BOWLING GREEN - Janna Blais has spent nearly 11 years working in Bowling Green State University's athletic department.
Her duties as senior associate athletics director/senior woman administrator officially come to an end today after recently accepting a similar position at Northwestern University.
The job at the Big Ten university is one she considers an opportunity of a lifetime. Yet, accepting the position leaves her with mixed feelings.
"It's really bittersweet to me because it's just been an absolutely wonderful place, and I'll miss the people and the relationships the most," Blais said. "I came to Bowling Green thinking that I would give it three years because you have to give anything three years to find out whether you like it or not."
Blais, a Lakeville, Mass. native, found BG and the Bowling Green community more than agreeable. BG became home for the University of Connecticut graduate and former Husky softball standout, who earned All-America recognition for her play on the softball diamond her final two years.
Blais' experience working as a Falcons official called for her to serve as sport coordinator for nine of BG's 18 intercollegiate sports programs. She has assumed duties managing the athletic training and strength and conditioning facilities. She has also worked as an instructor of a leadership course designed specifically for student-athletes.
She has enjoyed her position within BG's athletic department.
"All the time I've been at Bowling Green, I've never applied for another job," Blais said. "This was just the right job at the right time for our family at the right place."
Blais admits Northwestern offered a challenge and an opportunity to use the skills she has honed as an administrator at BG in a different environment.
But there is a level of ambivalence about leaving the place where she launched her career in college athletic administration.
"So, I feel really fortunate to be able to make this step in my career, but I look back and think it's going to be really hard to leave Bowling Green," Blais said. "I don't feel like I'm really leaving, I'm leaving this job. It'll always be a part of me, so I'm not giving away all of my orange and brown because I'm coming back, and I'm still going to be a huge fan."
FALCONS TO TAKE PART IN PINK ZONE: The BG women's basketball team will wear pink against Ohio at 2 p.m. Saturday at Anderson Arena.
The Falcons are taking part in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's annual Pink Zone initiative, which was started in 2007 to raise awareness for breast cancer. The Falcons will wear pink T-shirts during pre-game, and fans are encouraged to wear pink to show their support.
Contact Donald Emmons at: