Hickey leads program into new conference

Lynn Hickey

The 2010-2011 year will go down as the greatest in the history of the UTSA athletic program.

In less than a year, the Roadrunner athletic department has won five conference championships with the possibility of more.

In addition to the conference titles, the athletic department accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in July 2012.

In January, the university received $15 million to build the first phase of a new athletic complex called Park West.

That first phase will include a new soccer facility and track facility that can be used for olympic-style events.

The leading lady of all of this progress is Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey.

“It has been an outstanding year,” Hickey said. “You would have to call it the year of the Roadrunner.”

In the ‘year of the Roadrunner,’ the athletic department had ups and downs but in the end finds itself in a good position.

“We are doing a major fundraising initiative that is going well,” Hickey said.

Along with the fundraising campaign, Hickey has a dedicated staff.

“This is something you do with special people,” Hickey said. “People who have pride in what they do every day.

Looking back on the year that was, the accomplishments on and off the field surpassed even Hickey’s wildest dreams.

“You always go forward wanting to be positive,” Hickey said. “There are so many factors and a little bit of luck.”

“We had teams finish strong,” Hickey continued. “That is a testament to our coaches.”

The dedication of the coaches will be repaid with the building of Park West, the new athletic complex between Hausman Road and Loop 1604.

“We finalized the contracts and have begun the design process,” Hickey said. “We would like to add a football practice facility to phase one, but the soccer and track venues are much needed.”

All of the excitement about the record-breaking year on the field could lead some to forget that football is only months away, but not Hickey.

“I panic sometimes when I see we have four months until opening day,” Hickey said. “But we have a great staff, school and city who are behind us.”

The progress made off the gridiron is just as impressive as that made on it, despite the comings and goings of coaches and a team that has issues with depth.

“Coach Coker has made swell progress,” Hickey said. “He now has a full staff.”

In order to field a football team, the athletic department has had to do a lot behind the scenes that may go unnoticed.

“To look back [on the year] it is unbelievable,” Hickey said. “We have had a huge group on campus to get everything ready.”

In the classroom, the athletic department was just as impressive as each sport on the field.

“We are getting better in academics,” Hickey said. “We had a department GPA of 3.0; we have a great group of students that have competed and represented campus.”

In spite of coaches coming and going and the fears of an unstable WAC, Hickey looks back on the year that was and ahead at what is to come.

“Athletics are in the best position ever,” Hickey said. “We are in the best shape winning wise, financially and academically; we have set the bar high.”

Whatever happens in the final weeks of the year, it will forever remain the ‘Year of the Roadrunner’.