Tara Helton joined the ASSA staff as Associate Director in August 2016 and was promoted to Director in January 2018. At UCF, Tara serves as the lead advisor for the football team and oversees the day to day operations of the program. Prior to UCF, Tara spent eleven years at Marshall University where she was the Associate Athletic Director for Academic Services, responsible for the daily operation and oversight of the Buck Harless Student Athlete Program.
Under her direction, Marshall’s athletic teams continuously improved their grade point average, graduation success rate and APR. More than 50% of all student athletes earned a 3.00 or higher every term beginning in the 2006 academic year until her departure in June 2016. Marshall athletes were also well represented at the Conference level placing in the top six in the number of recipients on the Commissioners Honor Roll. For the 2015-16 school year, Marshall finished first in Conference USA with 60 recipients of the Commissioners Academic Medal, which recognizes student athletes who have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher. In addition to her academic duties, Tara was also an adjunct faculty member in the undergraduate Counseling Education Program for eight years.
Tara received both her Bachelors of Art and Master’s degree from Marshall University, and is married to fellow UCF employee Brad Helton. They have two children, Ryan and Haley.