In a ceremony held in Dallas, Texas, William Smith College Director of Athletics Deb Steward was named the 2017 Women Leaders in College Sports Division III Administrator of the Year. Steward was honored at the Jostens Administrator of the Year and Award of Distinction Luncheon at the Women Leaders National Convention in Dallas — which was emceed by Beth Mowins, play-by-play announcer and sports journalist for ESPN and CBS.
“For more than a decade, Deb Steward has led William Smith Athletics to the highest levels of excellence and it was honor to join with her peers from the across the country as they celebrated her many successes,” said President Gregory J. Vincent ’83 who attended to celebration in Texas. “She is an outstanding colleague to our athletics staff and a remarkable mentor for our student-athletes. Hobart and William Smith Colleges are honored and gratified to know that her talents and hard work are being acknowledged with such a prestigious award.”
Other HWS community members attending the ceremony included: Statesmen Athletic Association Board member Richard Moses ’89, Heron Society Board member Amy Hoover ’95, Associate Dean of Students Stacey Pierce and Vice President for Advancement Bob O’Connor.
Steward has served as the director of athletics at William Smith since 2005. She oversees all of William Smith’s intercollegiate programs and supervises the Sports and Recreation Center, the Outdoor Recreation Adventure Program, the waterfront and the wellness program.
“I know I can speak on behalf of all of my colleagues here at William Smith College Athletics when I congratulate Deb on this most deserved recognition,” said Assistant Athletic Director and Head Field Hockey Coach Sally Scatton. “Over the past 12 years, Deb has served as an outstanding role model and advocate for our student-athletes and staff.”
This week, the national success of HWS athletics continued with Heron soccer ranking as the No. 1 team out of 370, Heron lacrosse ranking No. 2 out of 238 schools, and Statesmen hockey ranking No. 2 out of 68 programs, according to CollegeFactual.com’s 2018 National Student-Athlete Rankings of NCAA Division III teams.
Steward served as the tournament director for the 2016 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championships. It was the fourth time William Smith has hosted an NCAA championship event in her tenure, serving as a host site for the 2006 and 2012 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championships and the 2007 NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship. Steward recently completed a two-year term as chair of the Division III Women’s Golf Championship committee. She previously served as a member of the Division III Softball Championship committee.
In the 2016-17 academic year, under Steward’s guidance the Herons boasted two National Players of the Year, nine All-Americans, six Academic All-Americans and 80 conference all-academic honorees. The average GPA of a William Smith student-athlete was 3.35 in the 2017 spring semester. Both the soccer and lacrosse teams won conference championships and advanced to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals and the sailing team won two conference crowns and earned three top five finishes at nationals.
In 2014, Steward was named the ECAC Division III Female Administrator of the Year. In the fall of 2005, she was inducted into the Stevens Point Area Senior High Athletic Hall of Fame.
Steward came to William Smith after three years as an assistant athletic director and senior woman administrator at Ithaca College. Prior to her time with the Bombers, she spent eight years at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire serving as an assistant soccer coach, lecturer in the Kinesiology Department, assistant and head softball coach, senior woman administrator, business manager and assistant athletics director. 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.
The Administrator of the Year Award is presented to Women Leaders in College Sports members for significant contributions made as an administrator of intercollegiate athletics. This award, recognizing administrative excellence, is presented annually to members in each NCAA division: Division I, FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA/NJCAA or Conference/Organization.