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Meet Our Staff

Where the Passion Begins

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Jim has served as Play Like a Champion's Director of Operations since 2016 following a 23-year career in finance with GE Capital. He has both an MBA and a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. Jim leads Play Like a Champion's A Team for Every Child initiative, partnering with youth sports leaders in underserved communities to create collaborative sports associations which provide safe and supportive programming for all children. With established associations in Chicago & South Bend, more are in the works.

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Clark has taught at Notre Dame since 1982. He is a thought leader in the field of in moral education and developmental psychology. He has developed Play Like a Champion’s the coach/mentor coaching curriculum which is used throughout the Michiana Athletic and Recreation Association (MARA) network.  Clark is one of the founding members of MARA and is actively engaged in supporting MARA’s development in the community.

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Kristin has served as the Program Director of Play Like a Champion Today since the program’s inception. She leads partner relations, coordinates educational programs, and spearheads the development of new curricula. Kristin has co-authored numerous articles and publications while presenting Play Like a Champion workshops across the country. Kristin earned undergraduate and master's degrees in theology and psychology from Notre Dame, where she was a varsity athlete on the cheerleading team.

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Fabian began teaching in 1998 at the University of Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies. He was born in Nigeria and did his university studies in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Rome (Italy), Oxford (England), and here in the United States at Duke University. As a scholar, his work has been focused on the New Testament, Early Christian History, and Jewish History in the Early Roman Period. Of late, he obtained a dual Executive MBA in Management from Purdue University and Tilburg University (Netherlands).   



Mariah is a native of South Bend, having attended Washington High School and going on to graduate from Purdue University with a degree in Psychology in 2020. She has been with Play Like a Champion since 2021 working on data collection, reporting and marketing for the Michiana Athletic and Recreation Association, one of Play Like a Champion’s A Team for Every Child partner organizations. Mariah is trained to lead Restorative Justice Peace Circle groups in local Michiana schools and sport programs to create a self-healing community among and with youth. 


Meet the Board: Team Members

Yanic McDowell is a dedicated educator, community advocate, and director of mentorship with extensive experience in promoting positive behavioral outcomes and fostering inclusive learning environments. Currently serving as Youth Sports Coordinator in the South Bend School Corporation, Yanic is committed to empowering students to succeed academically and thrive socially and emotionally. With a background that includes roles such as Director of Elementary School Athletics and Dean of Students at Harrison Elementary, he has a proven track record of promoting physical activity, teamwork, and character development among students. He is deeply committed to improving the lives of youth in South Bend. 


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In 1981, she was 1 of the 3 women first awarded academic-athletic scholarships to the University of Notre Dame. Her work experience includes teaching & social service administrative positions, 20 years as a small business owner, 9 years as the first executive director of the local affiliate to the Alzheimer’s Association, and most recently a term on the South Bend Common Council as chair of the Health & Public Safety Committee. She continues to advocate for trauma-informed communities, climate action, equity and inclusion within institutions. 

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Derrick Perry is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who was born and raised in South Bend, IN. Derrick has worked in mental health with children and adolescents for over 10 years. Derrick is passionate about ensuring our youth can grow into productive citizens of the world. 

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Michael Poole founded Positive Outlook over 20 years ago to create safe, inclusive and caring youth sports programming for the youth in South Bend. Positive Outlook programs include mentorship developing life skills and encouraging healthy choices. Programming includes the South Bend Breakers (basketball), summer and winter camps and in school programs (South Bend Community School Programs) for youth (boys and girls) age 8-18. Mike is a founding member of the Michiana Athletic and Recreation Association (MARA). 

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Jay has worked in education and youth sports particularly in the South Bend Community since graduating from Purdue University.  He works at Marquette Montessori Academy and coaches soccer at Adams High School. 

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Captain David Herron is a lifelong resident of South Bend. He has been a member of the South Bend Police Department since 1998. Captain Herron also serves as the Coordinator of the South Bend Police Athletic League (PAL) program, where Police Officers teach kids life learning skills through athletics. This program serves approximately 1000 youths and young adults each year 

Meet the Board: Team Members
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