PRINCETON — Mollie Marcoux has been hired as Princeton’s athletic director, leaving her job as a sports management executive and returning to the school where she starred in two sports.

She succeeds Gary Walters, who said last fall he would be retiring after 20 years. Marcoux is Princeton’s first female athletic director since the position was first held in 1941.

For the past 19 years, Marcoux worked at Chelsea Piers Management, which owns sports complexes in New York and Connecticut.

Marcoux on Tuesday called her appointment the “most special honor that has ever been given to me.” She graduated in 1991 from Princeton, where she was All-Ivy in soccer and ice hockey.

Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber is confident Marcoux will build on Princeton’s “traditions and values and provide strong leadership.”

Princeton football coach Bob Surace describes her as the “absolute best.” He adds: “Whatever she does she’s successful. We could not have gotten a more qualified person.”

Started at The Press in 1993 as an Ocean County reporter. Moved to the copy desk in 1994 until taking over as editor of At The Shore in 1995. Became deputy sports editor in 2004 and was promoted to sports editor in 2007.