Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Jennifer Grubb

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Greece

Jennifer is the owner and primary therapist at Cairn Consulting, LLC. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who is passionate about helping two groups in particular: athletes who are facing the next level in the sport, addressing injury, or transitioning away from sport; and members of the LGBTQIA+ community who want to live into their authentic selves.

Additionally, Jennifer is a former professional soccer player who has represented her sport on both a national and international level during her nearly 20-year competitive career. Some of Jennifer’s notable accomplishments are:
● Representing the US Women’s National Team between 1995 and 1999
● Earning the title of “Iron Woman” for having played every minute of every game in a 3 year professional career
● Earning All-Star team selections in 2001, 2002, 2003 (WUSA)
● Becoming the first defensive 4-time All-American at the University of Notre Dame
● Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 1998 and 1999
● 4-Time Big East Champion and 4-Time Big East All-Tournament Team

After retiring from her playing career, Jennifer pledged to continue sharing her love of sports by supporting athletes as they address the unique demands that athletes face, especially as they pursue goals and overcome barriers related to reaching the next level in their performance.

Off the field, Jennifer’s leadership experience includes starting a violence prevention program utilized in elementary and middle schools, previously sitting on the Board of Directors for an organization that provides direct programming for grieving children and their families, being trained as an instructor for Teen Mental Health First Aid, and being a spokesperson for a campaign that provides free community education in grit and resilience. She currently holds a position on the ARC ND (Alumni Rainbow Community of Notre Dame) board of directors, a group that is committed to inclusion of and equity for the LGBTQIA+ community at the University of Notre Dame.

Tara Koleski

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Greece

Tara Koleski is the current UWS FC Arizona Head Coach and FC Arizona Girls Director of Coaching.Koleski was the former Head Coach at Dominican University of California and former head coach for two seasons at NCAA DI UMBC and 3 seasons NCAA DII West Chester University.Tara was named the 2005 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Northeast Region Coach of the Year, the Southeast Pennsylvania Coaches Association (SEPCA) Women’s College Coach of the Year, and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East Coach of the Year. Tara was the head coach of the semi-professional Rochester Reign of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) and an assistant coach at Villanova University (2002).

As a player, Koleski competed at the NCAA DI level for University of Portland attending 2 final four tournaments awarded with honors for All-American, Offensive player of the year for WCC conference and team MVP. Koleski competed with the US U-21 National Team, and attended several US National Team pool camps. Koleski spent 2 season in the German Bundesliga for 1. FC Saarbrucken and was drafted in the 11th round to the first Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) professional league in the USA (2000-2003) playing for the San Diego Spirit and Philadelphia Charge.

Tara holds a USSF B license and NSCAA premier diploma.Tara has a Masters degree in Strategic Non-Profit Management from Harvard University, Certification in Entrepreneurship Essentials from Harvard University and a Masters Degree in Administrative Leadership from Northern Arizona University also with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from University of Portland.

Kirby Burkholder

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Albania

I was born and raised in small town Bridgewater, Virginia. I started my basketball career at Turner Ashby High School where I hold the all-time scoring and rebounding records, and have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. I continued my career at James Madison University, winning 2 CAA championships and holding CAA Player of the Year honors. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sports and Recreation Management.

After graduating, I played 9 years professionally, mainly overseas. I played in Italy (2 years), Belgium, Hungary (3 years), Poland, and Puerto Rico. I was also part of the inaugural season of Athletes Unlimited, a new up and coming Women’s Professional Sports League in the United States. I will continue to play in season two this year and currently serve on the AU Player Executive Committee for women’s basketball.

Since retiring from playing overseas, I have worked in various youth basketball organizations gearing towards providing guidance, training, and leadership to youth sports initiatives. I am currently working with Slam City Management Group: one of 16 flagship programs of the Jr. NBA. Slam City works with local youth to provide opportunities to grow on and off the court through training and team programs, and is also connected to international federations by way of USA Basketball and FIBA to bring students to the US to gain higher educational and playing experience. I am dedicated and engaged to bring more awareness and support especially to women and girls in sports and providing them with more opportunities.

