Susan Cassidy-Lyke ('86) Receives Veritas Award

By Hannah Werthan

Susan Cassidy-Lyke ('86) Receives Veritas Award

At 4:30 a.m., when most of Long Island is still sleeping, Athletic Director and Head Softball Coach Susan Cassidy-Lyke drives onto campus. Softball practice begins at 4:45 a.m. for the pitchers - 5:45 a.m. for the rest of the team - three days a week until January, when it increases to six days a week. Susan doesn't mind the schedule. After practice, she goes for a run, showers, and begins her day as our athletic director, a position she's held since 2006. 

Coming Back to Molloy

When Susan became the athletic director 12 years ago, she was returning home. The former student-athlete (she played softball and basketball) graduated from Molloy in 1986 as a Business Management major and Mathematics minor. After graduation, she kept in touch with Bob Houlihan, who was her softball coach at Molloy and later became the athletic director and then the vice president for student affairs at the college. When Susan was getting ready to retire from the New York City Police Department, Bob mentioned to her that the athletic director position was opening up. She jumped at the opportunity and has embraced the role ever since.

A Day in the Life

As athletic director, Susan's day is full of meetings with athletic trainers, coaches, professors, and student-athletes. Because Molloy's coaches are part-time, her department is responsible for managing the team budgets in addition to their busy workload. Her favorite part of the job is getting to watch the games. "Usually, student-athletes are in my office because an issue arises or they have a problem that needs to be solved. I want to make sure that they don't just associate me with discipline, that they see that I care about their achievements as well," she says.

Susan brings her son Jack to as many games as possible; in fact, he is often included in team roster photos. "Jack really grew up with these teams. I took him to our softball games in Florida when he was just 13 days old," she says. She adds that bringing Jack to games allows her to spend more time with him when she is working long hours.

Transforming the Athletic Program

Susan Cassidy-Lyke ('86) Receives Veritas AwardWhen Susan was a student-athlete at Molloy, the College was a Division III school, on its way to becoming Division II. Twenty years later, when she took on the athletic director position, Susan noticed a lot of change both in the athletic department and at Molloy in general. Under her, Athletics has continued to grow.  Since Susan started, seven new Division II sports have come to campus. Softball and baseball have new fields. Most games are now broadcasted live for people who can't make it to a game.

While achieving greatness on the playing field is important for our student-athletes, Susan emphasizes that academics must come first. "I tell my students that you aren't going to make a living being an athlete. You need to concentrate on your studies," she says. "I want them to be taking 15 or 16 credits a semester and passing their classes. I think we all want to make sure that they graduate on time." Athletics hosts a 4.0 night in the gym twice a year to honor student-athletes who maintained a perfect grade point average the previous semester.

Each team must complete a minimum of two community service projects a year. Susan says that initially she kept track of every team, but now it's not necessary. "It's amazing. Some teams do five, ten, even fifteen community service projects a year because they want to go above and beyond," she says.

To encourage excellence both on the field and off of it, Athletics hosts a yearly Lion's Cup competition. Student-athletes earn points for their team based on academic and athletic excellence, community service, and career and personal development. The teams with the most points are awarded first, second, and third place and receive prizes.

Whether she is attending Mass in Maria Regina residence hall or travelling out of state for a tournament, Susan has dedicated her life to supporting our student-athletes and advancing our athletic program.

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