At a spirited town hall meeting in Pfenning Alumni Center on Sept. 27, Sherryta Freeman, director of athletics, presented her bold vision for Leopard athletics. Before an enthusiastic audience of administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, Freeman unveiled Creating a Championship Culture, a strategic plan that outlines her six pillars to building a championship culture at Lafayette:

  1. Achieving competitive excellence
  2. Strengthening academic excellence
  3. Providing the most positive student-athlete experience possible
  4. Building more community and spirit for Lafayette athletics
  5. Ensuring integrity in everything associated with Lafayette athletics
  6. Securing the funding necessary for success

“The work has already started, but the future of Lafayette athletics begins today. We have put our goals into existence for everyone to see. And we must work every day to achieve them,” Freeman told the crowd. “Climbing the hill will not be easy. There are people who support Lafayette athletics and this College wholeheartedly and believe in the vision we have for the program. Together, we will create a championship culture. We will be champions.”

Here’s a sampling of reaction to the strategic plan.

Kia Damon
Head coach, women’s basketball

“It’s a great step in the right direction for the athletics department because the plan gives some pretty specific targets for where we’d like to be come 2023. What excites me the most are the action steps within each of the six pillars, which involve coaches, faculty, staff, and student-athletes who will pitch in and help make the plan become reality. Faculty, staff, and coaches love this kind of clear direction because it makes good use of individual competencies and gives us control of our success. That buy-in means we can more fully support our student-athletes to learn from the highs and lows on the courts and fields, and help them reach their full potential at Lafayette and prepare them to become great citizens and leaders.”

Cindy Oaks Linville ’80
Past president of Maroon Club

“We’re in a strong position with a strategic plan and an athletic director with a clear and focused direction, and a passion and excitement to spread her vision. Sherryta has done an amazing job gaining the support of the administration. I was so pleased to see so many members of the president’s cabinet at the town hall meeting showing their support for Lafayette athletics. This is not just an issue for people who support athletics, this is for people who want excellence at Lafayette. This is a call to action for alumni to show support verbally, emotionally, and with their pocketbooks. The bus is running; let everyone get on it.”

Cindy is former captain of Lafayette women’s lacrosse and field hockey teams. She and her husband, Jud Linville ’79, endowed Oaks Leadership Academy, which develops leadership skills in Lafayette student-athletes.

David Stifel
Professor and assistant head of economics and NCAA faculty athletics representative

“As a member of the Athletics Review and Planning Steering Committee, I’m impressed by how Sherryta has used input from the committee to address the opportunities we have to achieve competitive excellence. It’s a very positive and pragmatic approach to creating a winning environment that is consistent with who we are as Lafayette College and as a member of the Patriot League. She’s making something that’s workable by creating implementation committees that are tasked with achieving these strategic goals and objectives, the type of objectives that we see at other peer institutions. It’s not coming at the expense of academics, which are first and foremost. While we want our student-athletes to play well, we want them to do even better by providing an outstanding academic experience.”