Director of Athletics resigns to pursue opportunity closer to family


Courtesy | Jesse Cantley

Judd says she will not be a stranger as she looks forward to coming back and seeing the Pioneers in action.

Leandra Galloway,
Sports Editor

Sara Lillevand Judd was named National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators Division II Administrator of The Year in 2013, and was appointed to the Director of Athletics position in 2012 at California State University, East Bay. Judd has only been the athletic director for two years and has decided to step down this month.

Judd began her career studying human biology at Stanford University, and was a member of its intercollegiate basketball team. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with high honors from University of California Davis, and has a Master of Science in Physical Therapy with distinction from Boston University.

Before becoming a coach, she always envisioned herself as a physical therapist or medical doctor. Judd also overcame a cancer diagnosis, which has pushed her to strive even more for greater opportunities when they present themselves.

She has been a faculty member since 1997 when she was hired as the head women’s basketball coach, and taught as a kinesiology instructor. Judd has a wide array of experience on her hands, which made her the perfect candidate in her current position at CSUEB.

After the 2007-2008 women’s basketball season she took part in what was a huge rebuilding process for the department as she helped assist the athletics administration regain their membership into the NCAA Division II.

Judd served as an assistant basketball coach at UC Davis in 1996-1997, where she was part of a 29-3 team record along with a Final Four appearance.

As well, Judd has the best winning percentage and holds the most victories of any women’s basketball coach at East Bay.

“Recreation is a field of opportunity to serve people of all ages and improve their quality of life,” Judd said.

Judd stated that her position in the department has created a remarkable rapport with establishing relationships across campus.

“It has been a university-wide collaboration to build the program back to Division II and I have really enjoyed building relationships across campus,” she added.

She oversees all direct aspects of NCAA D II Intercollegiate Athletics Program and manages department staff, which includes 36 part-time staff, and 20 full-time, along with several student workers and volunteers.

Judd also completed the new baseball field renovations on time while remaining on budget, and has launched renovations for the softball field and gymnasium project last spring.
“No two days are the same and I like that. My job is to create an environment that supports Pioneer student-athletes to graduate, win championships and engage in the community.”

She believes she has simply been just the shepherd for the program.

“How I do that on a daily basis is variable, but everything I do is aimed at achieving that vision,” Judd said.

Although, she has improved the success of the program and is passionate about her work at East Bay, she feels that timing plays a great factor in her success.

“I remain deeply engaged and satisfied in my work here at East Bay. However, the opportunity to work closer to home and be more available to my family proved too good an opportunity to pass up,” said Judd.

This gives Judd the perfect chance to pursue other endeavors. She made it clear that she values every aspect of her career life, but family will always remain a vital point to her.

“I will be able to walk to work and will have an office across the street from my kids’ school,” she said.

Leroy Morishita, CSUEB president, said in a recent statement that Judd’s contributions to  the athletics program and the university has been immeasurable.

“ It has been exciting to be a part of 17+years of Pioneer athletics history. In particular, the past 6 years and the return to Division II has been invigorating and rewarding,” said Judd.

Judd may be leaving her role as the director of athletics with the university, but her title as a director will remain. She has decided to accept a position with the City of Piedmont as the director of recreation, where she will begin work in mid-September of this year.

Her last day working in the department will be on Sept. 5. The department has conducted a national search in light of a new director. Until a replacement is found, Don Sawyer will fill in as interim director, as he was recently inducted into the Pioneer Athletics Hall-Of-Fame, and has served at East Bay for 44 years.

A celebration will take place this Friday, Sept. 5 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in Kinesiology room 202. Anyone is welcome to join as they honor Judd and her legacy at the university, as well as greet Sawyer as interim director.