For the first time in program history, Queens University of Charlotte is playing in Division I.
After the 2021-22 academic year, Queens University of Charlotte athletic director Cherie Swarthout — in her 17th year at Queens and her eighth as the university’s vice chancellor — announced that the university will transition from Division II to I level athletics.
Still, the 2022-23 season should be another successful season for the Royals on and off the field. The Royals had 468 student-athletes with a 3.0 or higher GPA a season ago. The school’s athletes posted a cumulative GPA of 3.39, one of their best years under Swarthout.
This year, the men’s basketball team is on track for its 13th straight winning season. Queens swim and dive is still a powerhouse: The men’s and women’s teams have won the past seven Division II national titles.
Swarthout played college basketball at Michigan State University, where she led the Spartans to the first NCAA tournament in school history as a senior. After graduation, she joined Illinois State University where she coached under Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Dr. Jill Hutchison.
Swarthout credits Karen Langeland, LeAnna Bordner, Sue Guevara, Linda Herman, Jeannie King and Hutchison as her mentors. Through their programs, Swarthout is inspiring the next generation of women and girls in sport.
“I’ve been lucky to play and work for the Blazers,” Swarthout said. “It is because of their efforts and the lessons of history that I continue to learn that throughout my career, especially as an ad for Queens, I need to provide opportunity, elevate and empower women in sports.”
Swarthout is the only female athletic director in the Atlantic Sun League and only the second in league history. Across all college athletic departments, only 20 percent of athletic director positions are held by women.
Her answer, lightly edited for clarity and brevity, is what Swarthout had to say about her role in athletics:
on her early coaching influence
Swarthout: “I’m from a small town in Michigan called Climax. It’s a small town of less than 1,000 people. I had 42 kids by the time I graduated high school, and I went to a school of 42,000 at MSU. My The head coach was Karen Langeland. Also, I had two assistants, Sue Guevara and LeAnna Bordner, whom I trusted a lot from the beginning. It was interesting that my experience was a leap of faith for the kids on the small farm, and it was possible Going to Michigan State and playing Division I basketball. Those three guys are especially steadfast in my life today.”
Working for Dr. Jill Hutchison
Swarthout: “Jill Hutchison was also an icon for Title IX, women’s basketball, and everything she did at Illinois State University. … After graduating from MSU, I got the opportunity to work for Jill. For three great female leaders Playing basketball is the best of both worlds. Then working for Jill Hutchison at Illinois State.”
“I’ve always been, especially in those younger years, and I was at Illinois State for 10 years, surrounded by (female) leaders who really made a difference. Each of them made it in their own way.”
find her style in queens
Swarthout: “I got to Queens and we had a female president. We had a female athletic director in Jeanne King. Again, two very strong leaders who had a huge influence and shape on me. Again, everyone does things their way. I hope I can learn a little bit from each of them and create my own style around the constant advancement and advancement of women in sports.”
Becoming a Pioneer in Women’s Track and Field
Swarthout: I think[my mentor]saw it as a huge opportunity. And it doesn’t have to be a burden. They know what’s important and provide opportunities for women to get involved by elevating women’s participation in sport – whether it’s through coaching or management. They have been important mentors and enablers for women. “
“Each of them promotes women, and I think that’s very important. They’re always looking for opportunities to advance. That’s what I try to do in Queens, when we hire staff or coaches, et cetera. That’s something I can control thing. I really try to take control by providing these opportunities to elevate and empower women to make a difference.”
Life as a Tier 1 Athletic Director
Swarthout: “College sports are a way of life. It’s not a job, it’s a way of life. So the ability to involve yourself on campus and in the campus community, and everything you do in your department, and your family, I think it’s really critical. Because, honestly, it’s a 24/7 job. I get calls in the early morning, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes late at night, every day of the week. So it’s a big Degrees are a way of life and a commitment.But you’ll never find a stronger career when you’re surrounded by people who want to get better every day.
“We’re goal-oriented, we want to be successful, we want to keep going. We get better every day. Nothing stays the same, right? So you get better every day. And, to be in that environment I just don’t think there’s anywhere else like it. You’ll find collaboration and cooperation, teamwork, positivity and growth. It’s a very passionate and emotional profession. The high point when the ball goes through the rim, the high point when it goes out of bounds low point. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Advice for Girls and Women in Sports
Swarthout: “The first thing is to open as many doors as you can, and walk through those doors. Find mentors who can help open those doors and lift you up. Find positivity in everything you do. Keep going. You There will be setbacks, but keep going. If you have a goal, go for it. Go get it and find other people to help support that goal…the mission and vision you set for yourself.”