June 11, 2009


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CHA brings DelGrande in as new AD

Chestnut Hill Academy announced today that, after a tough and highly competitive internal and external search, it has selected Michael J. DelGrande, director of boys’ athletics at Bullis School in Potomac, Md., to be the school’s next athletic director. DelGrande will replace CHA alum Mark Burke who will be moving to Switzerland with his family after serving as CHA’s AD for the last five years.

DelGrande, who earned his BS in mechanical engineering in 1983 from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and his M.Ed. in athletic administration in 2001 from George Washington University, has been at the Bullis School for the past 22 years where he has served as a math teacher, coach, and, for the last 12 years, boys’ athletic director. He has coached football, soccer, and basketball, but his greatest success has been in lacrosse, where he built one of the more recognized programs in the DC area, known as a lacrosse hotbed.  Over 50 of his players have gone on to successful college careers and a number were in the most recent Final Four.

“We are thrilled to have an athletic director of Mike’s significant experience, varied background, and history of achievement join us,” said Frank Steel, CHA’s headmaster, who adds that the new AD brings a strong reputation for getting people to work together, helping with fundraising for athletic projects, and networking. “Mike’s a strong believer in communications—building those all-important connections between athletes, school, and families that form the foundation for a strong athletics program.”

DelGrande describes himself as a passionate and intense person, who brings his all to his work. Asked about the qualities he looks for in a coaching staff, he says he wants people with passion, dedication, the ability to effectively teach, and organization.

“They should be able to work with and reach kids—to be mentors.” he said. “If you’re an effective mentor, the kids will respect you and play for you and do all they can for you.”

With 85 percent of his former lacrosse players still staying in touch, DelGrande seems to have the right formula for forming positive relationships with kids.

DelGrande says he’s looking forward to bringing his energy and passion to CHA and to continuing to build on the school’s already impressive Inter-Ac record.

“A highly successful athletics program can energize a school, its families, and the alumni,” he said.    

DelGrande also feels that any successful athletics program can have the core of its program built from within the school. 

“I’ve always been a ground-up type of coach,” he said.

“If you are doing it right you should be able to find the core of any successful varsity program in your JV and Middle School athletes. That’s where you need to build.”

He also feels that recruiting the right type of student-athletes, ones that don’t compromise the academic standards of the school, is also needed to help keep any good athletic program competitive—especially in the Inter-Ac.

DelGrande and his family plan to make their move to Philadelphia sometime in July.