|Title:||Murray H. Goodman Dean of Athletics|
Joe Sterrett is in his 24th year as Director of Athletics at Lehigh, and his eighth year as the Murray H. Goodman Dean of Athletics. Sterrett, who started at Lehigh in 1976, brings a wealth of experience to his current position as he begins his 37th year of service at the university. He is just the seventh athletics director in school history. Sterrett has held several positions on South Mountain including assistant football coach, director of student recruitment, and assistant vice president for enrollment management.
Through his experiences at Lehigh as an undergraduate student-athlete, coach, university administrator and director of athletics, Sterrett has helped to develop the Lehigh athletics department into a group of highly skilled and caring professionals whose common vision and exemplary work ethic aspires to make every student-athlete’s experience a positive one. Focused improvements in number of areas have contributed to the progress made in achieving Lehigh’s Athletics goals.
In an effort to affirm the importance of understanding the concerns and challenges of the Lehigh student-athlete, Sterrett established the Lehigh Student-Athlete Council and the Faculty Athletics Council. Each group meets regularly throughout the year. Sterrett, who also teaches classes at Lehigh during the academic year, takes an active role in each council. To promote the value of service to others, the award-winning community outreach program, "C.O.A.C.H.," was founded. To honor the storied history of Lehigh Athletics the Roger S. Penske/Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame was established. Lehigh student-athletes regularly rank nationally among the top division one institutions in graduation success rates and NCAA academic progress and success rates. Additionally, Lehigh is among the nation’s leaders in measures of equity commitment across all sports and for all student-athletes. More recently, Lehigh’s athletics program has expanded a long time commitment to leadership development to include a structured leadership program for student-athletes. In addition, Lehigh’s scholar-athletes train and compete in outstanding facilities, the majority of which have been built or renovated during Sterrett’s tenure. Lehigh teams and individuals regularly earn national distinction in top 25 polls and as All-Americans, Academic All-Americans, and national champions. The talented coaching and administrative staff has been recognized with numerous "Coach of the Year" and "Distinguished Service" awards, and eight athletics department coaches or staff members hold endowed chairs.
Sterrett received his bachelor’s degree from Lehigh in 1976, majoring in finance and social psychology. As an undergraduate he earned All-America status as a senior quarterback and played on two Lambert Cup Championship teams. He was the recipient of the prestigious Undergraduate Merit Award in 1976, the Alfred P. Robinson Award in 1986, the University Award for Distinguished Service in 1998, the Paul J. Franz Award in 1999, and the Hillman Staff Award in 2004.
Sterrett earned his masters degree in educational administration from Lehigh while serving as a graduate assistant football coach. Throughout his tenure as a full-time assistant football coach, Sterrett pursued the doctor of education degree concentrating in sports administration at Temple University, and received the degree in January of 1984. During the period of his seven year coaching career as part of John Whitehead’s staff, Lehigh’s football program won 57 games, made three NCAA playoff appearances, finished as the national runner-up once, and won the National Championship in 1977.
Sterrett has been one of the University’s key representatives in the Patriot League, where he served as chairman of the policy committee, chairman of the committee on athletics administration, a member of the league’s committee for expansion, and as a member of the search committee for the league’s executive director. On a broader level, he served as chair the NCAA Division I-AA Football Committee, and as a member of the NCAA Football Issues Committee, the NCAA Football Academic Working Group, and the NCAA Division I Management Council.
Sterrett and his wife Cindy, Lehigh '76, reside in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, and have four children: Stephanie, Lehigh ‘03, Scott, Lehigh ‘05, Julie, Lehigh '07, and Christie, Lehigh ’09, as well as two grandsons, Ethan (Lehigh '32) and Luke (Lehigh '34) Sterrett, a granddaughter, Brooke (Lehigh '34) Baker, a son-in-law, Jim Baker, and daughter-in-law, Kelly Sterrett.