Franklin & Marshall President John Fry announced the appointment of Patricia S.W. Epps as the college's Director of Athletics and Recreation on August 10, 2007. She became the first woman in the College's history to hold this position.
"Patty has earned this opportunity through the many accomplishments that have marked her years of dedicated service to Franklin & Marshall," said College President John Fry. "She has also served with distinction on the Management Council of National Collegiate Athletics Association Division III, the body of athletic administrators that advises the President's Council on a wide range of issues important to Division III athletics."
Epps is responsible for managing the College's athletics and recreation program, which includes 27 intercollegiate sports - 13 for men and 14 for women. The college also sponsors 11 club sports, an intramural program and other recreational and wellness activities. More than 600 students participate in intercollegiate athletics each year, with another 250 club sport athletes, and 1,000 intramural participants.
"I am deeply honored by this appointment," said Epps. "My roots at Franklin & Marshall run deep and I believe that this is one of the finest institutions in the nation. I believe that we are positioned to become a model institution in Division III. My focus has been and always will be on the student-athletes - to provide them with opportunities to grow individually, and to prepare for endeavors beyond their four years at the College."
Epps has served in several capacities within the Athletics Department since 1978, and was appointed Senior Associate Director of Athletics in 2004.
Epps has led F&M to become one of the top intercollegiate programs in the country. Under her leadership, 138 student-athletes were named All-Americans, 37 teams won conference championships, with 51 NCAA Tournament Berths and eight teams advancing to the final four. The women's lacrosse program won both the 2007 and 2009 National Championship.
The Diplomats have steadily risen in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings since her appointment as Director of Athletics and Recreation, finishing in the top-65 out of 450 Division III institutions in eight out of her 12 years at the helm and reaching as high as 47th in 2008-09.
Epps was instrumental in the construction and implementation of numerous capital facilities projects, including the raising of Tylus Field in 2007, and most recently being the resource development process for the $19 million Shadek Stadium (2018). Additional landmark enhancements to the athletic department during her time at the helm include the elevation of seven coaches to full-time status.
Under her leadership, the wrestling program became endowed in fall 2014 with a $5 million gift David H. Lehman '68. Her oversight of two significant projects transformed the Mayser Physical Education Center with the $2.1 million renovation of the facilities locker rooms in 2014 and the updating of the building's gymnasium in summer 2019 that included the installation of a modern telescoping bleacher system, two state-of-the-art scoreboards.
Funds raised for the Diplomat Athletic Club (DAC) have increased by nearly 400 percent, beginning with $147,000 raised in 2006-07 to a record year of $732,640 in 2017. During the 2018-19 academic year, DAC received a record involvement with 2,246 donors contributing to the fund.
She held several committee posts within the NCAA organization including serving on NCAA Management Council, advisor to the National Student Athletic Advisory Committee and the National Chair of the Division III Women's Tennis Committee.
As a coach, Epps led the tennis team to 11 conference championships in 30 years. The Diplomats also had 15 individual and seven teams selected to compete in the NCAA Division III championships. Two of Epps' tennis teams made Final Four appearances. Her 389 career victories are both a school record and Centennial Conference record.
She has been an active member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association and has served as chair of NCAA Division III Tennis. She was on the ITA Board of Directors, and she has also served as chair of the ITA Ranking Committee. Epps was honored three times as USPTA Middle States Coach of the Year and won the ITA East Region Coach of the Year twice.
In 2006, Epps was honored by the Lancaster Tennis Patrons Association with the Dick Green Award for her community service work with the Lancaster Tennis ACES program.
Epps also served as the College's women's squash coach for 22 years. Her 1989 team was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation. She was the president of the Intercollegiate Women's Squash Association for six years and was the first recipient of the College Squash Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. Women squash teams ranked 25th through 32nd compete for the Epps Cup every year in the CSA Team Championships.
A native of Lancaster, Epps was an active participant in athletics at J.P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster, from which she graduated as No. 1 in her class and received the Senior Outstanding Athlete Award. She was inducted into the McCaskey Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Lancaster Country Sports Hall of Fame the following year. Epps went on to attend Cornell University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in history. She also attended West Chester University for a teaching certification and graduate studies in health, physical education and coaching.
Epps and her husband Ron live in Lititz, and are the parents of a son, Ned.
All-Time List of F&M Athletic Directors
Charles W. Mayser, 1924 to 1946.
W. Austin Bishop, 1946 - 1949.
J. Shober Barr, 1949 - 1963
S. Woodrow Sponaugle, 1963 - 1967
W. Roy Phillips, 1967 - 1971
Dr. William A. Marshall, 1971 - 1998
Peter Van Buskirk, 1998-1999 (Interim)
Dr. Robert Bunnell, 1999 - 2004
Tim Downes, 2004-2007
Patricia S.W. Epps, 2007-present