Don Cook, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Emeritus, To Be Inducted Into Hartford Hall Of Fame

Executive Director of Athletics Don Cook
Executive Director of Athletics Don Cook

C. Donald Cook, Sacred Heart University Executive Director of Athletics Emeritus, will be presented the Pioneer Award, for program influence, as a member of the University of Hartford Athletics 2014 Hall of Fame Class, May, 10th.

Cook spent 21 years as the Director of Athletics at Sacred Heart, after six years in the same position at Hartford.  He led both programs through their evolution from Division II to Division I athletics.

Here is the official release from the University of Hartford.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Current NBA Executive Vice President Kathy Behrens ‘85, and long-time State athletics administrator C. Donald Cook, will be among nine to be recognized at the 2014 Alumni Athletics Hall of Fame Dinner to be held at the 1877 Club on campus May 10. 

Behrens will receive the Vincent Brown Coffin Award (professional achievement by a former student-athlete) and Cook will receive the Pioneer Award (program influence).  Joining them as inductees will be former women’s soccer coach Austin Daniels (1989-95), women’s soccer player Dr. Katharina Lindner ’03, men’s soccer player Jason Marlovits ’97, women’s basketball player Erika Messam ’06, men’s golfer John Parsons ’88, and men’s track competitor Chris Spivey ’07Tom and Suzy Reich, long-time supporters and donors to athletics, are also among the Class of 2014.  They were recognized with the A. Peter LoMaglio Award (for service) at an event in January.  


A native of the Bronx, N.Y., Kathy Behrens ’85 played tennis and basketball for the University of Hartford, and served as Student Government President.  She is Executive Vice President for Social Responsibility and Player Programs at the NBA.  In that role, she oversees a group that manages all of the NBA’s programs that coordinate league and player social responsibility efforts, support player growth and development, and enhance the marketing opportunities for current and former players.  Her initiative, NBA Cares, is an award-winning public service program.  Prior to joining the NBA in 2000, Kathy had a great deal of success as a fundraiser in New York, and in politics within the administration of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo.  She currently serves in a leadership role on a number of governing or advisory boards including the University of Hartford Board of Regents, and as a trustee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  Kathy has won numerous awards for her commitment to community service, diversity and leadership in sports.  She currently resides with her husband and twins (boy and girl), in Irvington, N.Y.


Don Cook, who recently retired as Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Sacred Heart University, has spent 51 years in college athletics in the Nutmeg State - as an administrator, coach and student-athlete.  He has gained a reputation as a developer of Division I athletics programs, first at Fairfield University (where he was the AD, the baseball coach and a student-athlete), then at the University of Hartford, and later at Sacred Heart University.  As its Athletics Director from 1986-92, he guided Hartford in its transition from Division II to Division I.  In those formative and dynamic years, Don oversaw the building of an $11 million athletics complex and the development of 18 sport programs.  Over the years, he has held many leadership roles within the NCAA and other governing organizations, and has received a bounty of accolades.  His greatest accomplishment is his two children, Chris Cook and Dr. Courtney Stephenson.  He also has three grandchildren, and is engaged to Deborah McAuley.  A native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., Don currently resides in Black Rock, Conn.


Former Women’s Soccer Coach Austin Daniels is one of the most successful coaches in the history of University of Hartford athletics.  In seven seasons, Austin’s teams put together a 103-35-6 record and made six NCAA tournament appearances.  Included was a berth in the national semifinals in 1992 as the Hawks posted a 19-2 record.  He recruited and groomed seven All-Americans and was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Coach-of-the-Year in 1989.  A native of Hartford, Austin is currently the Technical Director for the Arizona Youth Soccer Association in Phoenix, Ariz. 


Women’s soccer player Dr. Katharina Lindner ’03 was a shining example of student and athlete.  She was a play-making All-American midfielder and three-time captain on the pitch for the Hawks, and posted a perfect 4.0 GPA as a double major in Communications and Psychology.  Kat is eighth all-time (26-30-82) among Hartford’s leading scorers.  Her assists are third all-time, and her 87 career starts and games played are tied for the career lead.  In addition to her nod as a NSCAA First Team All-American in 2000, Kat was named the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American of the Year in 2002, a COSIDA Academic All-American in 2001 and 2002 and the America East Conference Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year in 2002.  The Hawks reached the NCAA tournament three times during her stay.  Kat, originally from Kleinostheim, Germany , is a Professor of Media Studies at the University of Stirling in Scotland.


A defender and two-year captain on the men’s soccer team, Jason Marlovits ’97, is one of seven All-Americans in the program’s history having been an NSCAA Third-Team selection in 1996.  He also earned All-New England honors that year and was twice selected to the America East Conference First Team (1995, 1996).  Under Jason’s leadership, Hartford reached the NCAA tournament final eight in 1996 with a 17-6-1 record.  Other accolades he earned at Hartford include America East Conference Academic Honor Roll (1996), Conference All-Championship Team (1994) and Umbro Select College All-Star.  A native of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Jason currently resides in Glastonbury with his wife Megan 96, also an alumnus, and their three children.  He is a Fund Accounting and Operations Manager at SS&C GlobeOp.


Women’s basketball player Erika Messam ’06 is one of only two players in the program’s history to be named the America East Conference Player-of-the-Year.  She was a three-time All-Conference performer including a First Team honoree as a senior.  Erika scored 1,160 career points, 11th all-time, while averaging 10.5 PPG, and is among Hartford’s career leaders in numerous categories including assists (346, fourth), steals (190, fourth) and games started (106, fourth).  She helped Hartford to two NCAA Tournament berths and America East Tournament championships (2005, 2006).  Erika currently resides in her native town of Pemberton, N.J.


Men’s golfer John Parsons ’88 was twice named (1984, 1986) a Golf Association of America Honorable Mention ALL-American and a four-time All-Region Honoree.  His career 76.05 stroke average is eighth all-time in the program’s history, and he earned medalist honors in 10 tournaments during his career.  lHartford reached the NCAA Tournament in three of his four years.  He is a sales professional in the golf industry and lives in Port St. Lucie, Fla. with his wife, Elia.  John is a native of Avon, Conn.


Tom and Suzy Reich have been friends, donors and engaged leaders of the University the past three decades.  Their lead gift to the Home Field Advantage Campaign resulted in renovated and newly-constructed athletics fields in 2007.  Tom and Suzy’s philanthropy has impacted all programs, including the initiation of several “challenge” campaigns and the Reich Scholarship Fund program which has directly impacted 45 student-athletes as of 2013-14.  Tom has been a member of the Board of Regents, and is founding chairman of both the Board of Regents Athletics Committee and the Athletics Council.  The Reich Family Pavilion is named in their honor.


Chris Spivey ’06 was a standout track performer who holds four school records.  He owns the top Indoor spot for the 55 meters (6.40), 60 meters (7.03) and 200 meters (21.82).  Chris also holds the outdoor school record for the 100 meters (10.78).  He was named All-America East Conference in 2005, and was the Conference’s Sportsmanship Award Winner.  A native of Hyde Park, Mass., Chris currently resides in Knightdale, N.C. where he is an IT analyst for Wake Technical Community College