Her first choice was the right one, Eastern Washington President Mary Cullinan has decided.
Lynn Hickey, whom Cullinan hired as interim athletic director 10 weeks ago, is now the school’s permanent Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, university officials confirmed Tuesday night.
Cullinan will make the formal announcement today at 11 a.m. at Reese Court, inside the Special Events Pavilion. The public is invited. Free parking is available at Lot P12, located to the west and northwest of the Roos Field main grandstand.
A longtime collegiate athletics administrator and former coach, Hickey was selected after a nationwide search that produced 50 candidates from NCAA Division schools.
Hickey’s track record – including 18 years in charge of the athletic department at the University of Texas at San Antonio – clearly made an impression on the search committee, co-chaired by Provost Scott Gordon and EWU Board of Trustees member Judge James Murphy.
After public forums last week that also included Vince Otoupal, athletic director at Utah Valley University, the committee compiled a list of the strengths and weaknesses of each finalist.
Those were forwarded over the weekend to Cullinan, who made the final decision to stick with the woman she hired on an interim basis after Bill Chaves left in January to become athletic director at North Dakota.
Despite moving halfway across the country in the middle of winter, Hickey said last week that after only two weeks, “this place kind of grabbed my heart.”
Now it will command her full-time attention. Hickey’s short-term to-do list includes several key hires and filling an open date on the football schedule.
Hickey said recently that she’s impressed with the department’s success on the field and in the classroom.
“What they’ve accomplished so far is commendable,” Hickey said.
The feelings were apparently returned, as several department insiders have praised Hickey’s insight and passion for athletic administration.
That insight is the product of decades of experience. Hickey played and coached college basketball, the latter at Division I Kansas State and Texas A&M.
Hickey led A&M to an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 1994, then became the school’s Senior Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator.
Five years later, Hickey served as athletic director at UTSA, leading a period of unprecedented growth by adding football and women’s soccer and golf.
Hickey also developed a student-athlete centered program that combined academic success, leadership development, strength and conditioning and life skills.