"There is a strong, clear connection between success on the field and success in the professional world," says physician and former field hockey player Dr. Cindy Oyler Teerlinck '93. "I am part of a 'team' working to ensure the best care for my patients, and Heron athletics taught me to work to the best of my ability, be reliable and always be mindful of the team's goal."
Today, Teerlinck serves as president of the Heron Society, which primes William Smith student-athletes for a lifetime of success on and off the field. Over the years, the generosity of Heron Society members has helped fund a variety of projects, including practice gear, video editing equipment, bench shelters on McCooey Field and the annual Heron awards banquet.
"All of these things add up to make a big difference," says Director of William Smith Athletics Deb Steward. "The Heron Society gives our student-athletes the pride, confidence, responsibility and commitment to do their best."
Over the past several years, membership in the Heron Society has grown significantly to include Hobart alumni as well as current and past parents. "A few years ago we had our first student join the Heron Society," says former Heron Society president and former lacrosse player Kerry McCullough Brown '87. "This past year, more than 139 students joined."
The Heron Society also funds the Peak Performance Plan, a multi-pronged life skills and leadership development program. Firstand second-year student-athletes with leadership potential partake in the Rising Stars program, designed to start them on the path to becoming effective leaders. Upper class student-athletes receive further leadership training as part of the Core 20 program.
The Peak Performance Plan also includes a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which serves as a liaison between student-athletes and the campus-at-large; and Student-Athlete Health Awareness Peer Educators, who work with their peers on alcohol and other drug education.
"The Heron Society empowers young women to be strong, not only physically, but mentally," says Katie Harrington P'10, who serves as the parent liaison on the Board of Directors. "The Peak Performance Plan builds the self-confidence and self-esteem that leads to empowerment."
"I love doing my part to keep the William Smith athletic program alive and thriving," says cross country standout Katie Pietrak '10, the Board's student-athlete representative. "As a William Smith athlete, I am thankful to the Heron Society for their support, encouragement and faith in my ability to be successful."
The Heron Society at a Glance
Board of Directors:
- President Cindy Oyler Teerlinck '93
- Vice President Kerry McCullough Brown '87
- Treasurer Mary Stowell Nelson '82, P'10
- Secretary Caroline Wenzel '05
- Parent Liaison Kathie Harrington P'10
- Student Liaison Katie Pietrak '10
- Coaches Liaison Pat Genovese P'01, P'03, P'05, P'08
- Director of William Smith Athletics Deb Steward
- Director Candy Kappel Bolte '81
- Director Cynthia Fults Burke '87
- Director Heather Dwinell Collins '90
- Director Amy Hoover '95
- Director Jen Munnelly Kucharz '93
- Director Amy Wettergreen Smack '96
In the fall of 1974, then-Hobart first-year Howard Mulcahey '78, a budding defensive lineman on the football team, suffered a mild concussion during a lateseason practice, just one of a string of concussions he'd suffered since high school. To cure him of chronic headaches and prevent future concussions, a special air helmet was provided for him by the Statesmen Athletic Association (SA).
More than three decades later, the SA is stronger than ever. "Many athletes from my era feel the need to help the current athletes at their alma mater through the SA, the same way they themselves received SA support while at Hobart," says Mulcahey '78, now the president of the SA.
The SA has funded numerous visible projects, including Bristol Gym's digital editing suite, team awards, the Raleigh-Foley -Kraus Varsity Strength Training Center and Hobart Hall of Fame events. The Association also supports the Napier Leadership Seminar, a nationally-recognized leadership and life skills program for Hobart's more than 300 student-athletes.
The vast majority of SA support, though, is not widely publicized and goes unheralded, such as recruiting efforts, covering travel and meal expenses, and purchasing uniforms and equipment. "This supplemental support is essential to the continued success of our athletic teams," says Mulcahey.
Tight End David Degan '10 agrees. "It is a great feeling to walk out before a football game and see SA members in the stands. There are alums who attended the Colleges decades ago, and there are local community members whose connection with the Colleges is based on their love of the game."
Also on the SA Board of Directors and a longtime member of the SA, Joe Corcoran '79 believes that the Association supports more than just student-athletes. "Whether it's being a fan, using the athletic facilities or participating in intramural sports, all HWS students are supported by the SA," he says, also noting the SA's involvement in the recent enhancement of the Geneva Recreation Complex (the Cooler), which is used by the Hobart Hockey team, the William Smith Club Hockey team and local Geneva teams.
In the many ways they support the home team, the SA continues to pave new paths for the increasingly competitive athletics program. "One generation plants the seeds, the next generation enjoys the shade," says Mulcahey. "Our long-term goal is to reach all former Hobart athletes and convince them to help support the current athletes, coaches and teams. It is our turn to plant trees so that they can have a great experience."
The SAA at a Glance
Board of Directors:
- President Howard Mulcahey '78
- Vice President Jon Fogle '90
- Past President Bob Van Etten '63
- Executive Director and Director of Hobart Athletics Mike Hanna '68, '99, HON'04
- Director Donald "Bud" Ames '64
- Director Joseph Corcoran '79
- Director Dr. Robert Ford '54, P'80
- Director Henry "Hank" Holden '63, P'84, P'89
- Director Scott Martin '90
- Director Fred Mosher '80, P'08
- Director Tom Poole '61, P'91, L.H.D. '06
- Senior Student Director Dan Miller '10
- Junior Student Director Mike O'Brien '11
- Secretary Jackie Doyle
No collegiate lacrosse coach in any division - men's or women's - has had more wins than William Smith College Head Lacrosse Coach Pat Genovese P'01, P'03, P'05, P'08. A three-time NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year, she boasts a stunning record of 362-133-1 (.731). So it's only fitting that on November 7, 2009, Genovese will be one of only a select few in the history of the sport to be inducted in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
"This is a great tribute to Pat for her tremendous contributions to lacrosse," says President Mark D. Gearan. "While her career win total is impressive, it's her mentorship of thousands of Heron student-athletes on and off the field, and the positive influence she has had on their growth that defines her as a truly great coach."
"The ripple effect of Pat's coaching spreads throughout the lacrosse world," says William Smith Director of Athletics Deb Steward. "Many of her former players have gone on to coach lacrosse at the youth, club, high school, and collegiate level. She's had an extraordinary impact on the sport and on William Smith athletics."
The only person to stand at the helm of the Heron lacrosse program, Genovese has tutored 94 All-Americans and seven recipients of the prestigious National Player of the Year Award. She has led the Herons to 16 NCAA Tournament berths, advancing to the national semifinals 11 times and the national championship game five times. Her many protégées include Colorado College Head Coach Susan Stuart Elliott '89, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Head Coach Leslie Khachadourian DeLano '00 and Smith College Head Coach Wendy Walker '98.
Genovese was named the Liberty League Coach of the Year in 2003 and again in 2006. Her 2009 team was 11-4 overall (6-2 in the Liberty League) and ranked 13th in the nation.
For more information on Genovese as well as details on attending the induction ceremony and a pre-ceremony celebration in Baltimore, go to www.HWSAthletics.com.