An experienced athletic director, coach, and alumna will lead Ithaca College’s student-athletes and coaches starting this summer. Susan Bassett, who has been recognized as a national leader in Division III athletics for the last two decades, has been named the new director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports.
She will succeed Ken Kutler, who announced last October that he would be stepping down from the post, which he held for more than 10 years. Bassett will assume her new position on July 1.
“Susan Bassett is a natural fit to lead Athletics and Recreational Sports at this moment in IC history,” said Marisa Kelly, provost and vice president for educational affairs. “She truly understands how every moment of students’ experiences at college, including their competitive or intramural athletic experience, helps prepare them for future success. Her leadership skills, fundraising experience, dedication, and vision will undoubtedly further strengthen the college’s athletics and recreational sports programs.”
Bassett has served since 2005 as the Director of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation at Carnegie Mellon University. During her tenure, she developed the Excellence Forum to provide students with leadership and life-skills development and staff with professional development opportunities. Additionally, Bassett participated in the improvement of many campus facilities including the installation of a new state-of-the-art turf field for the University’s stadium, the replacement of the university’s track, the addition of a varsity weight room, and a new soccer stadium.
Prior to her arrival at Carnegie Mellon, Bassett served as the director of athletics at William Smith College in Geneva, N.Y. for 10 years. During her tenure, she facilitated the addition of a new golf and sailing team and the athletics programs enjoyed regional and national prominence. Bassett also developed the Peak Performance Plan, a mentoring initiative to help student-athletes reach their full potential academically, athletically, and professionally. In 2000, William Smith was recognized as one of the top athletics programs in the nation by “Sports Illustrated for Women.” During her tenure at William Smith, Bassett was elected Chair of the NCAA Division III Management Council and guided the Division through the 2004 Reform Agenda.
Bassett began her career as head swimming and diving coach and assistant lacrosse and field hockey coach at William Smith from 1980-1987, where she coached 22 All-Americans. She also served as the head men’s and women’s swimming coach at Union College from 1987-1995, where she mentored 92 All-Americans and was named the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 1993.
“It is a dream come true to return to Ithaca College as the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports,” said Bassett. “I am honored by the confidence that Provost Kelly and President Rochon have placed in me to join their administrative team. The tradition of excellence in athletics at Ithaca College defines it as one of the best athletics programs in NCAA Division III. I am thrilled to accept this position and return to my alma mater.”
In June 2010, Bassett was named the Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year for the Central Region of the United States. In 2010, she also became the first active Division III athletics director to be appointed president of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA).
Bassett earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Ithaca College in 1979 and was inducted into the Ithaca College Hall of Fame in 2005. She received a master’s degree in physical education from Indiana University in 1980 and holds places of honor in the Union College Hall of Fame and the Heron Hall of Honor at William Smith.