Gavilan College mourns the loss of longtime athletic director Susan Dodd
GILROY - With profound sadness, we share the passing of our beloved Susan Dodd. Susan's dedication to Gavilan College and its students spanned almost five decades, leaving a permanent mark on our institution and the lives of countless individuals.
Susan joined Gavilan in 1976, pioneering the path for women's sports at a pivotal moment in Title IX history. Her leadership as coach and Athletic Director, serving three separate terms, paved the way for generations of female athletes and inspired countless young women to pursue their dreams.
Beyond being a visionary leader, Susan wore many hats, coaching tennis, volleyball, basketball, softball, and football. She served as the Department Chair for Kinesiology and Athletics for 19 years. Leaving a legacy through curriculum development, state compliance efforts, and creating programs like the Personal Trainer Certification and the AA-T Kinesiology degree.
Her passion extended beyond the classroom, as evidenced by her role in securing a national grant to renovate our tennis courts, which, later in 2013, were named the "Susan Dodd Tennis Complex." Her commitment to Gavilan continued after her retirement, with her kind donation for our new pedestrian bridge, named in her honor as the "Susan Dodd Crossing" in 2022.
Other notable recognitions:
- 2012 Gavilan College Employee of the Month (August)
- 2007 SCOPE General Physical Educator of the Year
- 2006-07 Gavilan College Full-time Faculty of the Year
- 1997-98 Gavilan College Full-time Faculty of the Year
- 1997 Courageous Leader Award (selected by Gavilan Board)
- 1986 Women of Achievement Award (selected by Santa Clara County)
Returning to Gavilan in 2021 as interim Athletic Director, she seamlessly transitioned the role to Jamie Adams, remaining a dedicated mentor and supporter. Her passion for Gavilan College continued through her volunteer work at games and her recent generous donation of $120,000 to our athletics department.
Susan Dodd will be inducted into the California Community College Athletic Association's Hall of Fame this March. The Sports Hall of Fame recognizes those who have made the most of their experiences as California community college student-athletes, coaches, and administrators. It is the highest honor in California community college athletics.
Susan's legacy is woven into the very fabric of Gavilan College, embodied in the empowered women athletes, the thriving academic programs, and the spirit of community she fostered. We remember her not only for her accomplishments but also for her kindness, compassion, and firm belief in the potential of every student.
Our hearts go out to her family and friends during this difficult time. We will continue to honor her memory by upholding the values she championed and striving to embody the spirit of excellence and dedication she instilled in our college.
(Gavilan College Athletics)