New Faculty Athletic Representative Begins New Challenge
SPOKANE, Wash. - With classes recently starting on the Gonzaga University campus, Dr. Peggy Sue (Lorang) Loroz may at times feel like a freshman again as she navigates her way into her new role as Faculty Athletic Representative to the NCAA and West Coast Conference for Gonzaga.
Loroz was appointed to the position this fall by university President Thayne McCulloh after Dr. Ken Anderson stepped down in June after 15 years in the post. The FAR works as a liaison between the university administration and the athletic department in keeping abreast of legislation regarding compliance, academics and student-athlete welfare as it pertains to the NCAA and WCC.
"I think I'm still learning what the role is. It seems to me the FAR has a number of responsibilities," Loroz said as she delved into her new position. "Partly it is to bring an academic perspective to the conversation that may not otherwise be present. An additional role is to be another person outside of athletics who tries to ensure the well-being of student-athletes, making sure their interests are protected and they are given all the pieces they need to succeed academically. Our student-athletes have to juggle an amazing number of things and have many demands on their time. The FAR has that academic purpose in mind and can serve as a liaison between student-athletes and faculty members. The FAR works to keep the conversations flowing across campus, and that benefits both students and faculty."
McCulloh has the utmost confidence in Loroz.
"I am very pleased Dr. Loroz has accepted the appointment as Gonzaga's Faculty Athletic Representative. Her thirteen years as a member of faculty in the School of Business, coupled with her background as a former student-athlete and member of the Bulldogs' women's rowing team at Gonzaga, give her a well-rounded perspective in helping maintain and grow Gonzaga's athletics mission as we move ahead," McCulloh said. "I look forward to collaborating with her as we continue to chart Gonzaga's course in the ever-changing environment of intercollegiate athletics."
Gonzaga director of athletic Mike Roth also welcomed the appointment of Loroz.
"I think she has a good vision of the delicate balancing act between academics and athletics," Roth said. "She has the background as a former student-athlete and the academic reputation that will serve her well in her role. I couldn't be more excited to have the opportunity to work with her as Gonzaga athletics continues to expand its academic and athletic tradition."
McCulloh and Roth also credited Anderson with moving Gonzaga forward during his tenure, which included a nine-year stint as president of the WCC from 2001-10.
"I also want to thank Dr. Ken Anderson for his 15 years of service in the role of Faculty Athletic Representative. His active leadership and participation during a time of great change was instrumental in the development of an intercollegiate athletics program of which Gonzaga is justifiably proud," McCulloh said.
Roth also applauded Anderson for his service.
"I am appreciative for what Ken did to help shape the landscape of Gonzaga athletics on a local, regional and national scale," Roth said. "He also provided exceptional guidance to help the WCC assert its role as a top-notch conference."
Loroz, a professor of marketing in the School of Business, is a graduate of Gonzaga's School of Business, having earned her B.B.A. in marketing and international business with a minor in Spanish in 1995, and her Ph.D. in marketing with a second field in social psychology from the University of Colorado in 2000.
While a student, she was a member of the Gonzaga women's rowing team and has had a long-time interest in Bulldog athletics.
"As an alumna of the school and as a former student-athlete, I've always been interested in Gonzaga and Gonzaga athletics," she said. "The FAR opening seemed like a good fit for me; I've been promoted to full professor, I'm interested in the business of sport and I'm a former student-athlete. It all coalesced at one time to present a really great opportunity for the next phase of my career. It's a terrific combination of my academic interests and university experiences."
Is she at times overwhelmed by the "WOW" factor of how far intercollegiate athletics have come at Gonzaga?
"Completely. Who wouldn't say 'Wow!"? she retorted.
But life was a little different when she was a member of the rowing team.
"When I was competing we were still traveling on the crew bus and sleeping on the gym floor at Jesuit High in Portland. It was a much different thing. We envied the baseball team because they got to take a chartered bus and stay at a hotel," she recalled. "Everything was at a different level. We even had to pay crew dues to participate. But from my freshman year to my senior year things changed a lot. We officially became a varsity sport as opposed to a club sport. In that transition we obviously had more resources at our disposal. We actually bought a brand new boat!"
Loroz has always considered herself an athletic person and readily admits basketball has always been her love. But it wasn't to be as a child growing up on a ranch outside of Great Falls, Mont.
"I've always been an athletic person and interested in athletics. I really love basketball, but my parents didn't allow me play when I was younger. By the time they said it was okay, I was a freshman in high school, and it was too late to start playing," she explained. "So I did sports like running and track that you don't have to have started when you were in third grade in order to succeed."
When she was introduced to rowing she immediately fell in love with the sport.
"When I got to campus I saw a poster that said something like 'Interested in college athletics? Come to the information night,' and I was astounded there was a sport I could start at age 18. I went to the information night, saw the video, heard what the coaches had to say and I was hooked," she recounted.
She felt compelled to try crew, even though there were several obstacles in her way. "I'm not very tall, and I don't swim well, so I tried to not let my coaches know I couldn't swim. It was crazy. I was taking the maximum number of credits, and my class schedule didn't even fit with the practice time. But I had to do it."
Loroz, who is married to husband Mike and has three children, Marie (8), Beth (5), and Luke (2), also recalled her latest experience with rowing.
"I rowed a little bit at Colorado during graduate school and occasionally here and there. I hadn't been to an alumni weekend in about 10 years, so I came back last year with a friend of mine, another former rower. We decided we should participate in the alumni boat in the class day race, so Glenn (head coach Putyrae) threw us in with a bunch of recent grads."
The worst, for Loroz, was yet to come.
"I thought I was going to die. We were rowing at about a 40 stroke rate. It was everything I could do to keep up and not crab out (catch an oar in the water which sometimes ejects a rower from the boat). When I got back to land, I went behind the boathouse and threw up. It was just amazing to be reminded of the shape we used to be in. We are under the delusion that we're still pretty fit!" said the former Bulldog rower who sat in the bow seat some 17 years ago.
The enthusiasm she had when she saw that rowing poster on campus has carried over into her role as FAR.
"I'm looking forward to the new experience, getting to know everyone and doing what I can to help Gonzaga athletes win, in the classroom and on the playing field," she said.
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