Delaware's most successful high school athletic program will have a unique leader after 118 years.
Katie Orga Godfrey has been hired as Salesianum's Athletic Director effective July 1, 2021, becoming the all-male school's first female sports leader, and according to Salesianum's research, she'd be the only current female athletic director at an all-boys high school.
Godfrey said she was aware the history accepting the job represents, but that it doesn't define her.
"It did cross my mind; however I've worked at that school, I've coached at Salesianum, so to me, it's not so much being a female as it is being prepared and being ready to work hard in the job."
Godfrey has taught mathematics for 16 years at the Wilmington all-boys Catholic private school and said its no accident she has fallen into a teaching and coaching career.
"I have always had great passion for academics and then athletics my entire life. Sports have been a huge part of my life growing up in a big family. Whether I was playing or going to my sibling's games, I played through high school and college, I always knew I wanted to be a coach. This opportunity came up, and I had to take it."
Godfrey became Salesianum's first female coach when she joined then-basketball coach Mike Gallagher's staff leading the junior varsity program in 2008, a role she vacated to start a family, before returning as freshman head coach this past winter, joining her best-friend Brendan Haley in leading that program.
"Being the first female head coach, it wasn't about being the first female head coach, I had the opportunity to coach basketball by Mike Gallagher who had a lot of faith in me and mentor me, and now I've been given this second opportunity and I'm just going to attack it like I do everything."
Godfrey, who played volleyball, basketball, and ran track at Ursuline before continuing her volleyball and basketball career at Washington College, said Salesianum has always held a special part in her heart.
"Salesianum has been a part of life since before I was born. My grandfather was a huge Sallies guy who graduated in '34, my dad was a '64 graduate, my brothers, uncles, and cousins all went there. I grew up going to all of the events."
Godfrey said there was even a time growing up where she wanted to break an even bigger barrier at Salesianum.
"I've always taken a hold of the mission, and at a very young age I knew I wanted to go there and teach there. I wanted to be the first girl to graduate from Salesianum, but that didn't happen. I became a teacher, and have been there for the past 16 years."
Godfrey said she hopes her athletic department fits well into Salesianum's overall mold.
"I believe that our core is exactly what Salesianum represents. It's not just about the athletics, it's about developing the whole person. To me, each athlete who comes through here needs to be a student-athlete. They are going to work hard, and we're going to develop ourselves through competitive sport, but it needs to be a place of positive growth and development of the whole person. When they leave this institution, they're more confident in their abilities, and they have a deep sense of pride for their teams and teammates."
She also said she wants to continue the traditions of a program that claims a state-high 164 state championships and has been nationally ranked in several sports, including soccer and lacrosse.
"I want my coaches to know I support them, and we want to make ourselves a respected program both locally and nationally, and keep communication lines open, and go through those Salesian ideals of humility, win with humility, lose with humility, and go with tenacity, you have to work hard."
Godfrey will take over from current athletic director and soccer coach Scott Mosier, who will take over as Abessinio Stadium's Director of Operations.
The school said they're looking to market and create greater use of the stadium.