By Paul Franklin
Mollie Marcoux is one of the Tigers’ own, and that has her and Princeton University excited.
The 1991 Princeton graduate was named athletic director during a press conference on campus Tuesday afternoon. She will begin her duties Aug. 4. She replaces current AD Gary Walters, who announced last fall he would be retiring after 20 years on the job.
She is the fifth AD at the university and the first woman AD. Walters also is a Princeton grad, as are current Princeton coaches such as Bob Surace (football) and Mitch Henderson (men’s basketball).
Marcoux, married with three young children, was All-Ivy in soccer and ice hockey at Princeton. For the past 19 years, she has worked with Chelsea Piers Management, the company that owns and operates two world-class amateur sports complexes in New York and Connecticut.
“I have to say it is such a pleasure to be back on campus,” Marcoux said. “This is just the most special honor that has ever been given to me. Thank you for affording me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Re-engaging with the Princeton community throughout this process has been both motivating and humbling.”
She most recently served as executive vice president and executive director of Chelsea Piers’ 400,000-square-foot, multi-venue sports complex in Connecticut.
As for being the first woman AD here, Marcoux said, “It’s fantastic. The funny thing is that when I told my current bosses about this opportunity, that was sort of the first thing they thought of, and it hadn’t really dawned on me yet — not that I was a woman (laughter) but the position was something different.”
Princeton University president Christopher L. Eisgruber is convinced Marcoux is something different — as in special.
“Princeton has a proud and distinguished history of excellence in athletics and a deep respect for the powerful impact that athletics can have on the education and character of the students who participate,” Eisgruber said.
“I am confident that Millie Marcoux will build on these traditions and values and provide strong leadership for all of our varsity, club and recreational programs.”
Marcoux was an exceptional two-sport standout at Princeton.
“She’s the absolute best,” said Surace, a 1990 graduate of Princeton. “My wife played soccer here with her. She was the Tasmanian Devil. She can beat any of our guys in golf. Whatever she does, she’s successful. We could not have gotten a more qualified person.”
Henderson, a 1998 Princeton grad and a member of the search committee, did not know Marcoux before the search.
“It was a terrific process, a lot of great candidates,” he said, “and Mollie emerged as someone who would be a very good fit. Like a lot of us, she lived it, she was a terrific student-athlete, and I think embodies a lot of the things that we think are really important here, which are culture, and athletics being important on the campus and in the community on both ends.
“We had a terrific pool of people to look at, and we’re really happy to have her.”
Marcoux graduated cum laude after majoring in history and writing her thesis on the history of women in sports from 1895 to 1946.
As a hockey player, she was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 1988 and went on to be first-team all-league four times. In 1999, she was named to the Ivy League’s Silver Anniversary ice hockey team.
Upon graduation, she was the school’s all-time leading scorer, and she still ranks first in most goals in a season (35).
Following graduation, she was hired by The Lawrenceville School, serving a variety of roles that included as assistant AD, assistant dean of admissions and coach of soccer and ice hockey.
Athlete, AD, coach — she brings it all.
“I’m truly awed by the quality of coaches that Gary has hired,” Marcoux said about the outgoing AD, whose claim to fame here was playing on Princeton’s only Final Four men’s basketball team. “I’m not alone in believing that Princeton has the best coaches in the Ivy League, and I would argue in (all of) college sports.
“Princeton coaches across the board are exceptional, not only for their personal accomplishments, but also for their integrity and the commitment to the overall development of our student-athletes as competitors, as leaders and as scholars.”
One of her initial actions will be to sit down with coaches, especially those she does not know, and, she said, to “work tirelessly” to help provide them with the resources and support they need to continue their success.
“I will do everything I can to uphold the traditions and the excellence that (have been) created and to make all the members of the Princeton family be proud of an athletic program that I truly believe is the best in the world,” she said. (The Times of Trenton)