Women鈥檚 Soccer Scores Scholarship and Internship Support from Falconi Family

a white family standing in front of a lake on a sandy patch of land

The Falconi Family

The Falconi family has a deep understanding of the value of a 黑社区 education and of the lifelong lessons gained as a Division I scholar-athlete there. 

John Falconi 鈥74 played for the men鈥檚 basketball team and was admitted into the college鈥檚 Athletics Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Maureen, supported their three children鈥檚 decisions to become Wildcats, too. 

Sarah Falconi Culbertson 鈥01 captained the women鈥檚 soccer team. Her husband, Randy Culbertson 鈥00, played men鈥檚 soccer. Katie Falconi MacDonald 鈥04, a two-sport high school athlete, opted to focus solely on earning her economics degree. John Falconi 鈥07 followed his dad to Belk Arena and played for the men鈥檚 basketball team. He married Kate McDonald Falconi 鈥08, a women's lacrosse player. 

To support all they know to be exceptional about Davidson, and in recognition of the need to elevate funding of collegiate women鈥檚 sports, John and Maureen have created the Falconi Family Women鈥檚 Athletic Scholarship and the Falconi Family Women鈥檚 Athletic Internship Fund. Both will support women鈥檚 soccer scholar-athletes and the program鈥檚 recruiting efforts.

鈥淲e hope this gift is complementary to what Steph Curry 鈥10 is aiming to do with his family鈥檚 support of women鈥檚 athletics at Davidson 鈥 an extension of that commitment,鈥 John and Maureen said. 鈥淎s we started to learn about Davidson鈥檚 funding compared to others in the A-10, it was pretty eye opening. It鈥檚 hard to be successful when you have 3.2 scholarships compared to other larger schools with 12 to 14. We are trying to even the playing field a bit.鈥

John grew up in New York City and, through the recruitment process, was drawn to Davidson鈥檚 small school environment, strong academic reputation and the fact that the basketball program under Lefty Dreisell had ranked in the country鈥檚 top 10. Another not-so-small factor was boarding a plane in the snow and arriving in 80-degree North Carolina for his official visit. 

鈥淚 should have worked harder academically in college, and the many lessons learned while at Davidson became more and more clear the longer I was out in the work world,鈥 he said. 鈥淢y experiences at Davidson helped me through the next steps of my life, a period when I recognized the need to be more focused, work harder and try to be a better teammate and leader.鈥 

Those traits led John to a successful business career and a desire to pass the Davidson experience on to others.

A Player from Each Class

Once fully funded, the scholarship and internship funds will support one women鈥檚 soccer scholar-athlete in each class. The Falconis have helped with internship funding through the Matthews Center for some time, so they wanted to ensure internship opportunities were part of the gift. The family鈥檚 primary goal is to 鈥渟hrink the gap鈥 for exceptional scholar-athletes who need help covering the cost of attending Davidson and securing internships.

鈥淭he cost of college is very high, of course, and parents are very focused on their kids鈥 ability to get a job,鈥 the couple said. 鈥淭here鈥檚 a significant disparity between students who have had internships and those who haven鈥檛.鈥

Their generosity will go a long way.

鈥淭his gift from the Falconi family is transformative for our program,鈥 Women鈥檚 Soccer Head Coach Riley Piechnick said. 鈥淣ot only does it help bridge the competitive scholarship gap between us and the conference, it also puts an emphasis on recruiting scholar-athletes who have a passion for a strong education and their post-graduate careers. 

鈥淭his is what Davidson Athletics is all about. I can鈥檛 thank the Falconi family enough for their support, and I am excited to see how this scholarship impacts the lives of future Davidson women鈥檚 soccer players.鈥 

Sarah Falconi Culbertson 鈥01 is excited to see this gift going specifically to the program that helped set her on a successful life path.

鈥淏eing a scholar-athlete was the most meaningful aspect of my time at Davidson,鈥 she said. 鈥淓arning a spot on the team as a freshman and being welcomed by my teammates set the tone for friendship and camaraderie that lasted for years.鈥 

Sarah鈥檚 hard work led to a starting position during her freshman year that she maintained throughout her college career, becoming captain and being twice named to the Southern Conference All-Tournament First Team.

Off the field, Culbertson remembers preparing for job interviews as a senior. Being a scholar-athlete was always something she could draw from to discuss strengths and leadership roles, thanks to the many lessons and benefits it brought to her Davidson experience.

鈥淭here are so many stories you can share about winning, losing, persevering, managing your time, traveling and prioritizing homework,鈥 she said. 鈥淎nyone who has played a sport at Davidson knows the professors cheer for the athletes and provide support, but in the end you have to get your work done, and that responsibility teaches valuable lessons.鈥

After graduation, Sarah was accepted into GE鈥檚 Financial Management Program (Top 5 company within the Fortune 500). She would later become part of GE鈥檚 global audit team and take on managerial roles at NBC Universal鈥檚 headquarters in New York City until leaving to focus on her growing family.

鈥淚 think it鈥檚 terrific that my parents had this idea to help students in this way, and I鈥檓 really excited for the women鈥檚 soccer program overall,鈥 she said. 鈥淚t鈥檚 such a strong network of women, a team you stay connected with for life. Every alum wants to see the team excel, both on and off the field.鈥

To learn more about supporting Davidson鈥檚 21 Division I athletic programs and each coach鈥檚 current priorities, contact Jeff Kniple, director of athletic development and assistant director of athletics, at 704-894-2113 or jekniple@davidson.edu.