June 11, 2009


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New CHC Athletic Director set to start July 1

Lynn Tubman

Back when Spring Garden College was a going concern in Chestnut Hill, its athletic teams competed in a small-school league called the Eastern Pennsylvania Athletic Conference. The women’s basketball team at Spring Garden ruled the EPAC until they were dethroned by an Allentown College squad led by a forward from Norristown named Lynn Butler.

Now Butler, who has become Lynn Tubman, is returning to this area not as a visiting player, but as the new Director of Athletics at Chestnut Hill College. For the past five years, she has been the Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator at Philadelphia University. There, she worked with longtime athletic director and women’s basketball coach Tom Shirley, who was also Tubman’s coach when she played at Allentown College (now DeSales University).

Just two years after graduating from Allentown in 1987, Tubman became the Assistant Athletic Director at Penn State’s Mont Alto campus in south central Pennsylvania, and later served as Director of Athletics at LaRoche College near Pittsburgh. After that she spent several years at Drexel University in the role of Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator.

“After working at Division I, II and III schools, I’ve found that Division II is the best fit for me,” she related. “There’s a very good balance between academics and athletics at this level.”

Sister Carol Jean Vale, president of CHC, stated, “Members of the Chestnut Hill College community who interviewed Lynn Tubman recognize in her the qualifications, experience, and values required to be a sound administrator, an advocate for athletes, and a motivational leader. I have every confidence that Lynn is the right choice at the right time for our athletic program.”

Her predecessor, Bill Stiles, is ending his five-year tenure at Chestnut Hill to become Athletic Director at Reading’s Alvernia University, which is much closer to his current residence, and also to his original hometown of Douglasville, Pa. Stiles oversaw CHC’s transition from NCAA Division III to Division II and the program’s acceptance into the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.

Last winter, the men’s basketball squad became the first team at the college to reach postseason play in Division II, but at the end of the Griffins’ second academic year at this higher level of play, most of the school’s sports programs are still adapting to the change. In this regard, Tubman will bring a wealth of knowledge with her from Philadelphia University, a successful longstanding member of Division II and the CACC.

“Being a member of a model Division II program there, I can bring some of that experience to Chestnut Hill, and being familiar with the conference and with the institutions within the conference will help,” she observed. “The biggest difference between Division II and III obviously is the recruitment of scholarship athletes [Division III schools cannot give dedicated athletic scholarships]. Chestnut Hill is still in its infancy in Division II and with anything new you’re going to experience growing pains, but the institution is committed to being a competitive member of the CACC.”

Tubman’s insights extend beyond those that can be acquired from an administrator’s chair. A product of the old Bishop Kenrick High School in Norristown, Tubman became an All-American player at Allentown, finishing her career with 2193 points. In addition to her other duties at Penn State Mont Alto and LaRoche, she was the head women’s basketball coach at both schools.

She also has a parent’s perspective; after leaving Drexel and prior to going to work at Philly U., Tubman took four years off to spend more time with her two daughters, now aged nine and 11.

“They’re excited about my new job, too, and they’ve already visited the campus,” she reported.

Chestnut Hill has introduced several new sports in recent years, and the latest addition is men’s lacrosse. The Griffins will field an official intercollegiate team next spring and will play in the East Coast Conference (the CACC does not sponsor men’s lacrosse). Coach Richard Carrington was actually hired in the fall of 2008 and he already has more than three dozen recruits lined up.

Tubman sees her major objectives as being “to strengthen the intercollegiate teams, and to develop intramural sports. Athletics is a part of student life, and having a visible and vibrant recreation program will help with the growth of the college.”

Philadelphia University, she noted, “benefited from sound structures and policies that were put in place while the program was growing. Overall, the teams have been successful, and academically the university is right at the top of the conference.

“So much of the success there,” she went on, “is due to the leadership Tom Shirley has provided for the last 20 years, and his ability to grow and manage the department. I’ve been able to learn a lot from that during the past five years and I’m excited about the opportunity to help Chestnut Hill move forward.”