Posted on Friday, August 15, 2014
Eastern College Athletic Conference Commissioner Dr. Kevin T. McGinniss recently announced that William Smith College Director of Athletics Deb Steward is the 2013-14 ECAC Division III Female Administrator of the Year. She will be among the honorees at the ECAC Honors Dinner at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, Mass., on Sunday, Sept. 28.
"I'm deeply honored to have been selected as a recipient of this award," Steward said. "There are many hand prints on this award as I am so fortunate to work with a supportive administration, outstanding coaches and support staff, and amazing student-athletes."
By all accounts, the 2013-14 academic year was outstanding for William Smith Athletics. Steward's ninth year at the College saw Heron student-athletes produce an average GPA of 3.4 with 94 Herons earning a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Collectively, William Smith student-athletes earned 103 all-academic/scholar-athlete awards last year.
In the athletic arena, the Herons most notably captured the 2013 NCAA Division III Women's Soccer National Championship. William Smith also reached the postseason in field hockey, rowing, sailing, and squash, while earning conference championships in rowing, soccer, and sailing.
Steward's work with the Heron Society, the booster group for William Smith athletics, increased membership by more than nine percent over 2012-13, raising the total membership to the second highest level in the organization's 30-year history, while total giving to the Heron Society has doubled since she was hired in 2005. The Heron Society offers financial support for a wide range of initiatives within the athletic department, including the Peak Performance Plan which offered nearly 30 life skills and leadership workshops for student-athletes and coaches last year.
Steward has also been deeply involved in the preparations for the inaugural season of William Smith ice hockey, hiring a head coach, developing plans for a locker room, and other logistics. The Herons begin their first season in October.
In addition to her responsibilities on campus, Steward just completed a three-year term as the president of the Liberty League and completed the first year of a four-year term on the NCAA Division III Women's Golf Championship Committee.
Over the past nine years, Steward has led four successful bids to host NCAA Championships on campus, serving as the tournament director for the 2006 and 2012 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championships and the 2007 NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship. The Herons are scheduled to host the 2016 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship. She also played a lead role in the Fund for Athletics, a part of the Campaign for the Colleges, which led to the construction of the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation.
A native of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Steward earned a bachelor's degree from Winona State University and a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. She has coached or served as an administrator at St. Mary's (Minn.) University, UW-Eau Claire, and Ithaca College.