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About Us

CDSWOY honors the best and brightest female student athletes from high schools and colleges in the Capital District of New York State.
The Capital District Sports Women of the Year (CDSWOY) program honors the best and brightest female student athletes from high schools and colleges in the Capital District of New York State.

The CDSWOY initiative was created by Eric McDowell, President of The Eric Idea Agency, a Capital District business that provides services in public and media relations, event management and M.C. work, crisis management and public speaking.

Eric McDowell


Eric McDowell, a long-time publicist for professional and collegiate sports, has spent many years promoting women’s sports. During his career he had a student selected to the WBCA (Women’s Basketball Coaches Association) Good Works program, who was honored at the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Women’s Final Four. He also had an ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) Women’s Student-Athlete of the Year and a candidate for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Mr. McDowell, a Past President of the College Sports Information Directors of America and member of the CoSIDA Hall of Fame, also worked in the National Basketball Association with the Golden State Warriors and at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. A resident of the Capital District since 2005, he desired to provide special recognition for outstanding female student-athletes who excel in academics and community service as well as athletics.

Founder & Personal Trainer

The Process

A total of 94 high schools and 15 colleges feature collegiate athletics in the Capital District. Click here for a list of eligible scholastic and collegiate institutions. The Athletic Director from each institution is provided the opportunity to nominate one female student-athlete for CDSWOY recognition. No other nominations are accepted from any other individual.

Spring sports nominees can include their accomplishments from the previous spring. A committee that features media members selects the honorees in each category. The Awards Event features collegiate and scholastic honorees, with two Grand Sports Woman of the Year honorees selected by the committee from the finalists in each category. Honoree announcements are made on a scheduled basis, two to three per week, starting in mid-June.

Our Board Members

Pictured from Left to Right: Brendon Phillips, Eric McDowell, Jennifer McDowell, and Alissa Collins.

CDSWOY History

In the spring of 2018, Mr. McDowell began working on the initiative, approaching various members of the community. He worked to secure sponsorships and the CDSWOY program received 501(c)3 charity status in April of 2019. A press conference was held in August of 2019 at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady, NY to announce the program. The first year voting was conducted on March 4, 2020. The inaugural class was announced in the spring of 2020.

The 2020 (and inaugural) Capital District Sports Women of the Year Awards Event took place on Tuesday, August 18 at 6 p.m. at The Desmond Hotel in Albany, NY. The 2021 and 2022 CDSWOY Awards Galas took place at the GE Theatre at Proctors in Schenectady, NY, as will the 2023 event.

Interested In Supporting Our Mission?