community.  In 1982, they formed Johnson-Houston Corporation, a company which offered “just in time” delivery to the local Ford Truck plant and in 1987, they incorporated Houston-Johnson, Inc.  In addition, in 1987, Johnson-Houston entered into a partnership with an Illinois-based company, Jupiter Corp. Transportation System, to form Active Transportation Company.  While under their ownership, Active Transportation Company had the distinction of being the largest minority carrier of finished automobiles and trucks in North America.  In 1994, Wade and his partners joined with Dennis Troha to purchase the remaining trucking entities of Jupiter Corp. Transportation Systems.  What followed was a major organizational restructuring which included the formation of Dallas & Mavis Specialized Carrier Company (DMSCC).  Wade became the president and chief executive officer of DMSCC, which was the largest minority owned transporter of heavy machinery, aluminum, steel, and military equipment in the U.S. operating over 900 trucks and trailers. 

In 1999, Wade and his partners formed JHT Holdings, Inc. with Wade serving as Chief Executive Officer.  Under JHT Holdings, Inc. the partners owned and operated three major trucking entities – Active Transportation Co., Automotive Carrier Services Co., and Dallas & Mavis Specialized Carrier Company.  In July of 2001, Wade and his partners sold their stock in JHT Holdings, Inc. to Dennis Troha, a former partner.

Wade presently serves as Executive Vice President of Houston-Johnson, Inc. which is a logistics provider and warehouse management entity that coordinates specific just-in-time activities related to:  inbound receiving, inventory control, storage, freight consolidation, facility management, container handling, parts sequencing, outbound dispositioning, time sensitive window coordination, and freight cartage and delivery.

Aside from his business interests, Wade is, and has always been active in his community.  He is a NAACP Life Member.  He is a Director of Old National Bank.  He is a member of the First Tee of Louisville, a member of the University of Louisville Athletic Board, a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, a member of the Kentucky Center for African-American Heritage Board of Directors, Rawlings Board, Chattanooga State Technical Community College Foundation Board, and 2008 Ryder Cup Community Relations Chair.  In 2002, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Spalding University for his leadership in business and educational endeavors.  More recently, Wade was profiled in Passing The Torch a compilation of stories and experiences of Louisville’s pioneering leaders and the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame Laureates.

He regularly gives his time to the community by giving speeches and motivational talks to various civic organizations and clubs.  He is an active supporter of 100 Black Men of America and he is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.  He is one of the founders of the Black Coaches Association, a body of some 3,000 members, who have had a significant impact on the inclusion of minorities in administrative and coaching positions in high school, college, and professional athletics.  He is very active in the Green Castle Baptist Church Sports Ministry.  

Wade is married to Alice Kean Houston, and the couple has three children:  Allan, Lynn, and Natalie, and fifteen grandchildren.

KSA Staff

Matt Sawyers, Acting Director

Laura Negron, Sports Sponsorship Program Administrator

Laura Negron Laura Negron oversees all aspects of the KSA Sports Sponsorship Program.

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