Harry Sheehy (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)
Harry Sheehy, a highly regarded administrator and former coach who has led Williams College to 17 Division III national team championships during his 10 years as the College’s Chair and Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation, has been named Dartmouth’s Director of Athletics and Recreation, effective September 7, 2010. Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim and Acting Dean of the College Sylvia Spears announced Sheehy’s appointment today.
Sheehy will oversee 34 Division I varsity sports at Dartmouth — 16 men’s, 16 women’s and two coed — as well as 34 club sports and an extensive intramural program. Three-fourths of undergraduates participate in organized sports at Dartmouth. The athletics department also includes physical education courses, the Fitness and Lifestyle Improvement Program (FLIP), and recreational activities serving about 1,500 individuals a day.
“I am delighted that Harry Sheehy is joining the Dartmouth community,” said President Kim. “He has enjoyed tremendous success as a coach and administrator at Williams, and has clearly demonstrated that an elite academic institution can achieve sustained athletic excellence across the board. Harry and I also share the belief that what students can learn from physical activity and sports goes hand-in-glove with what our faculty teach in the classroom. I know Harry’s insights and expertise will benefit our varsity, club sport, and recreational athletes. Dean Spears and I look forward to supporting him in our shared goals of taking Dartmouth athletics to new heights, and to making physical fitness an important part of everyone’s experience here at Dartmouth College.”
President Kim, Marietta Smith ’12, and Harry Sheehy. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)
“I want to personally thank President Kim, Dean Spears, and the search committee for making this opportunity a reality,” Sheehy said. “I’m excited about working at Dartmouth, a school that combines one of the country’s premier undergraduate-focused educations with a storied history of Division I athletics. I look forward to continuing Dartmouth’s tradition of excellence, both on and off the field of competition, and to working with Dartmouth’s student-athletes, President Kim, Dean Spears, and the College’s administrators.”
Sheehy will report directly to the President, with a secondary report to the Dean of the College, restoring a historical relationship that is consistent with several of Dartmouth’s peer institutions. The President will oversee issues related to administration and athletic compliance, while activities related to student issues and concerns, leadership development, and academic support will reside within the Dean of the College division. The Athletics Department staff will remain part of the Dean of the College’s student affairs staff, and scholar-athletes will continue to have access to all of the services provided by Dean of the College division.
During each year of Sheehy’s decade guiding the Williams athletics department, the Ephs won the NCAA Division III Directors’ Cup, given to the athletics program (out of more than 400 Division III colleges) that achieves the greatest success over a variety of 18 sports. In this past season, Williams had 14 of those 18 teams rank among the top 10 in their sport, and six in the top three with women’s crew winning its fifth consecutive national championship and women’s tennis taking home its third straight title. Overall, the Ephs have won 17 national championships during Sheehy’s tenure and had a total of 619 All-America honors bestowed on their student-athletes.
Williams was also named the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Jostens Institution of the Year four times with Sheehy at the helm (2001, ’04, ’09 and ’10). The award recognizes the ECAC institution that best exemplifies the highest standards of collegiate academic and athletic performance. The ECAC has a membership of 290 schools from 16 states stretching from Maine to North Carolina, representing the three NCAA competitive divisions.
Before his appointment as Williams’ Director of Athletics, Sheehy was the head men’s basketball coach for the Ephs for 17 years, compiling a record of 324-104 (.757) which is the fourth best winning percentage in the history of Division III men’s basketball. During the 1990s, his teams posted a record of 221-45 (.830) for the second highest winning percentage of the decade.
Williams made 13 appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament under Sheehy’s tutelage, including his last 12 seasons. In 1997 and 1998, the Ephs played in the Division III Final Four, finishing third nationally in both years. The 1997 squad won a then college record 17 straight games, and from 1995-98 his teams won a then New England record of 51 consecutive home games. Sheehy also guided his 1987 and 1999 squads to New England Championships.
Sheehy’s players received 15 selections to the All-New England team and eight as All-Americans, including one National Player of the Year. Prior to his tenure at Williams, the Ephs had enjoyed just one 20-win season. Sheehy guided the program to nine 20-win seasons, including each of his final eight years.
During his coaching career, Sheehy was named the Northeast Coach of the Year (1997, ’98), the Eastern Basketball Magazine Coach of the Year (1998) and the NESCAC Coach of the Year (2000). In 2002, he was elected to be in the inaugural class of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, joining others such as Bob Cousy, Patrick Ewing, Julius Erving, Jim Calhoun, and Geno Auriemma.
A 1975 graduate of Williams, Sheehy was a two-time All-American in basketball as well as team captain his senior year. He then played eight years with Athletes-in-Action and finished his career as the team’s leading career scorer and fifth in career assists. Sheehy represented the United States in the 1978 Pan American Confederation Games as the U.S. won the gold medal in Argentina.
Sheehy is a noted motivational speaker who travels throughout the U.S. to speak to alumni, church, and business groups. His 2002 book, “Raising a Team Player,” has received critical acclaim. He is married to Constance Durrell Sheehy.
Sheehy is Dartmouth’s eighth athletics director, succeeding Josie Harper who retired in June 2009 after seven years in the position. Over the past 13 months, Bob “Cep” Ceplikas ’78 has served as the interim director. Ceplikas will return to his former position as Deputy Director of Athletics. “We are extremely grateful to Cep for stepping up to fill this leadership role for more than a year,” said Dean Spears. “He did a superb job of running the department and continuing the great tradition of Dartmouth athletics that has enriched the lives of so many Dartmouth students.”