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‘Mom’ of Webster Athletics reflects on growth of students, department
In her 18 years with Webster University Athletics, Sue McClintock has witnessed both her department and its students mature. Head golf coach Andrew Belsky said he is at Webster today because of McClintock.
“As we all grow up, there are things that you do and don’t do that you have to learn from. And she was one of those steadying influences in my life to learn from both the good and the bad decisions I was making along the way. I owe her a lot,” Belsky said.
McClintock was one of four individuals inducted into the Webster Athletics Hall of Fame (HOF) on Saturday, Feb. 8.
McClintock’s relationship with the athletics department began in 1988 when she was hired as a secretary. Student employees in the department reported to her, she answered coaches’ questions and even wore the Gorlok mascot costume a few times. McClintock retired from her role in 2005.
During a celebration for HOF inductees on Feb. 8, Belsky shared his first memory of McClintock — a story McClintock denied with a chuckle after Belsky told it.
“She was the first person you met when you came into the office,” Belsky said during the celebration. “When (my parents and I) came in, the first thing that she said to us as I was getting ready to be a work-study: ‘I’m not the kids’ parents. I’ve already raised my own and I’m not doing it again.’ Well, for many of us she was like another mother.”
McClintock said she not only saw students mature over the years, but she also watched the athletics department grow.
When she started, McClintock said the athletics department was housed in a small building where the campus apartments now stand. Later, the department moved to the University Center (UC) after it was built. She also watched as new sports and programs were added to the department.
When McClintock started at Webster, the women’s basketball team had never won a game.
“It was fun to see the teams grow and the kids win and do well,” McClintock said.
In 1985, the university joined the NCAA as a Division III school. In 1990, the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) started, with Webster as a charter member.
She traveled with the women’s softball team to its first NCAA tournament.
“You see what it’s like on the road for a team,” McClintock said.
Home games, McClintock said, were hard on the coaches during her first years at Webster. The teams shared gym space with Webster Groves High School.
“It was always a pain being behind somebody else when scheduling. That’s hard for the coaches,” McClintock said.
After the UC’s construction, the basketball team no longer had to use the high school’s space.
McClintock worked with four different athletic directors in her time at Webster, the most recent being Tom Hart. Hart left Webster in spring 2013 to serve as the athletic director at Berry College after 22 years with Webster.
McClintock said she enjoyed her time at Webster and became close with the students she worked with.
“I loved being with the kids and I loved sports,” McClintock said. “The best thing about the job was seeing the kids and their success.”