Most influential Black executives in Boston sports

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Justin Leger
·4 min read
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Spotlighting the most influential Black executives in Boston sports originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

As NBC Sports Boston celebrates Black History Month, it's important to highlight the amazing accomplishments of African Americans who have made a positive impact on our community.

Today, we focus on some of the city's most influential Black executives in the sports industry.

Most influential Black athletes in Boston sports history

These admirable figures have been instrumental in helping others achieve their goals not only in sports, but also in everyday life. They serve as outstanding role models for the next generation.

Dajuan Eubanks, Maine Red Claws president 

Eubanks played college basketball at Rice University, where he earned a degree in Business. He spent three years as a Harlem Globetrotter and is the co-founder of Blue Wave Basketball, a youth development program in Maine that focuses on character, teamwork, and other life skills.

In addition to his role as President of the Boston Celtics' G-League team, Eubanks serves on the boards of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine and the USM Foundation and is a member of the USM Promise Scholarship Campaign Leadership Committee. 

Rebekah Splaine Salwasser, Red Sox Foundation executive director

Salwasser became the Red Sox Foundation's executive director in 2018. The Red Sox Foundation provides children, families, veterans, and communities in need with health, educational, and recreational opportunities.

Prior to joining the Red Sox Foundation, Salwasser was the executive director for the nonprofit Scholar Athletes which supports academic achievement through athletics. The organization's goal is to use sports to motivate young people to perform better in school.

Salwasser's impressive résumé doesn't stop there. The former Brown University soccer player was the community relations director for the Celtics for five years and the executive director of the Charlestown Lacrosse & Learning Center. Currently, she is on the Board of Directors for Teach for America Greater Boston and the YMCA of Greater Boston.

Kash Cannon, Boston Celtics senior coordinator, community engagement

Cannon, a former captain of the Northeastern University basketball team, joined the Celtics two years ago as the senior coordinator of community engagement. In that role, Cannon has made a tremendous impact on the younger generation and been an excellent role model to kids. Our Chris Forsberg wrote on Cannon's impact in more detail here.

Also coaching the Jr. Celtics, Cannon won Jr. NBA National Coach of the Year in 2018 for running a basketball program that focused on holistic development for inner-city females.

Vaughn Williams, Bentley University director of athletics

Williams was hired as Bentley's first Black athletic director in August 2020. Previously, he served as Boston College's senior associate athletics director from 2017-20 and director of athletics at Kennesaw State from 2011-17.

In 2017, Williams was named Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). He has served on the NCAA Division I Council, NCAA Legislative Committee, NCAA Football Rules Committee, the NIT Men’s Basketball Selection Committee, and the Hockey East Executive Committee.

Williams graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1992 with a Bachelor's degree in sports management. He also played football at UMass.

Charlie Titus, UMass Boston athletic director (retired)

Titus retired last summer but his legacy at UMass Boston most certainly will not be forgotten. He became the school's first athletic director in the late 1970s and is the heart and soul of all things UMass Boston sports.

The Roxbury native was named UMass' men's club basketball coach in 1974 and wasted no time reshaping the program as it became a Division III team shortly thereafter. Titus led UMass basketball to 317 wins before stepping down in 2015 and has earned a spot in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

Peter Roby, Northeastern University athletic director

Roby was introduced as Northeastern's first Black athletic director in 2007. He retired in 2018, but in those 11 years he helped to transform Northeastern's athletic program. During Roby's tenure, Northeastern won seven regular-season conference championships, 17 postseason conference championships, two Women’s Beanpots, and eight New England Championships in track and field. His influence extended beyond the game, as Northeastern college athletes maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in 20 straight semesters.

Before joining Northeastern, Roby was the vice president of U.S. marketing at Reebok. He also served six seasons as Harvard University's men’s basketball head coach.

Rodney Pratt, Converse vice president, general counsel & corporate secretary

Pratt leads Converse's global legal team, strategy, and operations. He also is responsible for Converse's administrative oversight and budgetary management of global security and brand protection. Previously, Pratt was an assistant general counsel at Nike where he was an advisor to Nike's affiliate brands such as Jordan, Nike Golf, and Hurley. 

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