The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame gave the 2012 Gerald R. Ford award to Western Michigan University’s Athletic Director at a luncheon this Friday.
Kathy Beauregard has been the athletic director at WMU for nearly 15 years. She was greeted by hundreds of her friends, family, co-workers, former athletes and coaches who paid $25 a plate to come congratulate her on the award.
The event’s keynote speaker was former Bronco football star-quarterback Tim Hiller. The theme of Hiller’s speech was “Kathy was there”, and he said that she was there at several key points in his football career and his life. Hiller said that her work with the student-athletes made her a worthwhile recipient.
“Tim Hiller was an outstanding leader, outstanding record-breaking football player… it is great to have him be a part of the program and I can’t think of a better way to spend it [than] with a lot of Broncos,” said Beauregard.
Former recipients of the award include Roger Penske, Dennis Archer and Mike and Marian Ilitch. Beauregard was able to meet the Ilitchs last year and says that it is an honor to receive the same award as two people that have meant so much to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and Michigan sports.
Ilitch employee and WMU alumnus, Dave Dombrowski, had a special video message congratulating Beauregard during the ceremony.
One of the coaches on hand was Billy Gernon, head coach for baseball.
“I detected a compassionate heart when I meet her. Even though [she’s] a very strong business women, I think she’s got some motherly instincts that come out of her,” said Gernon.
When Beauregard began her career as athletic director there were 136 universities with division-one football programs. She was one of only seven women to be an athletic director at these schools. Beauregard says that unfortunately the number of women with the job now has dropped to four. She says that women athletic directors at smaller universities and schools with only division-one basketball programs are increasing in number however.
“I am proud to be the director of athletics here and proud of the fact that I was the first woman to do it,” said Beauregard. “[I] certainly believe I can be an influence on our student athletes both male and female being a woman in this job.”