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Athletic Director Receives National Recognition

Notre Dame College Athletic Director Sue Hlavacek has been named the 2009-10 NAIA Northeast Region Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), and has also earned the Administrator of the Year Award from the National Association of Collegiate Women’s Athletic Administrators (NACWAA). 

Sue HlavacekHlavacek has been with Notre Dame College since 1996, and has played an instrumental role in the incredible growth of the athletic program, which now operates 23 men’s and women’s varsity sports, 19 more than when she began. The department has also added the Pep Band and Dance Team under her direction. Over the last decade, Falcon athletics have experienced a meteoric rise in the NACDA rankings, and recently finished 26th in a field of over 300 NAIA institutions.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a 1980 graduate of Cleveland State University, she lettered in each of her four years in both basketball and volleyball and was named Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year three separate years. A First Team All-Ohio basketball and volleyball selection, Hlavacek was voted Most Valuable Player in basketball each of her four years with the Vikings. In 1991, she became the first woman to be inducted into CSU’s Hall-of-Fame.

The NACDA award, sponsored by Under Armour, had a number of criteria, including service as an AD for a minimum of five academic years; demonstration of commitment to higher education and student-athletes; continuous teamwork, loyalty and excellence; and the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments. Additionally, each AD's institution must have passed a compliance check through its appropriate governing body (i.e., NCAA, NAIA, etc.), in which the institution could not have been on probation or cited for a lack of institutional control within the last five years during the tenure of the current athletics director.

Nominators were NACDA-member directors of athletics, institutional presidents and conference commissioners. Special Selection Committees composed of current and former directors of athletics, present and past NCAA and NAIA presidents, current and former commissioners and other key athletics administrators voted on nominees for the award.

The NACWAA Administrator of the Year Award is presented to NACWAA members for significant contributions made as an administrator of intercollegiate athletics. This award, recognizing administrative excellence, is presented annually to members in NCAA Divisions I-FBS, Division I-FCS, Division I; II; III; NAIA/Junior/ Community Colleges and Conferences/Organizations.

“I am honored to be recognized as administrator of the year by two outstanding organizations,” Hlavacek said. The two crowning achievements mark the second time Hlavacek has won both awards. In 2003, she was honored by the NACWAA as the Administrator of the Year, and in 2004 the NACDA named her the NAIA as the Athletic Director of the Year.

The NACDA presented Hlavacek with her award at the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon on Thursday, June 24 at NACDA's 45th Annual Convention at the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., and the NACWAA will honor her during the Administrator of the Year, Honor and Distinction Awards Banquet at the 2010 NACWAA National Convention on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at The Worthington Renaissance Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas.

By Andy Barch, assistant sports information director at Notre Dame College.