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Lynn Hickey has made student-athlete welfare one of her top priorities while leading the UTSA Athletics Department to new heights.
Under Hickey’s direction since 2000, UTSA has captured three conference commissioner’s cups and a pair of league all-sports trophies while consistently winning both team and individual academic and athletics awards in all 17 sports sponsored by the university.
One of Hickey’s dreams to lead UTSA to the upper echelon of Division I Athletics was realized on Nov. 11, 2010, when the university received and accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). The department claimed the 2012-13 WAC Commissioner’s Cup on the strength of league championships by the men’s indoor track & field and baseball teams in its first and only year in the conference.
Hickey’s long-term goal of placing UTSA in a major conference was reached when Conference USA extended an invitation on May 4, 2012. The Roadrunners moved all 17 sports into that league on July 1, 2013.
Hickey has overseen the addition of three sports during her tenure. Women’s golf and women’s soccer were added in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and both programs have emerged as annual league championship contenders. On Dec. 18, 2008, UTSA’s Athletics Initiative Business Plan was approved by the UT System Board of Regents, granting permission to start a football program.
Hickey made a splash with the hiring of the first-ever head football coach, as two-time National Coach of the Year Larry Coker was introduced on March 6, 2009. The program kicked off its first season against Northeastern State on Sept. 3, 2011, to resounding success. The Roadrunners set NCAA start-up program records for inaugural game (56,743) and average home attendance (35,521) in six contests at the 65,000-seat Alamodome. In year two, UTSA posted an 8-4 overall record and finished fourth in the WAC with a 3-3 mark while averaging more than 29,000 fans. The third season saw the football team post a 7-5 overall record and finish second in the West Division of C-USA with a 6-2 mark while again topping the 29,000-mark in average home attendance.
The 2010-11 academic year will go down in history as arguably the most successful in school annals, as the Roadrunners claimed the Southland Commissioner’s Cup and Women’s All-Sports Trophy, five championships and the first-ever NCAA postseason victory. UTSA followed that with four more league titles during the 2011-12 campaign, closing out two decades in the Southland with 58 team championships, a pair of Commissioner’s Cups and two All-Sports Trophies.
Hickey has led the charge for UTSA and its hosting of numerous NCAA Championship events. Since her arrival on campus, UTSA has served as host institution for the 2001 NCAA Men’s Basketball Midwest Regional, 2002 Women’s Final Four, 2003 Men’s Basketball South Regional, 2004 Men’s Final Four, 2005 Women’s Volleyball Championship, 2006 Women’s Basketball South Regional, 2007 Men’s Basketball South Regional, 2008 Men’s Final Four, 2010 Women’s Final Four, 2011 Men’s Basketball Southwest Regional and 2011 Women’s Volleyball Championship. The school is slated to host the 2014 Men’s Basketball Second & Third Rounds, the 2014 Men’s Golf San Antonio Regional and the 2015 Women’s Golf Central Regional.
In 2007, Hickey was named to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, one of the most prestigious appointments in all of collegiate athletics. The 10-member committee oversees administration of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, including the selection and seeding of teams for the tournament. Hickey, whose five-year term expired in 2012, became just the second female ever selected to the committee, joining Charlotte Athletics Director Judy Rose, who served from 1999-2003.
Hickey has been honored nationally and locally for her hard work at UTSA. She was named the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators 2005 Division I-AAA Administrator of the Year. Hickey earned her second national award in June 2006 as the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics/GeneralSports TURF Systems Division I-AAA West Region AD of the Year. The San Antonio Express-News tabbed her as its 2010 Sportswoman of the Year and she also was selected to and completed the Masters Leadership Program of San Antonio and Bexar County. In September 2011, she received the ATHENA Leadership from the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
“UTSA is very fortunate to have an athletic leader with both the administrative and coaching experience of Lynn Hickey,” UTSA President Dr. Ricardo Romo said. “Lynn not only is a leader who can take our athletic program to the next level, but she is also well respected nationally and serves as an excellent role model for all student-athletes at this university.”
In serving as the fourth athletics director in UTSA history, Hickey assumed the lead athletics role at one of the youngest NCAA Division I universities in the country (UTSA began athletics competition in 1981). The only female Division I athletics director that oversees both men’s and women’s sports in the state of Texas, she served as President of the Southland from 2002-04 and as the league’s representative to the NCAA Championship/Competition Cabinet. Hickey also was a member of the Women’s Basketball Rules Committee from 2003-06, spending the last two years as chair.
Hickey came to San Antonio from Texas A&M University, where she served as senior associate athletics director/senior woman administrator from 1994-2000. At Texas A&M, her responsibilities included event management and marketing and promotions for 16 of the university’s 19 Division I sports. She also represented the Big 12 Conference as a member of the NCAA Championship Cabinet.
From 1984-94, Hickey served as head women’s basketball coach for Texas A&M. She directed the 1993-94 Aggies basketball team to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, becoming the lowest-seeded team to ever reach that milestone. Texas A&M finished the year ranked No. 19 in the CNN/USA Today Top 25 poll. Following the season, Hickey relinquished her coaching duties to accept the promotion to senior associate athletics director. She finished her coaching career with an overall mark of 279-167 in 15 years of collegiate coaching.
Before her stint at A&M, Hickey was head women’s basketball coach at Kansas State University from 1979-84. She averaged more than 23 wins per season in posting a 125-39 (.762) record over five years and led the Wildcats to five consecutive national tournament berths. She was inducted into the Kansas State Athletics Hall of Fame in September 2004.
A native of Welch, Okla., Hickey graduated summa cum laude from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., with a bachelor’s degree in education. She was an All-American for OBU’s nationally-ranked basketball team and a member of the USA National Team in 1973. Hickey and her husband, Bill, have a daughter, Lauren Nicole.