Dear Pioneer Athletics Family:
I feel both thrilled and humble serving in my first weeks as director of Athletics and am especially grateful to President Morishita for his support and confidence in me to fill this important leadership role at the University. Allow me to share some of my initial thoughts about the future of Pioneer Athletics, our principles, values and our outstanding student-athletes.
But first, I must acknowledge the contributions and dedication of my predecessor, Debby De Angelis. We will always be grateful for her twelve years of leadership. Her steady guidance while we successfully transitioned from NCAA Division III to Division II and to membership in the premier Division II conference in the country, the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), will be her lasting legacy.
Let me begin by recognizing the rich 52-year history of Pioneer Athletics, particularly the proud teams and student-athletes who brought national and regional acclaim to the University. The early coaches established high expectations and a tradition of athletic success which remain intrinsically connected to our vision for the future. Our distinguished history testifies to our ability to compete as champions while maintaining integrity and unwavering commitment to the education and welfare of our student-athletes.
While striving for competitive excellence now and in the future, we cultivate sportsmanship and fair play, demand ethical behavior and hold all athletics personnel and student-athletes to the highest standards of personal conduct. Exemplary behavior demonstrating respect for the dignity of opponents, teammates, officials, other students and the community at large is imperative. These are the core values and principles which will continue to guide us.
We are fortunate to have dedicated coaches and management staff in place who are devoted to advancing our athletic program. Collectively, we are entrusted with ensuring the academic and athletic success of our student-athletes. Their welfare is our most important concern and focus.
Athletic participation must move in tandem with academic progress and graduation. We expect that our student-athletes will continue to graduate at a rate significantly higher than the general student-body. To nurture, cultivate and inspire student-athletes to develop into champions for life, we must provide the resources necessary for them to thrive and an environment conducive to personal growth.
I expect us to return to national prominence by competing for CCAA and national championships. To do so, we must provide our student-athletes the highest quality leadership and expertise as well as top-notch competitive experiences. Our coaches, staff and management are committed to this focus and direction — an expectation of excellence in everything we do, by everyone involved.
During sixteen years as a coach and administrator at our University, I have been consistently impressed by the quality and perseverance of our student-athletes. Many of them are first-generation college students whose participation in athletics has helped them overcome the barriers and challenges to earning a college degree. It is incumbent upon us to provide all of our student-athletes the means to become integrated and embedded into the “fabric” of University life. Their participation in intercollegiate athletics enriches the University community; they in turn must be enriched by a comprehensive university experience whose programming involves them academically, athletically and socially.
The University has funded Intercollegiate Athletics at a level to be competitive in our conference. Yet to attain our expectation of future achievements we must cultivate additional resources to provide a “margin of excellence.” We must develop new private and corporate support for our programs. Towards this goal, I will build relationships with community members, business owners, donors and corporate sponsors in support of our outstanding athletic program.
Eager to advance Pioneer Athletics with energy and initiative, I am extremely honored to assume this leadership role. I ask for your support and look forward to working with you in the coming years to return Pioneer Athletics to national prominence with student-athletes who excel in the classroom and are positively engaged in our communities. Please join me in this exciting endeavor, and go Pioneers!
Sara Lillevand Judd
Director of Athletics