The Colgate Scene
|By Isaac Goodling '08|
"I always felt . . . that we are like the giant killers," said new assistant athletics director Vicky Chun '91. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]
Although most Colgate students spend their four years in Hamilton and then move on, some just can't stay away. Such is the case for former volleyball player and coach Vicky Chun '91, who recently returned as assistant athletic director, bringing back her personal conviction that at Colgate, there is nothing that cannot be done.
"I always felt in volleyball that we are like the giant killers," Chun said. "We're the only people who have the confidence that when we step on the court, we think that we're going to beat you. It's like a certain cockiness and confidence that I think Colgate students and athletes have, and I think that's part of the reason that they're so successful outside of Colgate, too."
Chun made an immediate impact from her first days at Colgate as a first-year volleyball player. Being named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year, she quickly became an essential player, garnering all-Patriot League first team honors her junior and senior years, as well as receiving the inaugural league Player of the Year award. After graduating, Chun stayed on as an assistant coach, and eventually became head coach, where she continued to excel. She made history in 1996, becoming the first person to ever win player of the year and coach of the year awards from the same conference, but she refused to allow these honors to go to her head.
"I knew that our team goal when I was a player and a coach was to win a conference championship, and anything else that came would just be icing on the cake," Chun said. "When people look back, they might not remember who the player or coach of the year was, but they will always see who won the championship."
That same year, Chun coached the women's volleyball team into the NCAA tournament, making it the first Colgate women's team to compete in the national tournament. She still holds the Colgate career records for kills and blocks, which contributed to her being named to the Patriot League all-decade team for volleyball in 2000. For her efforts as both a coach and player, Chun was awarded the Howard Hartman Award in 1997 and inducted into the Colgate Athletic Hall of Honor in 2002.
"That was one of the best nights of my life," Chun said. "It was amazing. We had a great volleyball team, so in some ways I feel guilty that I was the one who got the honor because it was such a team achievement."
After completing her coaching career in 1997, Chun worked for the NCAA for several years, but when her alma mater again called this year, she quickly responded, returning to work in the athletics office.
In her new administrative role, Chun has already made an impact. One of her main initiatives, to build stronger bonds among members of the athletics staff, has been accomplished largely through the departmental e-mail that she created and called the PERA Spotlight -- a weekly Q&A and photo profile of two staff members.
"Vicky brings a ton of energy to the position and is highly respected by everyone in and out of Colgate," said athletic director Dave Roach. "Her experience as a student and coach, as well as her work with the NCAA, make her a perfect fit for what we want to accomplish at Colgate. The PERA spotlight is a great example of Vicky doing things to pull everyone together. She is the ultimate team player."
"This is a great department, and people work really, really hard, but you don't always get to know each other, or even their lives outside of athletics," Chun said. "It's a good thing to be able to learn a little bit about each other, whether the answers are funny, serious, or philosophical. It's just a great chance to see what other people are like and get to know each other a bit."
One of her next goals is spreading her love of Colgate athletics to the surrounding communities by encouraging greater attendance at sporting events.
"I'd like to focus on marketing our teams more," Chun said. "Our teams are successful, and the community here has been great, but I think that there are pockets of people in Syracuse and Utica that we can draw in."
Colgate is in good hands with Chun, who is as synonymous with Raider athletics as maroon and white.
"I love Colgate, its athletics department, and the athletes and coaches," Chun said. "I absolutely loved this place as an athlete, and whenever they have a need for me, it's an easy decision to make on my part."
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