Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Peter Hughes

Wheelchair Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2024  –  Saudi Arabia

Mr. Peter Hughes has a long career in athletics as a coach and administrator, as well as nonprofit, sales, and fund development. Since 2017, he has served as Director of Adaptive Athletics at the University of Arizona. UArizona’s Adaptive Athletics program is the largest program of its kind and has produced 40+ Paralympians. As director, he supervises a large professional staff and cultivates relationships with donors who support program operations, as well as other community contacts to increase awareness of wheelchair and adaptive sport. During his tenure as director, Mr. Hughes he has tripled the number of enrolled student athletes and has committed to financially supporting each one because he believes sport is an important inroad to higher education and supports employability, areas in which disabled people are sorely underrepresented.

Mr. Hughes has coached various sports from YMCA to NCAA, and athletes of all ages with and without disabilities. As UArizona’s wheelchair track coach, he coached four Paralympian track athletes, including a gold medal winner. As UArizona’s women’s wheelchair basketball coach, he led the team to four straight national title games and won two titles.

In service to the international disability community, Mr. Hughes established UArizona as a site for the Global Sports Mentoring Program and hosts one or more international delegations of disabled athletes or coaches annually. Mr. Hughes founded the non-profit organization Wheelchair Athletes Worldwide (WAW) that donates sports wheelchairs and holds wheelchair sports camps in developing countries that do not have access to such equipment or coaching. WAW has donated over 50 wheelchairs in four different countries and is set to do another donation in Uganda in 2023.

Mr. Hughes earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, with a teaching credential in Physical Education and specialist teaching credential in Adapted Physical Education from San Diego State University, and a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis on sport and exercise psychology from the University of Western Australia.

Darlene Hunter

Wheelchair Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2024  –  Saudi Arabia

Dr. Darlene Hunter has a long career in athletics as a three-time Paralympic athlete in women’s wheelchair basketball. Dr. Hunter was on the USA National Team from 2010-2016 and 2019-2021; winning a gold medal in 2016 and a bronze medal in 2020. In addition, she has helped to establish the intercollegiate women’s wheelchair basketball program at both The University of Arizona and The University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to playing women’s wheelchair basketball, Dr. Hunter was an elite track athlete. She acquired a spinal cord injury at the age of four which resulted in her being a paraplegic; paralyzed from the waist down.

Dr. Hunter was the CEO of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) (2022-2023) expanding wheelchair basketball opportunities throughout the United States. Prior to taking on the CEO position with the NWBA, Dr. Hunter was the chair of the women’s division within the NWBA for 10 years, as well as the athlete representative of wheelchair basketball for The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. She helped to increase the number of women’s teams within the division from six teams to the current sixteen teams.

In service to the disabled community, Dr. Hunter established a women’s wheelchair basketball camp at The University of Texas at Arlington. It is the only women’s camp in the US that is free to attend. The purpose of the camp was to establish a place where women can come together in sport, but to build a support system, practice independence and be mentored by other women in the sport. We wanted women to see others in the workplace, have a family, and experience life on a university campus. In addition, Dr. Hunter holds board positions at several other adaptive sports non-profits creating sport opportunities for those with physical disabilities. In 2017, Dr. Hunter was named as Toyota’s Everyday Hero for her work to broaden and grow the game in women’s sports.

Dr. Hunter earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a double minor in political science and special education from the University of Arizona. In addition, two master’s degrees in public health and social work from The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and a Ph.D. in Family Studies from Texas Woman’s University (TWU). Dr. Hunter is a licensed master’s social worker and is a professor teaching disability and social work at UTA.

Bonnie Young

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Trinidad and Tobago
  • 2023  –  Saudi Arabia

Bonnie currently coaches in USYS ODP program with the Midwest and West regions, the Colorado Select program, and Real Colorado soccer club.

