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Michael Lynch, who in 10 years as athletic director led the University to a record six straight America East Commissioner’s Cups, oversaw the transition to the Patriot League, and piloted his department through two highly publicized incidents, will resign as of June 30.
“Now that the 2013–2014 academic year has come to a close, I believe it’s an appropriate time to announce the difficult decision to leave my position as assistant vice president and director of athletics at Boston University,” Lynch says. “After 14 wonderful years on Commonwealth Avenue, the last 10 as director, it is time for me to move forward in my career and to allow BU to experience new leadership in our department of athletics. I am proud of all that we have accomplished and wish to express my sincere gratitude to the entire BU family over the years. Go Terriers!”
Todd Klipp, senior vice president, senior counsel, and secretary of the Board of Trustees, says Lynch has inspired countless Boston University student-athletes to excel both on and off the playing field.
“I want to express my sincere thanks to Mike for his many years of devoted service to Boston University and his commitment to excellence in athletics, academics, and community,” says Klipp. “Mike has overseen the development of our athletics program into one we are all proud of, and he has encouraged our student-athletes to excel in the classroom and in their communities as well as in their athletic endeavors. Both he and I are very proud of our student-athletes and our many outstanding coaches.”
Klipp says that Drew Marrochello, deputy director of athletics, will serve as interim director while the University looks for Lynch’s successor.
Many team championships and leadership honors distinguished Lynch’s tenure at the University. In 2011, he was named Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year for the Division I Northeast by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. The award recognizes athletic directors “for their commitment and positive contribution to campuses and their surrounding communities.” Lynch also guided BU to six straight Commissioner’s Cups, awarded for the strongest athletics program in the America East conference, as determined by a scoring system that rewards a school for success both during the regular season and in championship competition in the conference’s 20 sports. BU won a total of 11 Commissioner’s Cups, more than any other school in America East.
Lynch oversaw last year’s historic transition of most varsity teams from America East to the Patriot League, a move that was championed by President Robert A. Brown, who found the philosophy of the new league to be closely aligned with Boston University’s values and aspirations. In its first year in the Patriot League, the University’s women’s teams won a league-record seven championships, and the University claimed second place in the overall Presidents’ Cup standings. Along with athletic success, the academic performance of BU student-athletes consistently ranks among the nation’s best.
Under Lynch’s tenure, the University also witnessed the addition of men’s lacrosse and women’s lightweight rowing as new varsity sports, and the construction of New Balance Field, which opened last fall and essentially doubled BU’s playable green space. The 110,000-square-foot athletic field and underground parking facility were made possible by a fundraising campaign highlighted by a $3 million donation from Brighton-based shoe manufacturer New Balance.
Lynch’s tenure as athletic director was marked by two highly public incidents. During the 2011–2012 season, two hockey players were arrested for sexual assault. Although most of the charges were eventually dropped, the incidents prompted the president to appoint a task force to investigate the culture and climate of the men’s hockey team. The task force recommended, and the department of athletics implemented, a number of measures designed to improve oversight of the program.
In April of this year, 10-year women’s basketball head coach Kelly Greenberg resigned following an inquiry into allegations that Greenberg had mistreated players and that her coaching style had driven at least four players to quit the team during the past year. Lynch also led his department through the difficult and controversial process of discontinuing its 45-year-old varsity wrestling program.
Throughout his administration, Lynch was known and admired for many things, among them a speech each year to freshman athletes in which he reminded them that “99 percent of the young people that come here to participate in our program are not going to continue professionally,” and that “to come to BU and have the opportunity to wear the uniform is not something that everybody can do. It’s a gift.”
Lynch says his baseball coach at Rollins College gave him and his teammates similar advice, emphasizing the importance of getting a degree in order “to have something to fall back on.” He heeded his coach’s advice, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science and, after pitching for both the Milwaukee Brewers and the Red Sox, a master’s in education administration from the University of Albany.
An adept fundraiser who began his BU career as assistant vice president of development for athletics and student life, Lynch spearheaded the fundraising effort for the Track & Tennis Center, Agganis Arena, and the Fitness & Recreation Center, as well as the department’s endowed scholarship program. He also emphasized the importance of giving back to the community by encouraging BU athletes to raise funds for charities, to offer free clinics to underprivileged youth, and to volunteer at local schools, among them Allston’s Jackson-Mann School, as part of the College for Every Student mentoring program.
Community work by athletes “is probably in some ways more vital than the actual knowledge they get in the classroom,” Lynch said in a 2011 interview. “It’s an opportunity for our athletes to visit with kids who may come from different backgrounds than them, to learn what it’s like to be a role model, and learn what type of an impact they can make in the kids’ lives.”