AMHERST, N.Y. —  There is a new woman in charge of Daemen College athletics.

Traci Muprhy was named the school's athletic director Monday morning.

Muprhy is no stranger to Western New York. She's spent the past 13 years in the athletic department at Canisius College as associated athletic director.  She's a former athletic trainer and college swimmer, bringing a competitive edge to her new role at Daemen, the only NCAA Division II school in the Buffalo area. 

"Daemen offers something that's a little untapped in the area," she said. "We do offer scholarships and I don't want that to get lost. We do offer students opportunities to compete for those scholarships."

Since Daemen became a NCAA Division II program in 2015, all three of their athletic directors have been women.  That's a fact the college is proud of, given less than 20 percent of NCAA D-2 schools around the country have women running their sports departments according to NCAA data.

"We're not going to hold people back because of their gender. We're going to give everybody a chance to excel," said Gary Olson, Daemen College president.

"It's very important for all women to understand that if you work really hard and you want to do something, you can do it.  I'm proof of that," Murphy said.



Among her incoming priorities are taking a closer look at needs of student athletes, including the athletic department's facilities. She'll explore the possibility of adding men's and women's lacrosse, a sport that's grown in popularity locally and across the nation. Participation was up more than 225 percent from 2001 to 2016 according to USA Lacrosse.

"This area is packed with very talented lacrosse players," she said. "I would love to get them here. Right here in their backyard playing so that everybody can see."

Murphy also emphasized students find a balance between hitting the field and hitting the books and bringing in more high-quality athletes who want to do both.

"I love to win. As part of the student-athlete experience, winning is fun. And winning is contagious," she said.

Daemen has more than 200 athletes participating on nine women's and seven men's teams.