NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- This coming New Year's Day will see history made.
Sonja Stills was named the new commissioner of the MEAC on Tuesday and will take over the position on January 1, becoming the first female commissioner of the conference and in HBCU Division I history.
"I wake up in the middle of the night like, 'huh, look what just happened,'" Stills said on Wednesday. "Had you asked me this maybe 30 years ago, I would've been like 'no, that's not me,' but I'm super, super amazed that I'm the first, but I will not be the last."
Stills is a 1993 graduate of Old Dominion and has been at the MEAC for 19 years, currently serving as the league's chief of staff and chief operating officer.
"I know the legacy, I know the history and I know the challenges and I'm ready to get to work," added Stills.
Despite the history she'll make once she takes over her position, she hasn't thought of herself as a trailblazer, just somebody who gets the job done effectively.
"I've felt like I've been what you call a reluctant leader," she noted. "I stay with my head down, focus on getting the job done, I've always been somebody who's been in the background and I'm perfectly fine with that. Stepping out in the spotlight is something new and different for me."
Stills may be new to center stage, but she is certainly embracing her role model status.
"It's very important to provide that pipeline of individuals into sports administration, particularly females and minorities, so I absolutely embrace this role and what I can do with this."
Stills says her first orders of business once she takes the reins are staffing and surrounding herself with people who share her vision, meeting with conference members and preparing for the MEAC basketball tournaments in March.