Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Becky Bonner

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Kazakhstan
  • 2008  –  Kyrgyzstan
  • 2013  –  Ukraine
  • 2014  –  Sri Lanka
  • 2015  –  Saudi Arabia

Becky Bonner enters her first season as Director of Basketball Operations for the University of Louisville women’s basketball program. Bonner joined Walz after spending the last season as the Assistant Director of Operations at the University of Maryland.

At Maryland, Bonner worked with marketing and promotions, as well as facilitating the day-to-day operations of the team, which included supervising the team’s managers.

Bonner joined the Maryland staff after a successful stint playing professional basketball in Sweden and after a four-year career in collegiate basketball.

Bonner began her collegiate playing career at Stanford University, helping the Cardinal win the 2002 Pac-10 Championship. She transferred to Boston University after her sophomore year and started in all 30 games of the 2003-04 season. She earned third team All-America East Conference honors, after averaging 14.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game her junior year. She set the single-season school record with 72 three-pointers, while shooting 42.9 percent from behind the arc.

In her two seasons with the Terriers, Bonner connected on 113 three-pointers, which ranks fourth in the career annuals and ranks second all-time with a 37.3 career three-point shooting percentage.

After graduation from Boston University in 2005, Bonner spent the summer working for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats minor league baseball team before being contracted to play with Sweden’s Norrkoping.

Bonner is a native of Concord, N.H. She was a third team Parade All-American at Concord High School and was selected her home state’s Gatorade Player of the Year. In her junior year, she averaged a triple-double with 28.4 points, 16.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists per game while earning All-American honors from Street & Smith’s that year.

Bonner earned a degree in communications from Boston University. She is the younger sister of Matt Bonner who is a member of the 2007 NBA Champions, the San Antonio Spurs. Her younger brother, Luke, will be a junior at UMass where he is a member of the basketball team.

Angela Meyer

Kickboxing

Mixed Martial Arts

Served as envoy

  • 2019  –  Pakistan
  • 2020  –  Kyrgyzstan

Angela Meyer is an internationally known teacher, public speaker and activist. She has worked in the favelas of Brazil, Honduras, Costa Rica, Mexico, taught young girls self defense in Pakistan and Nairobi, Kenya.

She is a black belt in self defense, a competitive Muay Thai fighter and Boxer, renowned yoga instructor, leads yoga teacher trainings and retreats, is a Budokon Brown Belt and Jiu Jitsu Blue Belt.

Angela has also worked at an AIDS Hospice for homeless men and women in Washington DC for over 15 years, is an End of Life Care Counselor, Buddhist Chaplain and has a Masters of Divinity.

In addition, Angela is the Empowerment Director for Global Journalist Security, leading hostile environment trainings both domestically and abroad, owner of Warrior Woman Republic, and columnist for Elephant Journal.

She loves to laugh, play with kids, and if not wearing black boots, you’ll find her barefoot in the grass.

Sam Perkins

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2005  –  Algeria
  • 2008  –  Kyrgyzstan
  • 2008  –  Kazakhstan
  • 2009  –  Qatar
  • 2010  –  Indonesia
  • 2011  –  South Sudan
  • 2012  –  United Kingdom

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Perkins attended Samuel J. Tilden High School. He later attended and graduated from Shaker High School in Latham, New York. He was named large-school player of the year (high school) by the New York State Sportswriters Association in 1980 and was also named to the 35 Greatest Boys McDonald’s All Americans team.

Perkins attended college at the University of North Carolina and played basketball for the North Carolina Tar Heels from 1980 to 1984. He was named ACC Rookie of the Year in 1981 and starred alongside future NBA Hall of Famers James Worthy and Michael Jordan on the Tar Heels’ 1982 NCAA championship team. A three-time All-American, Perkins was the 1984 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year. Perkins finished his collegiate basketball career as the Tar Heels’ all-time leader in rebounds and blocked shots and as the second-highest scorer in team history. He graduated from UNC in 1984.

Perkins was a co-captain of the gold-medal-winning 1984 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.

Chosen by the Dallas Mavericks as the fourth overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft, Perkins went on to play as a power forward and center in the NBA from 1984 to 2001. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1985. Perkins played for the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Seattle SuperSonics, and the Indiana Pacers, respectively. He scored a career-high 45 points on April 12, 1990. Perkins tied an NBA record on January 15, 1997 by making eight three-pointers without a miss. He appeared in three NBA Finals: The 1991 NBA Finals (with the Lakers), the 1996 NBA Finals (with the SuperSonics), and the 2000 NBA Finals (with the Pacers). In Game One of the 1991 NBA Finals, Perkins made a game-winning three-point shot to defeat the Chicago Bulls. He was known by the nicknames “Sleepy Sam”, “Big Smooth”, and “The Big Easy”.

Since his retirement in 2001, Perkins has been actively involved in a variety of charitable endeavors, including Special Olympics, Nothing But Nets in conjunction with the United Nations, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers, Carolina for Kibera, NBA Cares, Basketball Without Borders and Habitat for Humanity.

In 2002, Perkins was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary men’s basketball team as one of the fifty greatest players in Atlantic Coast Conference history.

In 2008, Perkins was named vice president of player relations for the Indiana Pacers. That September, he was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.

In October 2011, Perkins traveled to South Sudan as a SportsUnited Sports Envoy for the U.S. Department of State, where he worked with Hall of Fame NBA center Dikembe Mutombo to lead a series of basketball clinics and team building exercises with youths, the South Sudanese Wheelchair Basketball Team, and 36 coaches.

Perkins was named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.

