About Us

The University of Kansas has a well-established history and tradition of excellence and KU LEADS embodies the pursuit of excellence as the Kansas Athletics student-athlete development unit. Our framework focuses on leadership training, community building opportunities, and professional development to enhance the student-athlete experience. Our goal is to support current student-athletes, connect past and present student-athletes, and educate student-athletes on the skills necessary to succeed at the University of Kansas and throughout their lives.

Our Purpose

Preparing Jayhawks to embrace challenges as opportunities and to become impact players in their communities and professional journeys.

We support student-athlete realize the world around them and the world they want. Through immersive programs, experiential learning, and signature events, we help student-athletes explore their identities, develop a sense of belonging, and build skills, knowledge and networks to support their development.

Our men's basketball program works with KU Leads throughout the year to continue to develop our team culture, and our team participates in Rock Chalk Choice Awards, Etiquette Dinner, K Ring Celebration, Welcome Back and Traditions Night, and Financial Literacy sessions. We also continue to build our program’s mental toughness with the guidance of Jayhawk Peak Performance! KU Leads not only enhances the culture but also boosts community building and engagement and assists in developing skills that will last a lifetime for all KU student-athletes.

Fred Quartlebaum Director of Basketball Operations

Over my time at KU I’ve built a strong relationship with the members of the Leads team. They helped provide me with the tools to communicate amongst administration and members of the executive staff concerning initiatives within SAAC and RISE. The programs KU Leads put on increased my exposure to the demands of the work world and expectations of professionalism which I continue to value as I transition from being a student-athlete.

Kai Alexander Rowing and SAAC Executive Board

KU Leads was the best tool for me as a student-athlete to strengthen my tools as a student and as a professional working in the department, it gave me the opportunity to succeed at a young age!

Daniel Hagerty Baseball and KU Leads Graduate Assistant

KU Leads is an exceptional department that helps our student-athletes with personal, professional, and career development to better prepare our athletes for life after college athletics. I have seen our players use their resources every week with development programs, resume building, and weekend seminars that have been very beneficial in team building and leadership. It is wonderful to have a department within the athletic department that helps out athletes get an exceptional experience outside of their sport and academics to help them grow and reach their potential. My players have grown in so many ways through the Leadership academy, KU Leads workshops and individual meetings with the staff. The KU Leads staff are passionate about the work they do, and it shows they are always energetic, positive, and excited to share new experiences with our players that leave an impact. Our program is grateful for the resources they provide, and I have directly seen the impact in my student-athletes through the services offered.

Lindsay Kuhle Head Coach Women's Golf

Giving Back

Jayhawks across all sport teams volunteered to ring bells for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign

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Signature Events

Traditions Night


K Ring Celebration


Rock Chalk Choice Awards




International Student-Athlete Gathering


One Team Games


Rock Chalk Choice Awards

Every year we celebrate our student-athlete's accomplishments with the Rock Chalk Choice Awards. The event includes a red carpet, guest speakers and plenty of awards given out!

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Leadership Development

Leadership Academy


Leadership Connect


Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)

Redefine. Inspire. Support. Empower. (RISE)

Conference Attendance


Special Olympics

Kansas Athletics partners with Special Olympics Kansas to host a field day with Kansas student-athletes

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Jayhawks Career Blueprint

The surprising history of the KU Jayhawk

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Meet our Team

KU Leads Staff  
Maya Ozery, Ph.DSenior Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Developmentmozery@ku.edu
Scott Ward, Ph.DDirector of Peak Performance and Leadershipdsward@ku.edu
Ben WilsonSenior Director of Student-Athlete Development and Leadershipbwilson@ku.edu
Casey Finnell, Ed.DDirector of Student-Athlete DevelopmentCasey.finnell@ku.edu
Samantha PalominoGraduate Assistantspalomino1@ku.edu
Ty Kelly MartinGraduate AssistantTkellymartin@ku.edu

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