Following the annual HWS Challenge on the Canal on Saturday, Oct. 8, William Smith will christen the Deb L. Steward, the Heron’s newest racing shell named in honor of the current William Smith Director of Athletics.
“It was an easy decision to name this boat in honor of Deb Steward,” says William Smith Head Coach Sandra Chu. “She has provided me personally, and the William Smith rowing program with a great deal of support through her leadership, her understanding of the sport, the way she has helped us meet challenges, and the way she has raised the visibility for rowing in our community.”
“This wonderful tribute to Deb’s leadership is very well deserved, and recognizes her passionate dedication to providing the highest quality experience for our William Smith student athletes,” says Vice President for Student Affairs Robert Flowers.
During her six-year tenure at the Colleges, Steward has made a significant impact, contributing to the success of William Smith rowing and all Heron student-athletes. She has directed two NCAA National Championships, hired three new head coaches, broke Heron Society records for total membership, and coordinated two highly successful Heron Hall of Honor ceremony, all while taking a lead role in the The Fund for Athletics, a part of the Campaign for the Colleges.
Steward joined the Herons following three years as an assistant athletic director at Ithaca College. The senior woman administrator for the Bombers, she managed the budget for 25 intercollegiate varsity athletic programs and supervised 15 sports, overseeing the coaching staffs, event management, and compliance. Steward coordinated the use of the college’s indoor and outdoor facilities, and served as the coordinator of the Bombers’ on-campus postseason competition.
Prior to her arrival in the Empire State, Steward spent eight years at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. With the Blugolds, she served in many roles: assistant soccer coach, lecturer in the Kinesiology Department, assistant and head softball coach, senior woman administrator, business manager, and assistant athletics director. During her two seasons as head coach of the Eau Claire softball team, she guided the Blugold to a 54-33-1 record, the 2000 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship, the 2000 NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region Championship, and a fourth place finish in the NCAA championship.
Steward began her professional career at St. Mary’s (Minn.) University. She coached basketball, softball, and volleyball for the Cardinals, coordinated the athletics department’s recruiting, and was an instructor in the physical education department. In 1994, Steward was named the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Association Softball Coach of the Year.
A graduate of Winona State (Minn.) University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education, Steward was a four-year letterwinner in both softball and volleyball for the Warriors. She earned a master’s degree in education from Eau Claire in 1996.