ATHLETICS PROFILE: Susan Bassett
If you are a fan of Carnegie Mellon athletic events, it’s almost certain that at some point or another you have seen Susan Bassett, the athletics director, in the crowd. Bassett came to Carnegie Mellon in 2005 from William Smith College, in Geneva, N.Y. She can always be found around campus supporting varsity and club teams and overseeing the physical education department. This week, to get the opinion of an expert, The Tartan sat down with Bassett to talk about Tartan athletics.
Tartan: At several other colleges, you accomplished a lot within athletics. What in particular brought you to Carnegie Mellon?
Bassett: First and foremost, I was excited to be coming to a world-class academic institution. I also really liked Pittsburgh, I think it’s a really fun and interesting place, and I liked the UAA conference. When I was looking at the school, and its programs, and its facilities, I felt like it was somewhere I could make some improvements and have an impact on campus life.
T: In your first years here, is there anything specific you have instituted that you are really proud of?
B: We have done a lot of really great stuff with the organization of the department. We have established certain procedures and systems to make sure everything runs smoothly, and the department just seems so much more efficient. There’s also been a lot done with facility development, new turf was put in Gesling Stadium, and we designed and built the Cost Varsity Weight Room in Skibo Gymnasium.
T: What program do you think has come the farthest since you came to Carnegie Mellon?
B: Well, we have had a lot of really great individual and team performances. We’ve had students win a couple of national titles. Men’s basketball did very well last year, and tennis is doing extremely well this season. However, I have to say that the football team has made the most progress. They went from 5–5 a year ago to 10–0 this season. I can’t take any credit for it; it was the players and coaches, but they’ve done really well.
T: What is the most exciting athletic event you have attended this year?
B: I would have to say the NCAA playoff game the football team hosted. It was the first time the team had made the NCAA playoffs since 1990, and they won, which I believe was a first ever. It was just incredible to have that brought here and to have so many students be there to support the team. It was all very exciting.
T: Carnegie Mellon’s athletic teams frequently travel for competition, and almost every student athlete has a favorite place they have traveled to. Is there any one place you got to travel with one of the teams that you enjoyed?
B: Chicago. This year I got to go to Chicago with the basketball teams, and it was such a nice trip. We had decent weather, and Chicago was such a beautiful city. I really enjoyed being there.
T: As athletic director you are very involved with varsity sports and university physical education classes. How involved are you with more student-based organizations, such as club and intramural athletic teams?
B: I actually also supervise club and intramural activities, and we have recently organized a Club Sport Council, which is an organization I am very proud of, for the club teams to have more of a voice in the community and proper use of facilities.