Dean Karnazes

Running

Served as envoy

  • 2016  –  Kyrgyzstan
  • 2016  –  Kazakhstan
  • 2016  –  Uzbekistan
  • 2018  –  Peru

TIME magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.” Men’s Fitness hailed him as one of the fittest men on the planet. Stan Lee, of Marvel Comics fame, called him, “A real superhuman.” An acclaimed endurance athlete and NY Times bestselling author, Dean Karnazes has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits. Among his many accomplishments, he has run 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days, he’s run 350 continuous miles, foregoing sleep for three nights. He’s run across the Sahara Desert in 120-degree temperatures, and he’s run a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. On ten separate occasions he’s run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of twelve. His long list of competitive achievements include winning the World’s Toughest Footrace, the Badwater Ultramarathon, running 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley during the middle of summer. He has raced and competed on all seven continents of the planet, twice over.

Dean is an ESPN ESPY winner, a 3-time recipient of Competitor magazines Endurance Athlete of the Year award and serves as a US Athlete Ambassador. He’s twice carried the Olympic Torch and in 2019 received the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dean and his incredible adventures have been featured on The Today Show, 60 Minutes, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS News, CNN, ESPN, The Howard Stern Show, NPR’s Morning Edition, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, the BBC, and many others. He has appeared on the cover of Runner’s World, Outside, and Wired magazine’s, and has been featured in TIME, Newsweek, People, GQ, The New York Times, USA TODAY, The Washington Post, Men’s Journal, Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and the London Telegraph, to mention a few.

Yet, it is his unique ability to enthuse athletes of all abilities and backgrounds that truly set Dean apart. Despite his many accomplishments, awards and distinctions, he remains most proud of his ongoing contributions of time and funding to programs aimed at getting children and youth outdoors and active. He has raised millions of dollars for charity and was awarded the prestigious Community Leadership Award by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports.

Beyond being a celebrated endurance athlete, philanthropist, and bestselling author, Dean is an accomplished businessman with a notable professional career working for several Fortune 500 companies and startups alike. A graduate of the USF McLaren School of Business & Management, he is uniquely able to demonstrate how the lessons learned from athletics can be applied to business, and he is able to convey, with authenticity, the many insights he has gleaned along the way as a record-setting athlete and professional businessman.

Dean is a sought after speaker who has captivated and inspired audiences across the globe with his stories of persistence and perseverance. His dynamic, engaging and rousing presentations focus on going beyond perceived limitations to be the best that you can be. He talks about unlocking an inner strength to achieve extraordinary results. His real-life examples explore the topics of: dealing with adversity, overcoming obstacles, setting and reaching lofty goals, the importance of teamwork, even in solo endeavors, and excelling in a competitive, and often confusing, world. In his presentations, he examines and discusses the essential ingredients necessary for high-achievement and developing the ability to prevail and preserve against staggering odds.

Dean is believable, because his achievements and accomplishments are real. He delivers his message with the insight and candor that only an individual who has lived through such experiences can. Dean’s stories of endurance and perseverance are often comical, sometimes tear-jerking, and always thought-provoking and entertaining. His roster of clients include: Nike, Google, Sony, PepsiCo, Wells Fargo, Apple Computer, Merck, Toyota, Starbucks, Accenture, Stanford University, Yale, JP Morgan Chase, Amazon, Facebook, and a host of others.

Faye Gulini

Snowboarding

Served as envoy

  • 2015  –  Kyrgyzstan

Faye Gulini first started riding at Snowbird, UT when she was nine years old. She didn’t wait long before taking to the snowboardcross course, racing in her first SBX event at age 10 in Jackson Hole, WY. Five years later Gulini moved to Vail, CO to pursue her Olympic dream. Gulini’s ascent to success was then swift, as she landed the results she needed for a spot on the 2010 Olympic snowboardcross team.

Gulini then rode well enough in 2011 to earn a spot on her first World Championships team in both snowboardcross and slopestyle. A top 10 at the X Games Aspen in 2011 and a third at U.S. Champs cemented Gulini as a key influence in the sport. A knee injury in 2012 put her season on hold, but then she soared into second at the 2012 Canyons Resort Sprint U.S. Grand Prix. She followed up in 2013 by landing five World Cup’s top 10s, including an eighth at the Olympic test event in Sochi, and taking the U.S. title at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Canyons.

The 2014 Olympic season saw Gulini qualify for her second Olympic snowboardcross team after her top-10 World Cup finish at Lake Louise. A sixth-place finish at the X Games Aspen geared her up for Sochi, where she pulled out her best Olympic finish to date, landing just off the podium in fourth.

The 2015 and 2016 seasons brought on more successful results on the World Cup circuit and two top-ten finishes at the X Games, including a career-best, fifth-place finish in 2016.

Justin Reiter

Snowboarding

Served as envoy

  • 2015  –  Kyrgyzstan

Justin Reiter is an American snowboard coach and former snowboarder. He is also a ten-time national champion. He won a silver medal in the parallel slalom at the 2013 FIS Snowboarding World and was selected for the 2014 Winter Olympics, where he was the only American male to compete in the parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom. He had 100 starts in the FIS Snowboard World Cup and scored four podium finishes, including a win in Moscow (2015). His win in Moscow made him the first American to win in a parallel competition in a decade.

In 2016 he filed suit against the International Olympic Committee in 2016 to save parallel slalom, which had been dropped from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic program. In September 2017 he announced his retirement. Subsequently he took up coaching: among the snowboarders he trains are Michael Trapp, Robby Burns and Ester Ledecká.