Women’s basketball coach Coquese Washington was selected by the Penn State Board of Trustees to serve on the Presidential Search and Screen Committee.
The committee will search for a new university president to replace current university President Rodney Erickson, who announced he plans to retire no later than June 30, 2014.
“It is quite humbling. It is a huge responsibility to be a part of the committee that is going to help shape the direction of the entire university for the coming year,” Washington said. “I was very humbled, but I take the responsibility seriously and I look forward to working with the committee and helping to find the next president that is going to have a big impact on Penn State University.”
Washington earned a degree in history and a law degree from Notre Dame where she played basketball and has served on a players negation committee for the WNBA.
Although Washington admits that she is not familiar with all of the responsibilities of the university president, she said that meeting with the committee will help determine what qualities the new president will need to have. Washington said that this is a very serious decision and there will be lots of thought placed into it. She also said she feels good that she is not on the committee that makes the final decision.
With the ongoing debate over whether or not the new president should have Penn State ties, Washington said she thinks that someone outside of the Penn State community will broaden perspective.
“I think that same thing can happen in the athletic department when you bring people from outside who maybe haven’t grown up in the Penn State family,” Washington said. “But certainly who can respect it, who can embrace it, who can learn to love it as I have and want the best for it as a Penn Stater would.”
According to her GoPSUSports.com biography, Washington has served as the founding president of WNBA Players Association as well as the Executive Vice President of the players association. Washington led negotiations for the association’s first collective bargaining agreement as the association’s president, and the executive vice president was a mainstay in the negotiations for the league’s second collective bargaining agreement, which brought about the first free agency system in women’s professional sports.
Her extensive background perhaps put her in position to serve as the representative from the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics on the committee. It consists of nine faculty members, including one staff member, two academic deans, one vice president, two undergraduate students, one graduate student and one representative from both the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Alumni Association.
“I do think looking at the committee there was certainly an intentional plan to get people from various parts of the university committee to weigh in on this; athletics, student, staff, faculty and administration,” Washington said. “I think there was just an intentional focus on having a broad-based committee and I guess my athletic perspective may be helpful in doing this search.”