After 45 years of service as a leader, administrator, and coach, Dr. Sue Willey ’75, vice president of intercollegiate athletics, announced her decision to retire effective September 1, 2020. As the search gets underway for Dr. Willey’s successor, the University recognizes her legacy.
Under Dr. Willey’s leadership, University of Indianapolis athletic programs and facilities have seen tremendous growth. The number of varsity teams on campus has increased to 23, and the number of student-athletes who call UIndy home has grown to nearly 700. Key Stadium and Nicoson Hall have seen modernizing renovations, and the Athletics and Recreation Center was constructed during her tenure.
Her legacy at UIndy is highlighted by her tireless efforts to raise UIndy’s profile on the national stage. She also oversaw UIndy’s rise in competitiveness at the NCAA level. UIndy has been honored with over 90 Academic All-America honorees, a mark that is in the top 10 in Division II. During the 2018-19 academic year, the average overall GPA for all student-athletes was 3.32.
In 2018 only 13% of Division I or II institutions’ athletic departments were helmed by women. Dr. Willey has proudly forged a path for women in athletics from the moment she was hired in 1975. Seeing firsthand how the roles of women have changed in the industry during her career, she has remained at the forefront of the fight for equal opportunity in sports and passed those lessons of empowerment down to our athletes. She broke barriers when she became the University’s first female director of athletics and one of the first women to be a member of the President’s Cabinet.
Her accomplishments as a student-athlete and coach foretold her success in leadership roles. A 1993 inductee into the UIndy Athletic Hall of Fame, she earned an incredible 19 letters and 11 MVP awards in her four-year career. She was the Female Athlete of the Year from 1972 to 1975 and went on to coach 23 years at UIndy, directing 43 teams in five sports. She was the GLVC softball Coach of the Year in 1989, and her softball teams earned national academic honors in 1996 and 1997.
Dr. Willey is a national example of leadership in athletics as well. She was honored as the Under Armour Division II Athletic Director of the Year in 2012-2013, the Under Armour Central Division II Central Region AD of the Year in 2010, and the NACWAA Division II Administrator of the Year in 2005.
Dr. Willey joins a storied University history of long-serving athletic directors, including Dr. David Huffman ’64, Bill Bright ’54, and Angus Nicoson ’42, among many dedicated leaders in the Department of Athletics through the years.