Betsy Mitchell Named Allegheny Athletics Director

MEADVILLE, Pa. – Betsy Mitchell has been appointed as the director of athletics and recreation at Allegheny College, effective July 1, 2006. The former Olympic Gold Medalist and world record holder becomes the first female director of athletics in Allegheny College history.

“We are excited to have someone of Betsy’s caliber leading our athletics program,” said former director of athletics, and current associate vice president of finance and planning, Larry Lee. “Betsy was chosen from a field of excellent candidates from a national pool and was clearly the candidate of choice. She brings to Allegheny an athletics background unparalleled by most, blended with a student centered focus and philosophy that mirrors the mission, vision and values of both Allegheny College and Division III athletics.”

Prior to this appointment, she was the swimming and diving head coach of Dartmouth University. Dartmouth had never had a winning season and had not won an Ivy League contest in nine years, before she molded the program into a power, turning an 0-10 team the year before she took over the reigns of the program to 8-3 in her final season. Mitchell has also worked as an instructor in the Sports Management program at Notre Dame College of Ohio, served as director of athletics at Shaker Heights High School, in Shaker Heights, Ohio and most recently the director of athletics at Thomas Worthington High School in Columbus, Ohio.

Mitchell has worked in higher education as a consultant to a number of institutions. She has advised institutions on such efforts as creating a comprehensive athletic program review, overhauling department policies and procedures, staff development and evaluation, recruitment systems analysis, and creating coach and student handbooks.

“The opportunity to serve the Allegheny College community as the director of athletics and recreation is one that I am excited about and humbled by,” said Mitchell. “I take very seriously my responsibility as an educator and leader, and am proud of the critical role that athletics and recreation play in the development of each young person. Allegheny College has a tremendous national reputation. The athletic department has a strong tradition of success, and is one that I will devote all of my energy to maintaining and improving.”

“Betsy Mitchell’s talents and accomplishments as an athlete and as an administrator are many and are readily apparent,” said Allegheny College President Dr. Richard Cook. “Beyond that, however, is her match with Allegheny’s philosophy of the role of sports, recreation, and fitness in developing true sportsmanship, strong leadership and teamwork.”

Mitchell was a dominant competitive swimmer for over a decade, earning an Olympic Silver Medal as a high school athlete by placing second in the 100-meter backstroke, while also winning a Gold Medal that season as a member of the 400-meter medley relay in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She has been honored with several awards, including the USA Swimmer of the Year in 1986. She was also a Sullivan Award Finalist, an award that acknowledges the top amateur athlete in the country, and voted the U.S. Olympic Committee Sportswoman of the Year for Swimming.

After transferring from the University of North Carolina, she helped the University of Texas to three consecutive Division I Championships in 1986, 1987 and 1988. She was a seven-time individual NCAA Champion in the 100- and 200-yard backstrokes and the 200-yard individual medley, holding the American record for both backstroke events for many years and the world record in the 100-yard event. The multiple-time All-American and Academic All-American earned the NCAA Most Valuable Swimmer Award, the NCAA Top Six Award and the Hondo Broderick Award for Swimming. She broke the world record in the 200-meter backstroke in 1986. Mitchell earned her second Olympic berth, as a member of the 1988 team, helping the 400-meter medley relay team to a Silver Medal.

Later in her athletic career, Mitchell was introduced to the sport of sculling, making her mark on the international scene when she represented the United States in the World Championships in 1994 in the women’s open double scull.

“It is certainly an exciting time for Allegheny College athletics and recreation,” said Lee. “I am confident that in Betsy Mitchell, we have found someone that will prove to be one of the finest athletic administrators in the country.”