Young had been the director of the FC Boulder girls academy since January, 2018 and has previous experience playing professional soccer. Young has more than 17 years of experience in coaching and club leadership across all levels, from recreational soccer through women’s professional soccer with the Chicago Red Stars and the Washington Spirit

Maren McCrary

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Montenegro
  • 2023  –  Saudi Arabia

Maren Hendershot McCrary is a retired professional soccer player, former Team Handball U.S. National Team member, U.S. Soccer Federation Coach Educator, Olympic Development National Team Head Coach, U.S. Soccer Youth National Team Assistant 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.

Maren and her husband Josh live in Denver, Colorado and have three children: daughters, Cumorah and Jordan, and son, Justis.

Ruthie Bolton

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Saudi Arabia
  • 2013  –  Kazakhstan
  • 2014  –  Moldova
  • 2015  –  Bangladesh
  • 2018  –  Armenia
  • 2018  –  Georgia
  • 2019  –  Kosovo
  • 2019  –  Albania

Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and WNBA All-Star.

Scored over 2,000 career points, is fourth of the WNBA’s all-time 3-pointer list, and is the only player in the history of the Sacramento Monarchs to have her number retired.

First WNBA Player of the Week in July of 1997, a member of the 1999 First Team All WNBA, and a two-time WNBA All-Star in 1999 and 2001
The 1991 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year.

Played with the 1995-96 US Women’s National Team that compiled a perfect 60-0 record.

In four seasons at Auburn, she led her team to a combined record of 199-13, which included three Southeastern Conference Championships (1987-1989), four NCAA Tournament appearances and two runner-up finishes in 1988 and 1989.

She was named to the 1988 NCAA Women’s Final Four All-Tournament Team.

A 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army.

2011 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee.

Ruth Riley

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2014  –  Morocco
  • 2014  –  Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 2014  –  Spain
  • 2015  –  Mozambique
  • 2015  –  Botswana
  • 2015  –  South Africa
  • 2015  –  Saudi Arabia

Person Info/Academic
-Born: August 28, 1979
-University of Notre Dame 1997-2001
-Summa Cum Laude, BA in Psychology
-Recipient of an NCAA postgraduate scholarship
-2001 Recipient of the NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award recognizing athletics, academic achievement, character and leadership
-First Vice President of the WNBA Players Association since 2005
-A 2010 inductee into Notre Dame’s prestigious Ring of Honor
-Inducted into the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame
-Wrote a children’s book “Spirit of Basketball” for the WNBA’s Detroit Shock
-13 year WNBA veteran currently playing for the Atlanta Dream

In the Community
-Spokesperson for “Nothing But Nets” established by the UN Foundation to combat Malaria in Africa (#1 killer of children on the continent)
-Spokesperson for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry initiative.
-Co-Founder of Inspire Transformation (and NGO that does HIV/AIDS awareness & prevention through leadership and sports training in South Africa)
-4 time recipient of the WNBA’s Community Assist Player
-Appointed in 2009, by President George W. Bush to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
-Recipient of the Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award in 2010
-Recipient of the 2011 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award presented by the WNBA
-NBA/WNBA Cares Ambassador for the NBA since 2013

USA Basketball
-2004 Gold Medal Olympic Games (Athens)
-1999 Silver Medal World University Games

WNBA
-2006 WNBA Champions (Detroit)
-2005 WNBA All-star (Detroit)
-2003 WNBA Champions (Detroit)
-2003 WNBA Finals MVP
-2003 No. 1 Overall WNBA Dispersal draft pick by Detroit
-2001 No. 5 Overall WNBA draft pick by Miami Sol

College Basketball Awards and Honors
-2001 NCAA Finals MVP
-2001 NCAA Champions
-2001 Naismith Player of the Year
-2001 Big East Player of the Year
-2001 NCAA Verizon Academic All-American of the Year
-2001 Big East conference Silver Anniversary Women’s Basketball Team
-three-time Big East All-Tournament Team (1999- 2001)
-three-time Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year (1999-2001)
-two time Associated Press All-American First Team (2000, 2001)
-1998 Big East All-Rookie Team