Maren McCrary

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Montenegro

Maren Hendershot McCrary is a retired professional soccer player, former Team Handball US National Team member, U.S. Soccer Federation Coach Educator, Olympic Development National Team Head Coach, U.S. Youth National Team Scout, elementary Physical Education teacher, and Color Commentator for NET broadcasting.

McCrary was a 2- time Division I All-American forward at Brigham Young University where she is still the school’s second all time leading scorer. During her time at BYU she was a 4-time all conference player and 2-time conference MVP She also won a national championship and MVP of the semi-pro W-league. After graduating, McCrary, was drafted to the Carolina Courage and then traded to the San Jose CyberRays and played professionally for three years in the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), the first professional women’s soccer league in the USA. After retiring from professional soccer, McCrary played Team Handball for the United States National Team. McCrary, who was inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 2010, has coached at the Division I, Division II and NAIA college levels and held multiple Technical Director and Director of Coaching roles in youth soccer. McCrary has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and holds a USSF “A” license. In her role as a Coach Educator she instructs, leads and mentors coaches in their coach development.

Coach Maren loves her multi-faceted work in soccer that allows her to have a positive influence in the game in various capacities. She feels extremely fortunate for the opportunities, experiences, education, and empowerment that soccer has provided to her and she hopes to continue to open doors and opportunities for other females by educating and empowering women and girls through the game of soccer.

John Smith

Wrestling

Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Azerbaijan

John Smith is a name synonymous with wrestling success.

The Oklahoma State head coach won six consecutive world championships as a competitor from 1987-92, including gold medals at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Additionally, he owns five national championships as head coach of the Cowboys.

Recently completing his 31st year, Smith accepted the head coaching position at Oklahoma State in 1992 and the numbers and accomplishments since that time speak for themselves. He has led his alma mater to five NCAA team titles in 1994, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and he has coached 33 NCAA individual champions and five Olympians. Under his watch, the Cowboys have brought 21 team conference tournament championships, two Big 12 regular season titles and 129 individual conference titles back to Stillwater. He has seen his student-athletes earn All-America recognition 150 times, an average of 4.8 All-America honorees per year. Smith also has coached two Hodge Trophy recipients in Alex Dieringer and Steve Mocco.

He was recognized as the National Wrestling Coaches Association coach of the year in 1994 and 2003 and is a 15-time selection as his conference’s coach of the year (1994 and 1996 in the Big Eight and 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the Big 12).

A native of Del City, Okla., Smith owns a 462-69-6 career dual match record as a head coach (.863 winning pct.).

Smith led OSU to four consecutive NCAA team championships from 2003 through 2006.

The 2003 squad compiled a perfect 17-0 dual meet record, won the Big 12 team title, crowned six individual Big 12 champions and featured a pair of NCAA individual champions in Johnny Thompson and Jake Rosholt.

The NCAA Champion Chris Pendleton-led squad sported a 17-2 dual meet record, won the Big 12 team title and crowned four individual Big 12 champions in 2004.

Under Smith’s watch, Oklahoma State compiled a 21-0 dual meet record in 2005. That team capped the season with one of the most dominant showings in the history of the NCAA Championships when an NCAA-record five Cowboys were crowned NCAA champions. Zack Esposito won at 149 with Johny Hendricks taking the 165 championship. Pendleton repeated as an NCAA champion at 174, Jake Rosholt claimed the title at 197 and Steve Mocco won the heavyweight championship. OSU wrestlers compiled a 38-9 record at the NCAA Championships that year and the Cowboys set school records for points, margin of victory and national champions. Oklahoma State scored 153 team points to top second-place Michigan by 70 points.

Smith and the Cowboys went 16-2 in dual meets en route to claiming their fourth consecutive NCAA team title in 2006, under the leadership of Hendricks and Rosholt, who both claimed their second consecutive NCAA individual championships.

Smith won his first of five NCAA team championships in 1994 when the Cowboys compiled a 13-1 dual meet record, won the Big 8 team championship, crowned four individual Big 8 champions and three NCAA individual champions in Alan Fried, Mark Branch and Smith’s younger brother and first-ever four-time NCAA champion, Pat Smith.

For all of the championships and success he continues to enjoy as a coach, it is his career as a wrestler that is the stuff of legend. Smith truly was the best wrestler in the world.

