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Volume 21 No. 1
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Vicky Chun, athletic director, Colgate University

Chun starts tenure at Colgate with big facilities project

Colgate University recently named Vicky Chun athletic director, making her the only female athletic director in the Patriot League. A former Colgate student athlete and women’s volleyball coach, Chun had been the school’s interim athletic director since August. Chun spoke with staff writer Anna Hrushka.

Age: 44.
New title: Athletic Director, Colgate University.
Previous title: Senior associate athletic director/senior woman administrator.
First job: Ball girl for the UCLA women’s volleyball team.
Education: Bachelor of arts, political science and education (double major), Colgate University, 1991; master of arts, history, Colgate, 1994.
Resides: Hamilton, N.Y.
Grew up: Santa Monica, Calif.
Executive most admired: Mark Murphy, president and chief executive officer, Green Bay Packers. “He’s always been a great mentor and friend. He had hired me as the volleyball coach at Colgate.”
Brand most admired: Apple.
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere where there’s an ocean, beach and some sun.
Last book read: “The First 90 Days,” by Michael Watkins.
Last movieseen: “Lincoln.”
Favorite movie: “Miracle.”
Favorite musician/band: The Beatles.

What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
Our board of trustees just unanimously approved a $38.7 million new athletic facility, which will include a rink, coaches suites and locker rooms for men’s and women’s ice hockey, soccer and lacrosse. [The new project] will then create space for renovation of possibly an indoor practice facility where the rink used to be located. [The challenge] will be actively fundraising and getting this project on the go.

What is the biggest career risk you've taken in your career?
A big decision was taking the interim role [at Colgate] and actively pursuing it for the permanent position. Most search firms would advise not to do that because it puts you in an awkward predicament. Your interview, instead of two days, is for six months. And depending on whether the president gives you enough power or not and whether you can run your own show, that’s the obstacle.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Up to this date, it would be the last seven months now. I feel the transition went smoothly.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?
There have been certainly lots of disappointments, but I’ve learned from them. So I guess I don’t see a downside to them. I learn mostly from my failures.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Whatever job you’re doing now, do very well and take on extra responsibilities. I think mentorship is key. I think being a mentor is key as well. Be patient. You can’t plan everything out, especially not in intercollegiate athletics.

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
In the big picture, where Division I athletics is heading and what’s happening at the BCS level. I think the latest thing was Barry Alvarez announcing about the Big Ten not scheduling FCS schools; things that directly affect our institution and our athletics department.

What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
I’d love for the focus to really be on the student-athlete experience and making that better.