Q&A With Marquette Lacrosse Supporter Dave Sullivan ('86)
Feb. 24, 2011
David J. Sullivan, III ('86) is First Vice President at UBS Financial Services and currently lives in Connecticut with his wife, Gioia Riccio, M.D., and two children, Timothy and Francesca. He is a graduate of the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communications and helped start the first men's club lacrosse team at Marquette University.
Today, Dave remains a pioneer for the sport. The Sullivan-Riccio Family Endowed Lacrosse Scholarship Fund is the first of its kind, recently established to provide scholarship support to the newly added men's and women's varsity lacrosse programs at Marquette.
Q. What was the process for starting the first-ever club lacrosse team at Marquette?
A. "There were some students who were playing with a local club team back in the early to mid-1980s, and when the number of Marquette students got to be significant, it was decided that a separate team could be formed via the club sports route.
Our first coach, Ken Noble, had been a member of a national semifinal team at Saint Lawrence University in New York and found us quite by accident. He was riding his bicycle past campus and saw us practicing, and probably decided that we needed some guidance."
Q. What is the value of participating in athletics while going to college and how do team sports positively influence an individual?
A. "I believe that being part of a team gives an individual invaluable experience that will allow them to succeed in the challenges that life will present. Leadership, commitment to teammates, dealing with adverse situations or success, and growth as an individual are not exclusive to collegiate sports. They are life lessons, to be reviewed daily."
Q. Do you have a favorite memory from your years at Marquette?
A. "A couple stand out. First, we couldn't readily obtain lacrosse equipment in Milwaukee back in the mid 1980's, so we had to drive down to Chicago or have it shipped from a distributor.
"Second, there were very few qualified lacrosse referees in Wisconsin back then, so we always had to hope they'd show up, and we usually knew them well enough to know how they'd call a game. My personal favorite occurred after a game where I sustained a hip injury. I went over to Mt Sinai Hospital after the game to be examined.
"The first three or four medical personnel that looked at me asked me to explain to them what activity I was participating in that I would sustain the injury. They each were quite puzzled. Finally, an attending physician examined me and out of habit I started to explain the game of lacrosse to him. He stopped me immediately, telling me he had interned at (nine-time NCAA lacrosse champion) Johns Hopkins University Hospital and understood fully!"
Q. What was your reaction when you learned Marquette was adding men's and women's lacrosse to its varsity sports offerings?
A. "I was thrilled to hear that the sport would be offered at the varsity level. There is a window of opportunity for Marquette to establish itself as a top-flight program in the Upper Midwest ahead of other peer institutions.
"The growth at the youth and scholastic level has been significant, both nationally and regionally. But that hasn't translated into many colleges and universities picking up the game at the Division I level for numerous reasons. So I'm very excited to see Marquette get out ahead of other schools in adopting lacrosse."
Q. Why should Marquette fans be excited for BIG EAST men's and women's lacrosse coming to campus?
A. "I can't believe how fortunate Marquette is to be able to start Division I varsity lacrosse for both men and women within a BIG EAST schedule! Some of the premier programs in the nation will be on both teams' schedules from the start, and will bring marquee coaches and student-athletes to Milwaukee to compete against Marquette.
"Many Division I programs would be very envious to schedule Syracuse, Rutgers, Notre Dame and Georgetown each year. There will be challenges along the way to be certain, but I'm very impressed with Marquette's commitment to excellence. Fans can expect a fast paced game of skill and power, making it a great spring-time spectator sport."
Q. Why did your family choose to endow a Blue & Gold Athletic Scholarship for lacrosse at this time?
A. "Both my wife and I have been very impressed with the depth and breadth of the people and mission of Marquette. We started an academic scholarship several years ago, and when the announcement was made that Marquette was adding Division I lacrosse, we both felt that we wanted to be part of it in a meaningful way right from the start.
"A scholarship that can fund men's or women's lacrosse seemed like a natural extension of our participation and support of the University's mission."
Q. How would you encourage other folks -- especially passionate alumni such as yourself -- to actively support Marquette lacrosse?
A. "First, I'd ask them to consider supporting the Blue and Gold Fund. Marquette's ability to fully fund their allotment of athletic scholarships allows the school to be competitive in fielding teams of high quality student-athletes.
"Second, they should consider endowing a scholarship or coaching position to ensure the long-term viability and competitiveness of our program.
"Third, I'd ask people who are passionate about lacrosse to consider contributing towards building out our facilities so that our student-athletes have every competitive advantage possible.
"And lastly, get out and attend the games with your family and friends!"
Q. Do you plan to come back to campus to attend a Marquette lacrosse game in Spring of 2012?
A. "I have already made plans with former lacrosse alumni to attend the first home game, and I plan on taking my family to see both the men's and women's team playing here in the Northeast against BIG EAST Conference opponents."
1986 Marquette University Men's Club Lacrosse Team