Ama Calabrese oversees women's athletic programs at the University of Louisville (Charlie Springer photo).

Amy Calabrese has largely gone unnoticed by fans and the local media in her job as the Senior Administrator of women’s athletics at the University of Louisville. Her colleagues in the Atlantic Coast Conference have noticed, however,  recently selecting her as Chairperson of the conference’s Senior Women Administrators.

Calabrese, who played for the UofL women’s soccer team from 2003 to 2006, was promoted to the post of Deputy Athletic Director. Prior to being promoted, Calabrese served as Associate Athletic Director beginning in July 2019 and was designated as the Senior Woman Administrator in November 2020.

“It was so interesting to me,” Calabrese said. “It was the first internship I did where I wanted to go to work, if that makes sense, and enjoyed just the atmosphere.” She stayed on as a graduate assistant and has never left, working her way up to now the highest-ranking woman in the department. 

A four-year starter on the soccer team, she accepted an internship in the Cardinal Athletic Fund after graduating from UofL, Calabrese oversees Health and Performance with Dr. Pat Ivey. She serves as the primary sport administrator for women’s basketball, volleyball, and women’s soccer.

In addition, Calabrese is the athletic department liaison with several campus entities, including the Dean of Student’s office, Title IX office and Housing. She  also serves on several conference committees, including the ACC Women’s Basketball Committee, ACC Field Hockey Committee and ACC Women’s Soccer Committee.

Calabrese told WDRB in 2020 four people really stand out in helping her get to this point in her career, citing Julie Herrmann, who was the senior female administrator when Calabrese was a student-athlete, former Athletic Directors Tom Jurich and Vince Tyra and her soccer coach, Karen Ferguson-Dayes.

More from that WDRB feature piece:

“As a sophomore, (she) made me a captain, put me in leadership positions,” Calabrese said of Ferguson-Dayes. “And I really feel that she had a belief in me that I didn’t necessarily have in myself right away. That experience as an athlete and her mentorship really laid the foundation for me wanting to move into management positions and leadership positions in my career.”

“There are players that are special, special players that can change and influence a game,” Ferguson-Dayes said. “Very rarely are there special people. And Amy kind of had that special, unique, I call it the ‘it’ factor. She just had ‘it.’

“I could sense that the team absolutely didn’t want to let her down.”  

“At first, I thought ‘this is crazy,'” Ferguson-Dayes said. “This is totally crazy. I could potentially have one of the players I brought here fire me.”

She earned her bachelor’s degree in sports administration with a minor in business administration from UofL in 2007 and went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration, also from UofL, in 2009. She is a graduate of Ignite Louisville and Leadership Louisville. She is also a member of Women Leaders in College Sports, and graduate of both their Institute for Administrative Advancement and Leadership Executive Institute. Calabrese is a 2021 graduate of the selective NCAA Pathways Program.

She and her husband Rich have three children, Jack, Colin and William.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.