|Position:||Director of Athletics|
A highly respected administrator with over two decades of experience guiding programs to the highest level of NCAA play, Cheryl L. Levick has successfully combined athletic and educational opportunities for students since the start of her career in collegiate athletics. As Georgia State’s Director of Athletics, Levick has helped boost the Panthers’ visibility on the national stage in multiple sports while adhering to the athletic department’s mission statement of shaping champions for today and leaders for tomorrow.
The transformation of the Panther Athletics Department has been remarkable under Levick. Each program has been enhanced or in the case of football, built from scratch – the program had one player, two helmets and seven coaches when she arrived in 2009. Now it is set to compete at the FBS level in just its fourth season. To make that jump in schedule and talent, Levick hired Trent Miles away from his alma mater in December 2012 after he constructed an impressive – if not totally improbable – turnaround at Indiana State.
Miles was not the first high-level coaching hire Levick successfully maneuvered for the Panthers as she also plucked Ron Hunter out of the state of Indiana in 2011. He quickly revitalized Georgia State basketball with its first postseason berth in a decade in his first year, and now has Panther fans eagerly awaiting the 2013-14 campaign.
The significant imprint Levick has created at GSU can be seen across the entire athletic department. She has put Georgia State in position to compete for league titles right off the bat as it fully moves into the Sun Belt Conference in 2013-14. Last year, GSU squads won two SBC team crowns to put the conference on notice that the Panthers are not just moving up, but they are ready to win from the start.
Levick's tenure in sport-crazy Atlanta has been marked by significant upgrades in facilities and fundraising. Annual giving to the Panther Athletic Club (PAC) has steadily increased by more than tenfold, and the three largest gifts in the history of GSU athletics have been secured. Construction projects have included the GSU Football Practice Complex, new facilities for strength and conditioning and sports medicine, and upgrades to every venue used by the Panthers.
Arguably the most impressive project to date is the state-of-the-art facility for sand volleyball, the Panthers’ most recent sport addition. It was finished in time for the inaugural season in 2013, and is part of the ambitious Athletics Master Facilities Plan that Levick developed to address needs for every sport.
Continuous success has been seen in the classroom as Georgia State student-athletes have excelled in recent years. Together, Panther student-athletes have recorded a cumulative grade-point average above 3.0 for 10 consecutive semesters while completing more than 5,000 hours of community service annually.
Levick has been a significant proponent of providing opportunities for women in college sports. She started the Women, Sports and Power Luncheon to raise money for women’s sports by female donors, an event that has been successful at each of her previous stops as athletic director. The event helped raise $50,000 for GSU women’s teams in 2013.
In 2011, Levick was named a "Game Changer" among women in sports business by the SportsBusiness Journal, and she was twice (1998 and 1999) named one of the nation's Top 25 Female Sports Executives by Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal. The National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA) also named her Division I Athletic Administrator of the Year in 2001.
Levick, who serves on the board of directors for Zoo Atlanta and is a board member for the Atlanta Sports Council, came to Georgia State from Maryland. She served as chief of staff/executive senior athletic director for the Terrapins while overseeing the day-to-day management of the 27-sport program. That stint came after serving three years (2004-07) as director of athletics at Saint Louis, where she led the Billikens’ transition to the Atlantic 10 Conference and was the lead fundraiser for an $80 million on-campus arena and practice complex.
In four years (2000-04) as director of athletics and recreation at Santa Clara, Levick oversaw a major renovation of the school's basketball arena and saw the Broncos' women's soccer team captured the 2001 national championship. It is still the only NCAA team title in school history.
Levick spent 12 years at Stanford as senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator. She was the primary administrator for 33 varsity programs that won 44 national championships and helped Stanford to six straight Sears Cup titles. She also served as assistant commissioner of the Pac-10 Conference, assistant director of communications and women's programs at the NCAA, women's gymnastics coach and associate athletic director at Slippery Rock, and assistant gymnastics coach and synchronized swim coach at Indiana. Levick began her career at Pattonville Senior High School in St. Louis, Mo., coaching gymnastics and women's track.
Levick is a 1974 graduate of Missouri, and holds a master’s degree in athletic administration from Indiana. She has two daughters: Heather and husband Michael Klass with grandson Brady born in July 2013; and Melissa and husband Jason Lake.