By Kate Blankinship
Rosalie Resch has spent 46 years at UChicago. She started in the classroom, on the fields, and on the courts. She was a pitcher in softball, a setter in volleyball, and played singles and doubles in badminton. Now she is the Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Budgeting and Finance, with this year marking her 42nd year working at the University.
Athletics have always been an integral part of Resch’s life. Describing herself as a tomboy, she could often be found playing kickball and five hundred in the streets as a child. In fifth grade, she received her first softball glove as gift for confirmation.
“My mother was quite appalled that that’s what I wanted for my confirmation gift,” Resch said.
While she played sports throughout childhood, she didn’t have the opportunity to join an organized athletics team for women—until she started as a student at UChicago in 1969. With the women’s athletics department newly up and running, Resch had the opportunity to play volleyball, badminton, and softball. She loved the challenge of playing sports during all seasons.
Off the fields and courts, Resch studied Russian language and literature. Despite her love of academics, the athletics department was where she found her home.
“As I stayed involved in sports, I realized how important sports were to my sanity as a student and what it meant to have coaches who really supported you emotionally and in every other way.”
It was this sentiment, along with encouragement from athletic administrator Mary Jean Mulvaney, that led Resch to a career in athletics. After college, Resch had the opportunity to work for the National Security Agency as a translator, but she chose to pursue a master’s degree in physical education instead. Mulvaney was the one who presented this path to Resch.
After earning her degree from Smith College, Resch returned to UChicago in 1975. What attracted her to UChicago was not only her own experience here as a student-athlete, but also the Division III model.
“I knew I wanted to be at a place that was selective. I wanted to work with bright students. I wanted to work with students who had a perspective on the value and the balance of academics and athletics.”
For the past 42 years she has done just that. From 1977 to 1997, Resch was the women’s volleyball coach. After 21 years, however, she decided to leave coaching to focus primarily on administrative tasks. According to Resch, the most important task she completes as Senior Associate Director of Athletics is the budget. Resch prides herself in making sure that the budget reflects the values of the University. For instance, if it’s fifth week and a team has a tournament out of state, she’ll budget more money for a bus with wifi, making it easier for students to study.
While she does not miss the angst that comes with coaching college students, she does miss the personal side.
“I absolutely loved coaching,” Resch said. “I miss watching the change and growth that happens in four years.”
Although she is no longer on the courts, she still feels involved in the players’ lives. Resch feels the anguish when a team loses or the joy when it wins. When asked about her favorite part of her job, Resch said, “Even though I spend a lot of my time doing computer and paper and that sort of thing, I still feel very much that what I am doing makes it possible to have the experience that I value so much.”
Resch has made this experience possible throughout many different eras at UChicago. When she started coaching, players wore flimsy volleyball shoes with no support and used wooden bats. Now she gets to create a budget allowing for artificial turf and ensures that athletes have high-tech shoes. She was here when UChicago joined the UAA and during the construction of the Ratner Athletics Center.
“My job has never been boring. There’s always something new that’s happening that creates some kind of different challenge or opportunity. And I think that’s the neat thing about being in CSL and being in students’ lives.”
While Resch completes countless administrative tasks, she watches students play from her office window, which overlooks the baseball, softball, soccer, and track fields. However, she prefers to watch games in person, because, even after 42 years, Resch wants to be on the sidelines.
“I’m sure I could have been happy at a lot of other places. But I knew I would be happy here,” Resch said. “It’s been a pretty wonderful life. And I’m not done yet.”