Ursinus athletics have a rich history. From soccer to field hockey and everything in between, athletics are a big part of the campus culture. The woman who is the brains behind the athletics is Athletic Director Laura Moliken.
Moliken has been a key factor in the hiring of new coaches and staff to keep the machine that is Ursinus athletics running effectively and smoothly. She has also been crucial in the improvement of several athletic facilities.
“My day-to-day [schedule] involves overseeing 25 intercollegiate sports. We have almost 100 people in our department. There are 17 head coaches, eight full-time assistant coaches, and many part-time and volunteer coaches,” said Moliken. “I am responsible for setting the strategic vision and goals for the department, as well as overseeing all of the day-to-day operations.”
Moliken has to supervise and work on many thing in the department that people may not even realize goes with the athletic director job. These things include “budget management, oversight of coaches, service on campus committees, handling parent concerns, serving on the President’s Cabinet, working with admissions, student affairs,” and many other departments on campus.
Before her involvement in the athletic administration, Moliken was an athlete herself. Moliken played field hockey at Old Dominion University under legendary coach Beth Anders. In four years at Old Dominion, Moliken’s team went 98-4-1 and won three consecutive NCAA championships.
Moliken had been at Ursinus in a different position first. In 1999 she started as the head field hockey coach, a position that comes with a lot of responsibility. She coached the Bears for 12 seasons during which they won seven consecutive Centennial Conference Championships and went to the NCAA playoffs five times; they won the national championship in 2006.
She is a three-time South Region coach of the year, three-time Centennial Conference coach of the year, and was the 2006 National coach of the year. She earned these honors while going 182-69 overall in division 3, and 93-2 in Centennial Conference play.
The field hockey team is where Moliken’s love for Ursinus first began to blossom. She kept working with the school, its coaches, and its many student-athletes.
“The most rewarding parts of the job include seeing our student-athletes have success on the fields and in the classroom. I also really enjoy working with the coaches and staff members,” said Moliken. “Ursinus is such a special place with so many exciting things happening. It’s nice to be a part of it.”
Senior football player, Tim Rafter, is apprecicative of all the work that Moliken done over the years.
“I believe she did play a big part of my experience behind the scenes. She works hard to ensure that Ursinus athletes and coaches have a positive experience and represent the school well.”
Immediate members of the Ursinus community aren’t the only ones who know about the hard work Laura Moliken does for athletics, however. Parents who go to the Little Bears swim program, a program that allows people to bring their children to Ursinus’ pool to learn how to swim competitively, have had high praise for the athletic department.
One of the parents, had very high praise for Moliken. When asked about Moliken, she said, “I haven’t met her personally, but I think she is doing a fantastic job running things around here,” said parent Maria Ricciti. “My nephew went here a few years back and played soccer and had a fantastic time. I know the school is better known for its academics, but the athletic scene around here is great,” Ricciti said.
The Ursinus sports culture is an extremely diverse atmosphere, which is one of the things that Moliken loves most about her job.
“Everyone supports each other and there is a definite chemistry that sustains our mission. We all take pride when our teams win and have success,” said Moliken. “It’s the people, relationships and experiences that will be remembered. My love for Ursinus and the part athletics plays in the lives of student athletes is something I really enjoy.”