Bryn Mawr's Tina Steck knew what she wanted to be at an early age. It was because of one person, Mercy High School¿s Mary Ella Marion, who is regarded as one of the area¿s most respected athletic directors.
Bryn Mawr's Tina Steck knew what she wanted to be at an early age because of one person, Mercy High School's Mary Ella Marion, who is regarded as one of the area's most respected athletic directors.
"I think I had a great role model in Mary Ella," said Steck, who played soccer, basketball and lacrosse at Mercy. "I was fortunate to have played basketball for her for four years."
Steck's goal started to take shape in 2012 when she became assistant athletic director at Bryn Mawr. She has held the position the last three years while coaching the Mawrtians' varsity soccer team.
Now, Steck, 36, is beginning the year as the school's interim athletic director after the departure of Wendy Kridel in June.
Kridel left to become national director for Tenacity 10 in California, a company that runs girls lacrosse camps across the country. She was Bryn Mawr's athletic director for a decade and served as girls lacrosse coach for 18 years.
"I had the best mentor I could have asked for," Steck said of Kridel. "It's not that she has gone anywhere. I have already called her several times. It's a great steppingstone going from assistant athletic director to interim athletic director. It's a good transition to the world I want to be in. This is a position I want permanently."
Maureen Walsh, Bryn Mawr's headmistress, said Steck definitely will be considered for position when the time comes.
"I would certainly expect and hope that she will be an active and important candidate for the full-time job," Walsh said. "It's such a major position at Bryn Mawr and it was later in the spring when Wendy left. I wanted to give myself the opportunity to think about it some more. With Wendy's departure, it really gives us an opportunity to think about what we really want."
When it comes to coaching, Walsh said Steck has been helpful to her. Walsh is Bryn Mawr's assistant ice hockey coach.
"Tina has been a great help to me with issues with the kids on my team," Walsh said. "It's always hard when you coach a sport that's off campus. I take my direction from Tina. I need her to help me do a better job coaching. She is a terrific coach. She is a role model for me."
Steck has run a captain's leadership program as assistant athletic director.
"We have a full curriculum built around athletic leadership and Tina has been implementing that curriculum very directly," Walsh said. "She is really devoted to developing individual students."
Steck said she is getting used to her new role, which she started July 1.
She will get some help from new assistant athletic director Jordy Kerr, a 2007 Bryn Mawr graduate who will start in August and take over as girls lacrosse coach after working as an assistant at Marquette University the past two seasons.
"I want to make sure the athletic department runs as well as Wendy had managed the program," Steck said. "There's no big sweeping changes for the year. It will be about evaluating."
Steck guided Bryn Mawr to three straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference soccer championships from 2009 to 2011. Before that, the former Towson University soccer goalie had a career that led to her induction into the school's athletic hall of game.
She also worked as assistant soccer coach at Towson, Delaware and Fairfield for six years.
Steck was obsessed with the World Cup and the U.S. women's triumph.
"I have been watching every single (U.S. women's) game and probably the majority of games for the entire World Cup," said Steck, who attended two women's World Cup games the last time they won the title, in 1999. "It's occupied a quite bit of my time.
"It reaches beyond soccer for girls with the exposure in the United States and around the world. It gives kids role models and it should continue to boost the numbers wanting to play the sport. There was a huge boom after we won the World Cup in 1999."