Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Athletic director has big plans for UTSA

Hickey lynn trophies

Lynn Hickey has been arguably the most influential person on UTSA’s campus since she arrived in 2000.

She came to San Antonio from Texas A&M University, a school where she not only coached the women’s basketball team from 1984-1994, but also held the title of Senior Associate Athletics director from 1994-2000.

At A&M, Hickey was responsible for guiding the 1993-94 Aggies women’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, becoming the lowest seeded team (13) to ever reach the milestone.

Now as UTSA’s Athletic Director, Hickey’s crowning achievement so far has been establishing a football program at UTSA.

Soon after the foundation of the coveted program, Hickey was able to move the Roadrunners from the Southland Conference to the more competitive Conference USA.

Even with her many contributions to UTSA’s athletic programs, Hickey remains constant about her ultimate goal: increasing UTSA’s national status.

“When I first got here 15 years ago, (UTSA athletics) had a budget of 1.2 million. We’re going to be closer to 26 million next year,” Hickey said.

When Hickey began as the Athletic Director, UTSA athletics was running a public relations campaign called “We’ve Got Game” that was designed to increase program support amongst the student body.

The campaign centered on the idea of paving the road for a Division 1 NCAA Football team at UTSA while building pride and tradition at UTSA, two promises that Hickey made sure came true.

Along the way, UTSA football has remained in the top three of its conference in attendance since 2011, more than tripling the average attendance mark each year.

The work that Hickey has done for the university has increased not only the profitability of the UTSA brand, but also the visibility of the campus and its athletics programs.

According to information collected by Nielsen Scarborough Research, the UTSA Roadrunner fan base has increased by 19 percent since 2014, more than the Rampage, Spurs and Missions combined.

Although the football team has struggled through what has been a disappointing season, Hickey remains positive about the outlook of UTSA and the athletics program.

“Even with the season we’ve had, as far as wins and losses, we’re still among the top in our conference in attendance,” Hickey said. “People care and people are involved. We just want to get to the next level.”

With a .500 season now out of reach for the UTSA football team (2-8, 2-4 C-USA), many have harshly criticized Head Coach Larry Coker, who in five years with the program has managed to collect only two winning seasons.

Hickey remains firm in her commitment to Coker and believes that the former national champion has done wonders with the young program.

“Because of him (Coker), we got a huge jump start on the program,” said Hickey. “We needed a special person to head this team and he has been that through and through.”

Even with football being the highlight program at UTSA, Hickey has made sure to work toward gaining visibility for all athletic programs.

Underneath Hickey, UTSA Athletics was able to break ground on a state of the art athletic complex — Park West — and recently announced plans to install a video board in the Convocation Center by 2016.

Throughout the evolution of UTSA Athletics, Hickey has maintained the appropriate focus for her student-athletes.

“Out of 400 kids (student-athletes), they’re doing really well,” Hickey said. “Our graduation rate is higher than the regular student body. Across the board, with 17 sports, we have a 3.0 grade point average. We’ve got some good people.”

Hickey also acknowledged the continued support of UTSA President Dr. Ricardo Romo in the expansion of the athletics program.
“I can’t say enough about his support, it’s just outstanding,” Hickey said. “From the whole administration the support has been great, because they believe.”

Even with her numerous accolades and acknowledgments, Hickey’s biggest goal remains upgrading the visibility of the program she has grown to love.

“UTSA is the jewel of San Antonio,” Hickey said. “The day that we get our alumni empowered and understanding the leverage they have in the city of San Antonio, we’ll be a pretty powerful group.”

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