University of Minnesota Athletics

Gopher Athletics announced today the hiring of Kiara Buford as Director of Alumni Relations / NIL.

Buford, who is a former Minnesota basketball student-athlete, will be responsible for directing the day-to-day activities of the M Club, which is the Athletic Department Letterwinner’s organization. In addition, Buford will work closely with Minnesota student-athletes and assist them in growing and enhancing their personal brand, which has become increasingly important due to the growth of Name, Image and Likeness activities in collegiate athletics.

“It is a tremendous honor to join Gopher Athletics,” said Buford. “This is a transformational time in college athletics. I look forward to helping our current student-athletes in their daily mission, while also still connecting with all our alums who have proudly worn the Maroon and Gold. I have such fond memories of my time as a Gopher, and I cannot wait to get started.”

Buford, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, returns to the University where she was a four-year letterwinner as a member of the women’s basketball team from 2008-2012. During her standout Gopher career, she started 95 games and led the team in scoring during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.

After earning a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in 2009, Buford followed up with three consecutive selections on the All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten teams in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Buford was named the team MVP in 2011 and repeated the honor in 2012 when she shared the award with freshman Rachel Banham.  

After earning a degree in communications from Minnesota, Buford played professionally for Matizol Lider Pruszkow in Poland before returning to the United States to begin a career in coaching and serving as a high school administrator. Since 2014 Buford has worked in the Robbinsdale and Roseville Area schools in a variety of roles.

Buford takes the role of M Club oversight from former director Quincy Lewis who currently serves as the Director of Alumni Relations for the Utah Jazz. She is the first female letterwinner to lead the M Club since its incorporation into the Athletic Department.

“As we worked through the interview process it became clear that Kiara was the perfect candidate to lead the M Club now and into the future,” said Sr. Associate Director of Athletics Jeremiah Carter, who has oversight of the M Club. “Her passion for the University of Minnesota and desire to create opportunities for all our letterwinners to engage with athletics is exciting and we look forward to her leading the M Club.”

Buford started in her new role on November, 13, 2023.

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