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On Aug. 4, Mollie Marcoux ’91 began her first official day as Princeton’s new athletic director. Her first order of business? One-on-one meetings with each of Princeton’s 34 head coaches. After spending at least an hour with each coach, she noticed a few things they all had in common.

“Our coaches have a lot of creativity, and they’re focused on performance in all areas of life, not just on the field. They’re teaching value systems and upholding our athletic department’s motto of ‘Education Through Athletics,’ ” Marcoux said. “Each coach has their own approach to their team. My job is to take the good from each program and pass it along to the others.”

Marcoux has used her first weeks on campus to meet as many people as possible and learn as much as she can.

“I’ve been doing a lot of speaking, not only within the athletic department, but throughout campus. I’ve met with people involved in campus life, administrators, human resources. I’ve worked with coaches, alumni, supporters.”

Facilitating those relationships will be crucial to maintaining a smooth relationship between the athletic department and the rest of campus, something that predecessor Gary Walters ’67 struggled with in his early years. The issue of student-athlete admission is particularly vexing right now, as Harvard has overtaken Princeton as the premier athletic institution in the Ivy League amid allegations of lowered academic standards for its athletic recruits. Marcoux, however, stressed cooperation with the rest of campus and inward, rather than outward, focus.

“The admission officers are partners with us. It’s not a battle to fight. We need to work collectively to figure out how to get the best student-athletes here. We’re not necessarily focused on Harvard, but on us. We’re working on being the best we can be.”

Other issues Marcoux cited included retaining Princeton’s coaches and filling a couple new positions that opened up. She also stressed marketing in order to raise attendance and awareness as a primary objective.

She has attended every home athletic contest so far this year and is excited about the prospects of Princeton’s fall sports. She appears to be enjoying every minute in her new position.

“I’m optimistic about our teams, and I’ve enjoyed watching them play. Water polo is undefeated, volleyball won their tournament, soccer is coming around. Field hockey has a great team; they’re just getting their legs under them.”

“I’m absolutely loving being back and being part of the Princeton community and athletic department. We have a lot of great things going, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”


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