The director of athletics and recreation, Dr. Leslie Danehy, will leave Cabrini on Nov. 23 to assume the position of associate director of playing rules administration for the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Danehy’s new position will lead her to Indianapolis, Ind., the home of the NCAA. She will be working with men’s and women’s sports at the Division I, II and III levels in the championship division of the NCAA.
“It didn’t start out as a goal. I entertained the idea of moving to a bigger Division III program or becoming an associate athletic director at a smaller Division I program but neither really excited me. But once I interviewed at the NCAA I knew it was the perfect fit for me,” Danehy said.
“It is an unbelievable opportunity for Leslie. To have the opportunity to work at an office as high powered as the NCAA will really benefit her 10 to 15 years down the road,” assistant director of athletics Jeff Falardeau said. “It’s like working for the White House of sports. It governs all Division I, II and III college institutions.”
Danehy has spent the last 10 years of her life working as a member of the Cabrini Athletic Department. In 2003, after serving as associate director of athletics for six years, she was promoted to director of athletics and recreation and nothing but success has followed her.
“I will miss being here. This place symbolizes the stage in my life in which I grew up as a professional. I came here as a 27-year-old and now I leave 10 years later more knowledgeable than ever. The people of the Cabrini community have been essential not only to my growth as an administrator but to my growth as a person,” Danehy said.
During Danehy’s tenure in the athletic department, Cabrini has seen great success; winning six Pennsylvania Athletic Conference cups, recognized annually as the league’s most successful program. In addition, men’s lacrosse, women’s tennis and men’s and women’s track and field have advanced to the highest level of Division III competition, the NCAA championships.
Under the leadership of Danehy Cabrini has built a mini-stadium with a state-of-the-art field for the field hockey, lacrosse and soccer programs, introduced a Cabrini Athletics Hall of Fame, given Cavalier athletic teams a new Web site and logo, added a full-time position, coordinator of student-athlete wellness and hired two full time basketball coaches, Greg Herenda and Bobbi Morgan.
“She created a strategic vision mapping out a five-year plan for a successful Division III program and followed through with our new turf field, Hall of Fame, the securing of Jackie Neary’s position along with countless other beneficial contributions to Cabrini athletics,” Falardeau said.
“Leslie is an amazing leader. She has the ability to inspire people around her to do great things leading them to go above and beyond their own personal job descriptions,” Falardeau said.
Following Danehy’s departure in late November Jeff Falardeau will control the day-to-day operations of varsity sports and Orlin Jespersen, assistant director for intramurals and recreation, will control recreation and the Dixon Center facilities.
Meanwhile, a national search will take place seeking Danehy’s successor.
“They are doing a national search, which will be very competitive. Cabrini will even be able to hire someone more qualified than me,” Danehy said.
Danehy and her 20-month-old son, Aidan, are ready for the transition in their lives.
“The new job is fairly corporate, meaning it is nine to five Monday through Friday. I will be able to engage in his (Aidan) life even more. There is some travel but I will have more time for him and that makes me happy,” Danehy said.
But a stay at home mom Danehy is not.
“In the future there are two paths that I would like to entertain. One is an NCAA career path and the other is going to a NCAA Division I institution. To administrate at that level would be amazing. I could see myself coming back to another Division III program but first I want to explore what the NCAA and Division I has to offer,” Danehy said.
“At the end of the day I know I did my best. It was good enough for the people here. There were moments that I fell short but as a coach would tell their player, ‘leave it all on the field.’ I can honestly say I gave my all to Cabrini. I am leaving here having not saved an ounce of my energy,” Danehy said.
“Working with Leslie was terrific. She has so much energy and creativity. Our time was productive yet exciting at the same time. I know she will have a great effect on the NCAA,” head men’s basketball coach Greg Herenda said.
“She is an unbelievable person, administrator, coach, mother and friend. At the end of the day Cabrini is going to miss more than just a great athletic director but a great friend,” Falardeau said.
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