Lynette Woodard

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Saudi Arabia

Considered one of basketball’s greatest female players, Lynette Woodard excelled in the sport during her professional career in the 1980s and 1990s. A two-time Olympic Game basketball player, Woodard served as co-captain of the United States’ gold medal team in 1984. She became the first female member of the famed Harlem Globetrotters in 1985, and was named Big Eight Player of the Decade for the 1980s. In 1996 Woodard was named best female player in Big Eight Conference history, having set career records for scoring and rebounding. After a four-year retirement in the mid-1990s, Woodard returned to join the new Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), playing for the Cleveland Rockers and the Detroit Shock. A worldwide basketball star, Woodard is known equally well in her native United States as in Italy and Japan, where she has also played professionally.

Becky Bonner

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Kazakhstan
  • 2008  –  Kyrgyzstan
  • 2013  –  Ukraine
  • 2014  –  Sri Lanka
  • 2015  –  Saudi Arabia

Becky Bonner enters her first season as Director of Basketball Operations for the University of Louisville women’s basketball program. Bonner joined Walz after spending the last season as the Assistant Director of Operations at the University of Maryland.

At Maryland, Bonner worked with marketing and promotions, as well as facilitating the day-to-day operations of the team, which included supervising the team’s managers.

Bonner joined the Maryland staff after a successful stint playing professional basketball in Sweden and after a four-year career in collegiate basketball.

Bonner began her collegiate playing career at Stanford University, helping the Cardinal win the 2002 Pac-10 Championship. She transferred to Boston University after her sophomore year and started in all 30 games of the 2003-04 season. She earned third team All-America East Conference honors, after averaging 14.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game her junior year. She set the single-season school record with 72 three-pointers, while shooting 42.9 percent from behind the arc.

In her two seasons with the Terriers, Bonner connected on 113 three-pointers, which ranks fourth in the career annuals and ranks second all-time with a 37.3 career three-point shooting percentage.

After graduation from Boston University in 2005, Bonner spent the summer working for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats minor league baseball team before being contracted to play with Sweden’s Norrkoping.

Bonner is a native of Concord, N.H. She was a third team Parade All-American at Concord High School and was selected her home state’s Gatorade Player of the Year. In her junior year, she averaged a triple-double with 28.4 points, 16.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists per game while earning All-American honors from Street & Smith’s that year.

Bonner earned a degree in communications from Boston University. She is the younger sister of Matt Bonner who is a member of the 2007 NBA Champions, the San Antonio Spurs. Her younger brother, Luke, will be a junior at UMass where he is a member of the basketball team.

Purvis Short

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Saudi Arabia

A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Purvis Short attended Jackson State University and was the 5th overall selection of the Golden State Warriors in the 1978 NBA Draft.

Over his twelve-year NBA Career, he played for the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and New Jersey Nets. Short averaged 17.3 points per game. He is currently the Warriors seventh all-time leading scorer. In the 1980-81 season, Short had a career high of 249 assists and a 16.1 per game average. In 1984, Short scored a career high of 59 points during a 131-114 loss — it was the most points scored in the NBA since David Thompson and George Gervin.

Upon retirement from the game, he joined the front office of the National Basketball Association and currently serves as Chief of Player Programs.

Kermit Washington

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Saudi Arabia

Kermit Washington is a former American NBA player. During his time at university, he became one of seven players in NCAA history to average 20 points and 20 rebounds throughout the course of their career. He is known for his ability to gather rebounds and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers as the fifth overall pick in 1973.

Since retiring, Washington is a founder and operator of a number of charitable organizations. In 1994, Washington accompanied a team of doctors and nurses on a humanitarian mission to Goma, Zaire; to work in a refugee camp for those fleeing the Rwandan Civil War. Later in 1995, he founded the 6th Man Foundation.