Erica Perkins Jasper, a leader in intercollegiate tennis, successful Division I head coach, and distinguished student-athlete, is entering her third year as the Director of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athletics in 2021-22, after starting in her new position on June 1, 2019.
Jasper came to CMS after serving as the chief operating officer of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), the governing body of college tennis. The ITA oversees men’s and women’s tennis at all levels: NCAA Division I, Division II, and Division III, as well as NAIA, and junior colleges and community colleges. Working with 1,700 teams, she has formed close relationships with coaches, athletic directors, and student-athletes across the nation.
Prior to joining the ITA in 2015, Jasper had been a head women’s tennis coach at the University of New Mexico, Michigan State University, and Georgia Southern University, and an assistant coach at the College of William and Mary. At each institution, Jasper’s teams improved their competitive records while also winning multiple academic honors. At New Mexico, Jasper inherited a team that had won only 17 matches in the prior three seasons and coached them to a Mountain West conference title in her third year.
“Erica brings both exemplary experience and the strongest commitments to high academic achievement, athletic competition, superior coaching, and leadership development,” said Claremont McKenna College President Hiram E. Chodosh.
Harvey Mudd College President Maria Klawe said she was “particularly impressed with Erica’s background in leading complex organizations. We look forward to her joining us so that we can continue to improve our students’ experiences in athletics.”
Jasper, said Scripps College President Lara Tiedens, “brings tremendous experience as a leader, team builder, and competitor,” and praised “her understanding of the important role sports can play in enhancing a liberal arts education and her commitment to developing well-rounded student athletes who will succeed on the field and in the classroom.”
Jasper said CMS’ deep integration of athletics with all facets of the residential liberal arts college experience drew her to the position. “CMS student-athletes represent everything right about college athletics. They are high-achieving in the classroom and competitive on their respective fields of play. They have strong relationships with their peers and faculty, they are leaders in campus organizations, and they are passionate about making an impact,” she said.
Jasper was selected through a national search, with participation from coaches, CMS staff, faculty, students, and staff from all three CMS institutions. CMC Vice President for Student Affairs Sharon K. Basso chaired the search committee. Basso said that out of the large pool of applicants, Jasper stood out because “she understands the powerful modality that college athletics provides for students to learn teamwork, leadership, perseverance, humility, and other critical skills for success in college and beyond.”
As a student-athlete, Jasper was team captain at Washington State University, where she was an Academic All-American and received the PAC-10 conference medal. She was the first WSU player to compete in the NCAA singles championship (three times), and also competed for the NCAA doubles championship. At WSU, she was the first player to play in four NCAA team championships, and in 2015, was the first tennis player inducted to the WSU Hall of Fame. She graduated from WSU summa cum laude in history, with a minor in French, and holds a master’s degree in education from WSU.
Jasper lives in Claremont with her husband, Colin, and sons, Miles and Caleb.