In brief, Smith compiled a 105-5 record as a high school wrestler at Del City High School in Del City, Okla., before beginning his collegiate career at Oklahoma State, where he put together a 152-8-2 record that included a pair of NCAA individual championships in 1987 and 1988. He was a three-time All-America selection in 1985, 1987 and 1988. On the international stage, Smith rolled to a 100-5 career record that included six world championships (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992), two Olympic gold medals (1988 and 1992), two Pan American Games gold medals (1987 and 1991) and two Goodwill Games gold medals (1986 and 1990).

To this day, Smith holds Oklahoma State school records for career victories (152), single-season victories (47 in 1988), career bonus-point wins (113), single-season bonus-point wins (39 in both 1987 and 1988) and single-season bonus point win percentage (90.7 in 1987). A three-time Big Eight Conference individual champion in 1985, 1987 and 1988, Smith wrestled primarily at 134 during his collegiate career, where he strung together a 124-4 overall record. He also competed at 126, compiling a 27-4-2 overall mark, and won his lone career match at 142.

After Smith’s junior year at Oklahoma State, he won the first of his six world championships in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Smith was the only collegiate wrestler to win a world championship while still in college until 2017 when Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) claimed a title in Paris. Following his graduation in 1988, Smith qualified for the U.S. Olympic freestyle team and came away from the Seoul Olympics with the first of two Olympic gold medals and the second of six consecutive world titles.

Three more world championships ensued in 1989, 1990 and 1991 before Smith claimed the second of his Olympic gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona games to cement his legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.

His list of awards and honors received befits someone who earned the distinction of being the best wrestler on the planet. Smith was honored as the first wrestler to ever claim the James E. Sullivan Award as America’s outstanding amateur athlete when he won the award in 1990. He was the first American ever chosen as the Master of Technique and Wrestler of the Year by the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) when he received the honor in 1990. In 1992, he was presented with the Amateur Athletic Foundation’s World Trophy, becoming the first North American wrestler to earn the honor. A 2003 inductee into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame, a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and a 1997 inductee into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Smith was recognized as one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All Time at the 1996 Atlanta Games. That same year, Smith was inducted into the OSU Athletic Hall of Honor.

Smith was the 1991 selection as FILA’s Outstanding Wrestler of the Year after earning Man of the Year honors from Amateur Wrestling News in 1988, Athlete of the Year recognition from USA Wrestling in 1989 and Sportsman of the Year honors from the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1990.

In 2004, the U.S. Olympic Committee presented Smith with the Titan Award, and the next year, he joined his brother Pat as one of 15 wrestlers named to the NCAA’s 75th Anniversary Team.

The Smith family legacy is strong at Oklahoma State, as John’s older brother Lee Roy was a three-time All-American in 1977, 1979 and 1980 and claimed the 1980 national championship. John was a three-time All-American in 1985, 1987 and 1988 with a pair of national titles in 1987 and 1988, while his younger brother Pat was a four-time All-American with four national championships in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994. In 2020, John’s son, Joe, completed his career as a Cowboy as a three-time All-American.

Smith also successfully established a wrestling club that allows wrestlers from across the country to prepare and train for international competition. The Gator Wrestling Club sent three former Oklahoma State wrestlers to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games. Jamill Kelly won the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, with Daniel Cormier finishing fourth and Eric Guerrero also representing the USA in Athens.

In 1995, Smith married the former Toni Donaldson. The couple has three sons – Joseph, Samuel and Levi and two daughters – Isabelle and Cecilia.

Sally Roberts

Wrestling

Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Azerbaijan

Sally Roberts is a former elite wrestler and Combat Veteran and the Founder and CEO of Wrestle Like a Girl (R) whose mission is to empower girls and women using the sport of wrestling to become leaders in life. Sally is living proof that girls can do anything and that through sport they can realize their full potential. She is the youngest of three children and was the first person in her family to graduate high school, graduate college, and earn an advanced degree.

