Cheryl Bailey

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A native of Jamestown, Cheryl Bailey ran track, as a member of the boys team, at Southwestern High School, and then at Slippery Rock University, where she was part of The Rock’s record setting relay team. Bailey graduated from Slippery Rock in 1977 and went on to earn her master’s degree from Ohio State in 1983.

While working on her master’s degree, Bailey joined the athletic department at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. She served as the coach of the women’s track & field team from 1981 until 1988, and in 1983 she was named women’s athletic director, a position she held from 1983-1990, overseeing 12 women’s varsity athletic programs. She also served as the first head women’s soccer coach, and compiled a career record of 86-52-12, leading the Big Red to a North Coast Athletic Conference Championship in 1984. She was a three-time NCAC Coach of the Year and in addition to starting the program at Denison, her squad was also the first women’s collegiate varsity program in the state of Ohio.

Bailey left Denison in 1990 to become the Senior Associate Athletic Director for the University of Wisconsin, a position she held until 2005. She led the Wisconsin athletic department to gender equity compliance and in 2004 she was appointed as the chair of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee.

Following her tenure at Wisconsin, she returned to the pitch, and was named the General Manager of the United States Women’s Soccer National Team. Under her leadership from 2007-2011, the United States won gold at the 2008 Olympics and took silver at the 2011 World Cup and bronze at the 2007 World Cup.

She was the founding executive director of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) from 2012-15, and as a national leader in soccer, she gave soccer clinics on the White House lawn for First Lady Michelle Obama.

Cheryl Bailey was inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame and the Section VI NYS Public High School Hall of Fame in 2019, the Denison University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020, and into the University of Wisconsin Hall of Fame in 2022.