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Press Release

Mark Fisher

For immediate release:
March 31, 2005

William Smith's Susan Bassett Named Director of Athletics at Carnegie Mellon

Susan Bassett
PITTSBURGH—Following a national search, Carnegie Mellon University has named Susan Bassett, director of athletics at William Smith College, its new director of athletics and physical education, effective July 1, 2005. Bassett succeeds John Harvey, who retired last May after a 15-year tenure. David Belowich, Carnegie Mellon's head swimming and diving coach, has served as interim director since Harvey's departure.

Bassett, who is also an associate professor of physical education at the coordinate colleges of Hobart and William Smith in Geneva, N.Y., became athletic director for William Smith College in 1995 and since then has helped the Herons to expand their program while maintaining regional and national prominence in several sports. Under Bassett, the Herons added varsity programs in sailing, squash and golf and have won two national field hockey championships (1997, 2000), Eastern College Athletic Conference regional championships in field hockey (1999), lacrosse (2001) and soccer (2003), and many Liberty League titles. In 2000, William Smith, which sponsors 11 varsity sports, was recognized as one of the top athletic programs in the nation by "Sports Illustrated for Women."

Bassett has helped to advance the athletic and physical education programs off the playing field as well. She has led renovation efforts and new construction for several campus facilities and was instrumental in developing the Peak Performance Plan, a mentoring initiative to help student-athletes reach their full potential academically, athletically and professionally. She is very active in NCAA affairs and has served on many national committees. Bassett completed her term as chair of the NCAA Division III Management Council at the 2004 convention. She was elected to the board of directors of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators in 2003.

She began her athletic career as head swimming and diving coach at William Smith, where she coached 22 All-Americans. She was also a Herons assistant lacrosse and field hockey coach. Before becoming athletic director at William Smith, Bassett was head men's and women's swimming coach at Union College, where she guided 92 All-Americans and was named the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 1993.

"Susan comes to us with exceptional credentials and we have great confidence in her ability to lead our very successful varsity and intramural athletic programs," said Carnegie Mellon Vice President for Enrollment William F. Elliott. "She's a great leader, administrator, teacher and coach who is admired and respected by her peers. I look forward to continued success for Carnegie Mellon athletics with Susan at the helm."

"I am thrilled with the opportunity to join the administrative team at Carnegie Mellon," Bassett said. "I appreciate the confidence that President Cohon, Vice President Elliott and members of the search committee have in me to lead the Department of Athletics and Recreation at this world-class institution. I look forward to working with the Athletics Department staff in building on the fine tradition of success established at Carnegie Mellon."

Bassett earned her bachelor's degree in physical education at Ithaca College in 1979 and her master's degree from Indiana University in 1980.

Carnegie Mellon's 17 intercollegiate sports—nine for men and eight for women—compete in the NCAA on the Division III level. The Tartans are also members of the University Athletic Association and the Eastern College Athletic Conference.

A 20-member search committee reviewed about 100 applications for the position. Chaired by Professor Dick Tucker, head of the Modern Languages Department, the committee included varsity student-athletes, students who participate in intramural sports, and representatives from several academic areas, the departments of Athletics, Admission, Student Affairs and Alumni Relations, and the division of Human Resources.


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