Alfred University News

Alfred University names Deb Steward interim assistant vice president for Athletics and Recreation

Deb Steward, former associate vice president and director of athletics and recreation at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, has been named Alfred University’s interim assistant vice president for Athletics and Recreation. Steward officially began her role on Thursday, January 26, 2023.

“Our current 23 athletic programs, recreation and physical education components are vital to the student experience,” Amy DeKay, vice president for Student Experience, said. “Deb’s demonstrated commitment to the student-athlete experience, passionate leadership, strategic vision for sport and facility expansion, and proven success in athletic fundraising, makes her an excellent choice to step in and lead the Saxons during this transition.”

DeKay continued, “I am excited to welcome Deb Steward to the Saxon family.  The stars have aligned to provide us with a veteran leader in this interim role as we launch a national search.  Deb has more than 33 years in collegiate athletics, including 16.5 years at Hobart and William Smith (HWS). She was instrumental there in creating the recent plans to add 12 sports while overseeing 23 varsity sports as well as the Colleges’ recreation, intramural, fitness, outdoor recreation, and physical education programs.”

An award-winning administrator, Steward was named the 2014 ECAC Division III Female Administrator of the Year and the 2017 Women Leaders in College Sports Division III Administrator of the Year. At HWS, she hired 20 head coaches, led record breaking single day fundraising records, and was instrumental in improving multiple athletic and recreation facilities. She was central in the planning and fundraising efforts of the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation, established the William Smith Athletics Endowment Fund and added women’s ice hockey as the department’s 12th varsity sport in 2014.  Under her supervision, the Statesmen and Herons received dozens of postseason tournament bids and won the 2013 NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer National Championship.

“We are honored to have Deb join Alfred University to serve in a leadership capacity in light of the breadth and depth of her prior athletic and administrative experiences,” said Alfred University president, Mark Zupan. “At HWS, she was the first leader to oversee athletics for both the women’s (William Smith) and men’s (Hobart) programs, spanning Division III and Division I sports. She will be instrumental in pursuing our plans to expand the University’s athletics and recreational programs.”

Prior to HWS, Steward served as the assistant director of athletics at Ithaca College. A native of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Steward previously worked at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire as a successful softball coach and administrator and began her professional career at St. Mary’s (Minn.) University as a three-sport coach.

“I am truly grateful for her willingness to exit retirement and share her breadth of knowledge and experience with us,” DeKay said.

“I am honored that Vice President DeKay contacted me about the interim position,” Steward said. “Her excitement for the future of Saxon Athletics and Alfred University is contagious and it was clear in our discussions that we had a shared vision.  I appreciate the trust that President Zupan and senior leadership have placed in me to lead AU’s athletic and recreation department. I am excited to join the Alfred community, build on the outstanding Saxon Nation foundation and develop relationships with the staff, student-athletes, alumni, parents, and fans.  I also look forward to returning to the Empire 8 and working with Commissioner Mitrano and the league administrators.”

Alfred University Saxons compete on 23 varsity teams including 17 NCAA Division III sports, one USCSA (United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association) sport, one NCA (National Cheerleading Association) sport, and three IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) sports. Roughly 30 percent of all undergraduates play a varsity sport, and approximately half of all Alfred University students participate in either intramural or club sports. Find more info on the Saxons website.