As the 2018-2019 school year begins, Hockaday welcomes new Athletic Director Deb Surgi to the community. Deb joins the School after serving as the Director of Athletics at The Baldwin School, a PK-12 all-girls' independent school in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, bringing more than 35 years of teaching and coaching experience. Her in-depth experience leading athletic staffs and serving as a member of administrative teams at independent schools will serve the students, parents, and coaches well and will foster a unified athletic community.
With a distinguished background in athletics and education, Deb started her career at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans, an all-girls' PK-12 independent school, where she coached varsity volleyball and taught health. Deb was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2015, and again in 2018 with her 1991 State Title Team and the New Orleans Prep Hall of Fame in 2013. Additionally, she was named District Coach of the Year five times, Times Picayune All-Metro Coach of the Year three times, Louisiana High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year three times, Louisiana Volleyball Coaches Association Coach of the Year three times, Louisiana Sportswriters Coach of the Year and an East All-Star Coach. She led the Sacred Heart Cardinals to three state titles, one state semi-final and five straight district titles. Her high school coaching record was 204 - 49 and a .806 winning percentage. In 2006, she was named one of 200 Most Influential New Orleanians in Sports. Deb also began Loyola University's first women's collegiate volleyball team and recruitment program from 1994 - 1996. The two-year record of 28-27 included two tournament titles.
In 1996, Deb moved from New Orleans to direct the athletic program at Moorestown Friends School, becoming the first female athletic director in Burlington County, New Jersey. During her tenure, seven new sports and 14 new teams were added, and she served on the project team for a new Arts and Athletic Field House. At Baldwin, Deb was a member of the senior administrative team and responsible for the interscholastic athletic and physical education program. She worked actively as a member of their project team to raise $25 million for their athletic complex and founded Baldwin's Blue Gray Parent Club. Through her collaboration across the school, she worked to develop a ten-year athletic strategic plan utilizing the input of all constituencies and developed goals to support program sustainability. At Baldwin, she had responsibility for the physical education staff and 67 coaching positions. Additionally, she coached their varsity volleyball team, whose two year record of 20 - 12 included one tournament title and two consecutive playoff trips. During her time there, she received Baldwin's Award for Exemplary Service in 2018.
Deb has coached many championship athletes including All District, All State, State MVPs, All Academic, Scholarship Athletes and two All Americans. Her athletes assumed teaching and coaching careers at lower school, high school and college levels as well as in the corporate world. Deb was in the first class of Title IX collegiate scholarship athletes playing basketball and volleyball at the University of New Orleans. At the collegiate level she was a member of the United States Volleyball Association (USVBA) Delta Regional Championship Team (1972 - 1982). In addition, she played at the national level for both the AAU and USVBA Nationals at the University of Texas in Arlington. She was named a Sugar Bowl Athlete in 1981, and graduated with the highest hitting (spiking) percentage in the team's history in addition to being named All Conference in Louisiana. She has served as a guest lecturer at Temple University's Graduate School of Sports Administration and was invited to join Drexel University's adjunct faculty in the Master's Program in Sports Administration.
Deb graduated from the University of New Orleans with a BS in Health and Physical Education and an MEd in Health and Counseling. She earned a Master's Certificate in Business Management from Tulane University's Freeman School of Business and completed her Athletic Administrators Certification (CAA) from the National Association of Athletic Administrators.
In reflecting on her philosophy about all-girls athletics, Deb believes, "Athletics is a rich learning field and mimics many of our societal structures, and therefore provides opportunities for young women to be tested with a myriad of challenges; handling failure, working with a diverse group of people, facing personal weakness and strengths, experiencing the importance of teamwork, humility, self-discipline, and focus. It is our goal to not only provide a wide variety of athletic experiences, but to help each young woman and each team to have the opportunities to reach a high level of success in terms of progress and winning."