Next athletic director announced: Sherryta Freeman to take over in February

From left, President Alison Byerly, the Lafayette Leopard, new Athletic Director Sherryta Freeman, and VP for Campus Life Annette Diorio. (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

From left, President Alison Byerly, the Lafayette Leopard, new Athletic Director Sherryta Freeman, and VP for Campus Life Annette Diorio. (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

Lafayette athletics will be under new direction starting this February. Sherryta Freeman, introduced in a press conference on Jan. 4, will take the helm as director of athletics. She succeeds Bruce McCutcheon, who announced his retirement in September after 16 years.

Freeman, who graduated from Dartmouth, has held positions at her alma mater, Temple and UPenn. She won the Ivy League Tournament twice in her four years playing on Dartmouth’s basketball team. Currently at UPenn as the athletic department’s senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator, she said she will be focused on providing “championship experiences” at Lafayette.

“It’s a great day to be a Lafayette Leopard,” Freeman said at the press conference. She said that her focus as director will be on building “an athletic program with a winning culture” while maintaining “academic excellence.”

While forming a strong culture within the athletic department is important to Freeman, she also said she wants the athletic department to “build on existing partnerships” with the campus community and “create new ones,” all part of an initiative of “campus integration.”

“One of the things we feel most excited about when we think about Sherryta Freeman’s appointment as the new Director of Athletics is the fact that she has great experience in thinking about how to balance academics and athletics,” President Alison Byerly said.

“Sherryta Freeman has the passion and the vision and the commitment to really create the culture of success that we want in everything we do at Lafayette,” she added.

Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students Annette Diorio headed the committee that appointed Freeman, a choice which she said was not taken lightly.

“Sherryta [Freeman] impressed us with the depth and variety of her experience and her ability to articulate a vision for athletics that combines athletic and academic strengths to create a culture of achievement,” Diorio said. “Our candidate pool was very deep and we spent considerable time whittling that group down, searching for the individual who best embodies the values that will develop the championship culture we seek.”

As athletic director, Freeman will oversee Lafayette’s 23 varsity sports programs. Lafayette has not been a force in the Patriot League as of late. In the past year, none of the six men’s teams which record win-loss records have mounted winning seasons, and just one of the seven women’s teams has recorded a season over .500. Women’s lacrosse went 10-8 overall, and 5-4 in Patriot League play.

The athletics have also seen substantial coaching turnover recently, including, but not limited to, head coaching changes in football, women’s basketball, softball and men’s lacrosse.

Freeman said that all-around excellence in the department will be one of her biggest priorities.

“We will maintain the highest level of integrity and commitment to compliance while being fiscally responsible. Simply put, you put it all together, we will pursue excellence with energy and enthusiasm,” Freeman said.

“I have won championships at every level of my career and have relished in the successes of the coaches and student athletes I’ve had the pleasure to work with,” she added. “This winning attitude combined with a healthy balance of confidence and humility will be at our core.”