Following an extensive nationwide search, Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan recently announced the appointment of Deb Steward to serve as director of athletics of William Smith College, effective Aug. 1.
“We are pleased to welcome Deb Steward to the Colleges’ community,” Gearan said. “She is an outstanding leader with a wealth of administrative experience. The many successes she has had throughout her career leave me no doubt that she will continue the tradition of excellence that has long been associated with Heron Athletics.”
As athletics director, Steward will oversee all aspects of William Smith’s intercollegiate athletic program, including its direction, development, scheduling, facilities, and financial management. The Herons compete in the NCAA Division III and within the Liberty League. William Smith sponsors 11 varsity teams: basketball, crew, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, sailing, soccer, squash, swimming and diving, and tennis.
Additionally, Steward will supervise the Sport and Recreation Center, the outdoor recreation adventure program (ORAP), the waterfront, and the wellness program.
“During my interview process, I was incredibly impressed by the people at Hobart and William Smith,” Steward said. “The positive energy and the bright outlook for the future were clearly evident. I’m honored and thrilled to have been chosen as the director of athletics at William Smith College and I’m excited about the opportunity to build on the successful athletic program.
“I look forward to working with the outstanding people at the Colleges and developing relationships within the Geneva community.”
Steward joins the Herons following three years as an assistant athletic director at Ithaca College. She succeeds Susan Bassett, who accepted the director of athletics position at Carnegie Mellon University after 10 years with the Herons.
The senior woman administrator for the Bombers, Steward managed the budget for 25 intercollegiate varsity athletic programs and supervised as many as 15 sports, overseeing the coaching staffs, event management, and compliance. She coordinated the use of the college’s indoor and outdoor facilities, and served as the coordinator of the Bombers’ on-campus postseason competition.
A member of the NCAA Division III Softball Committee, Steward also has taken an active role in the Ithaca College community, serving on the community service committee and the diversity awareness committee.
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 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 Blugolds to a 54-33-1 record, the 2000 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship, the 2000 NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region Championship, and an appearance in the NCAA championship round.
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 1990 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.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are coordinate, private, liberal arts institutions, located in Geneva, N.Y. Hobart College for men and William Smith College for women share faculty, facilities, and curriculum, but maintain separate dean’s offices, athletics programs, student governments, and traditions. Hobart and William Smith field 22 intercollegiate varsity teams. Over the past 33 years, the Colleges have captured 22 national championships and dozens of conference championships.