July 16, 2004
Outgoing Santa Clara University Director of Athletics and Recreation Cheryl L. Levick has spent the last 18 years as a college athletics administrator in the Bay Area. Her first two years were as an assistant commissioner with the Pacific-10 Conference office in Walnut Creek before she spent 12 years as a senior administrator at Stanford University. The last four years, Levick has led Bronco athletics through a successful chapter in the institution's sports history. She will begin a new era in her career as the Director of Athletics at Saint Louis University on August 2.
SantaClaraBroncos.com caught up with Levick Friday during her final day on the Mission Campus and sat down to discuss her personal and professional memories of life in the Bay Area.
Q: This final official day at Santa Clara has to be a difficult one for you.
A: "Absolutely. This truly is a bittersweet time for my family and me. There are so many great memories of the my time in the Bay Area and this transition process has really provided me the opportunity reflect on some of the special moments and events that have defined such a successful time in my personal and professional life."
Q: What are you going to miss the most about the Bay Area?
A: "The people and the climate are just fantastic. The weather is always perfect -- be it at the beach or in the mountains. The people are open, diverse and talented. It is a great place to raise children and expose them to so many interesting things -- cultural events, nature, sporting events. You name it. And, of course, I will miss the dozens of friends I have made on all sides of the Bay."
Q: You've come across numerous people who have been an influence on your career since you've lived here. Who would you say has made the biggest impact on shaping your career?
A: "That is a very difficult question to answer because there are really a large number of people who have helped me define my personal and professional philosophies. I will say that Ted Leland at Stanford, Tom Hansen at the Pac-10 and Jerry Porras in the Stanford Business School are at the top of the list. Each possesses a tremendous sense of purpose and professionalism and they will always remain a significant part of my personal and professional life. There are literally dozens of people throughout the area that have had an impact on my career and I look forward to continuing to have active relationships with them."
"There is a really talented athletic staff at Santa Clara that works very hard to make this such a special place."
Cheryl Levick, former SCU Athletic Director
A: "When I moved out here to work at the Pac-10, I was hired to administer the league's championships and sports programs. I went to work immediately writing the conference handbooks, creating championship events and establishing policies that would really jump-start women's sports in the conference. To see how far women's athletics has come in this league, and throughout the country really, is a really personally satisfying thing for me due to that experience. While I was at Stanford, I was fortunate enough to be there at a phenonimal time of success for the institution's athletics program. I had the opportunity to hire Olympic-caliber coaches and help shape the future of the athletic department as we created two five-year strategic plans. The decade of the 1990's was such a successful time at Stanford, one that would be very difficult to be duplicated. The school won 44 national championships during my tenure with an amazing group of coaches and administrators who all stuck together and accomplished some really special things. I'll always remember the first national title I was ever involved with when the Cardinal women's basketball team earned the title in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1990. Then the decade ended with Stanford's Rose Bowl appearance in 2000."
Q: How about since you joined the Santa Clara staff in July, 2000?
A: "This has been such a time of growth for this athletic department. I arrived in during the summer and the athletic offices were in trailers due to the construction of the Leavey Center. So, it's been very rewarding to finish designing Leavey and move the entire athletic department, all staff and coaches, into a first-class facility. I could not be prouder of the job that we did on the East side administrative suite, the design, layout and furnishings, etc. I also would have to put winning the women's soccer national championship in 2001 near the top of the list as well as successfully hosting the 2002 NCAA Men's Basketball West Regional. Perhaps the top thing on the list is the ability to put together such a strong team of coaches and administrators. There is a really talented athletic staff at Santa Clara that works very hard to make this such a special place."
Q: Fundraising has been such a big part of your tenure at Santa Clara. How would you describe that experience?
A: "The economic climate in the Bay Area presents a number of significant challenges. Despite that, however, there is a really loyal, dedicated and hard working group of alums and donors who give so much to the institution. A special aspect of Santa Clara University is its loyal following. In addition to the financial giving, these people give tirelessly of their time and effort and look to give back to the place they love in a variety of ways. We created the Strategic Initiative Fund in order to create funding opportunities for things that arose outside of our operating budget. I'm also quite proud of our specially targeted 'Get In The Game' women's luncheon we created two years ago. With the help of Peggy Bradshaw, Heidi Leupp, Wendy Carey, Jeannette Garrity and Patricia Ernstrom, along with a number of other people, I think we really were able to provide an opportunity for increased involvement for female donors. I plan to take this idea with me to Saint Louis and use it as a model."
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
A: "It has been such a tremendous 18 years for me here in the Bay Area and the last four here at Santa Clara have been wonderful. There are so many people who I am going to miss on a personal level. Fortunately in the business of college athletics, there are a number of chances to see people and stay connected throughout the year at meetings, conferences, tournaments, etc. The current senior athletic staff at Santa Clara, consisting of Jonathan Clough, Jay Farwell, Janice Hayes, Richard Kilwien, Robin Reynolds and John Veargason all are tireless, dedicated and talented and they all have a bright future ahead of them. I'm really pleased to be surrounded by such a great staff to close out this chapter in my life and in Santa Clara's athletic history. The athletic department is in great shape and I wish the next athletics director nothing but success in the next chapter of Santa Clara University athletics."