Sally was a resident at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center for eight years during which time she was a Three-Time National Champion, a World Cup Champion, a Two-Time World Bronze Medalist, and an Olympic alternate. She served six years in the Army as a Special Operations soldier where she volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan. Sally was also a member of the Army’s prestigious World Class Athlete Program and represented both the U.S. Army and Team USA in elite athletic competitions. As a passionate veteran and military advocate, Sally was recently featured as the cover story in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) magazine and appeared on the VFW National Campaign video.

Sally was the recipient of the 2016 Women in Sport Award on behalf of the United World Wrestling Sports Governing Body and the International Olympic Committee and was extremely honored to be named USA Wrestling ‘Woman of the Year’ for 2018. Sally was also selected as one of 25 elite women representing seven nations and 23 sports who were chosen to participate in the EY Women Athletes Business Network, a mentoring program designed to prepare and propel high-potential women leaders to greater heights of achievement through mentorship and leadership training, provided by the International Women’s Forum and its Leadership Foundation.

She is an ambassador for TrueSport, the grassroots organization for the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Sally participated in the Global Goals World Cup Activist Soccer Tournament playing for Team Sports Equality Enforcers that promoted the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Sally is also a highly sought-after speaker and author. She spoke at the United Nations ‘Global Good’ Summit, was a guest speaker on Coldwell Banker’s Speakers Series on Portraits of What Moves Her: Overcoming Obstacles, and Sally and Wrestle Like A Girl were featured on Megyn Kelly’s Today talk show. Sally recently wrote Op-Ed columns for USA Wrestling entitled The power of engagement in State Sanctioning efforts for Girls Wrestling and United We All Rise; the Power of Unity and Collaboration in Sports.

Sally earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and a Master of Arts in Sport and Performance Psychology from University of the Rockies. She earned a certification in nutrition from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

Willie O’Ree

Ice Hockey

Served as envoy

  • 2021  –  Virtual
  • 2021  –  China
  • 2021  –  Russia

Willie O’Ree is a  Canadian  former professional ice hockey player, best known for being the first black player in the National Hockey League. O’Ree played as a winger for the Boston Bruins. O’Ree is referred to as the “Jackie Robinson of ice hockey” for breaking the black color barrier in the sport. O’Ree played much of his professional career in the United States and settled in San Diego following his retirement.  He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November 2018. Since 1997, O’Ree has been the NHL’s Diversity Ambassador, traveling across North America to schools and hockey programs to promote messages of inclusion, dedication, and confidence.

Blake Bolden

Ice Hockey

Served as envoy

  • 2021  –  Russia
  • 2021  –  China
  • 2021  –  Global

Blake Bolden has broken many barriers in achieving many firsts in the sport of women’s ice hockey. After graduating from Boston College, she joined the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, winning the Clarkson cup in 2015. In 2016, she played for the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League winning the inaugural Isobel Cup. Dawned the Jackie Robinson of women’s hockey, she is the first black player drafted in the first round of the CWHL and the first ever to compete in the NWHL. Blake currently resides in San Diego, California during the off-season, working with girls all over the country specializing in mental skills, goal setting, and nutrition, using her Blake Bolden Athletics platform. She has now joined the Los Angeles Kings as their newest pro scout.

Anson Carter

Ice Hockey

Served as envoy

  • 2021  –  Russia
  • 2021  –  China
  • 2021  –  Global

Anson Carter is a former professional hockey player, playing for eight different NHL teams over the course of his career. Since joining NBCSN in 2013, Carter has worked on NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the NHL regular season, Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final. In 2005, Carter founded Big Up Entertainment, a record label specializing in hip hop music. Carter is also a co-founder of the clothing line SOMB (Shirt Off My Back). Proceeds from sales go towards providing uniforms for underprivileged youth in Africa.

Valarie Jenkins

Disc Golf

Served as envoy

  • 2015  –  Russia

Valarie Jenkins is a professional disc golfer, currently the number one ranked female disc golfer in the world. Growing up in a disc golf family, she was around the sport from an early age. She began her professional career in 2003 after placing second in the Amateur World Championships. Valarie has won 13 majors during the course of her career, including three World Championships. During the three years that Valarie was the world champion (2007-2009), she won 22 tournaments that were National Tour Events or Majors. Valarie remains one of only four women in the history of Disc Golf to have won at least 3 PDGA World Championships.