USTA President Tina Adams is joining Athletes Unlimited. (Mike Stobe / Getty Images)
EXECUTIVES & ENTREPRENEURS

Athletes Unlimited Adds Tennis and Volleyball Star Power

USA Volleyball’s Cassidy Lichtman and former USTA President Katrina Adams have joined the board of directors of Athletes Unlimited’s network of women’s pro sports leagues.

Athletes Unlimited, the pro sports organization that emphasizes individual achievement in addition to team success, has announced two major appointments to its Board of Directors. Former USA Volleyball outside hitter Cassidy Lichtman and former United States Tennis Association CEO and President Katrina Adams have each been selected to one-year terms.

With her appointment, Lichtman becomes the first active athlete to join the board of directors for a professional sports league. She competed in Athletes Unlimited’s 2021 volleyball season, plans to play next year as well, and will take the position of Athlete Representative. Upon completion of her term, league athletes will vote on the next representative to fill that seat in the future.

Athletes Unlimited operates women’s professional softball, volleyball, and lacrosse leagues, and will debut its basketball competition in 2022.

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“When Athletes Unlimited says they are an athlete-led organization, they mean it,” Lichtman said in a press release. “In giving an athlete a seat on the Board of Directors, Athletes Unlimited continues to give us a voice in the organization in unprecedented ways and I’m honored to be the first to step into that role.”

Lichtman played for the US national team from 2011-16, earning bronze, silver, and gold medals in two Pan Am Games and four Pan Am Cups. She is also a member of the US Volleyball Board of Directors and founded the non-profit P/ATH, which works to build a culture of empathy and empowerment in sports.

As for Adams, she has made waves in every stop of her career. As a Northwestern Wildcat, she won a Big Ten championship in 1986 and an NCAA Doubles Championship in 1987. She then played professionally for 12 years, winning 20 career doubles titles. From there, she went to TV and is currently part of the all-female sports panel We Need To Talk on CBS Sports Network. As an executive, she became the first African American, first former professional tennis player, and youngest-ever USTA President.

Adams will be the Athletes Unlimited Board’s Independent Director, as selected by other members of the Board.

“I am thrilled to join the Athletes Unlimited Board of Directors,” she said. “Being a decision-maker in one of the most innovative companies, designed to inspire women to be their best selves in a competitive athletic environment is in my DNA.”

Athletes Unlimited began competition in 2020 with its softball league, adding volleyball and lacrosse in 2021. Basketball is slated to begin in 2022. Rather than a traditional team format, Athletes Unlimited rewards individual athletes both for personal accomplishments and team success. The top performers each week become captains for the next week, picking new teams to help them move up the individual leaderboard.

Jon Patricof and Jonathan Soros co-founded the organization, which includes Boardroom and Thirty Five Ventures co-founders Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman Rich Kleiman on its advisory board.

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