For the first time in its history, Chestnut Hill College will be welcoming a football team to campus – sprint football that is – which will become the College's newest sport with the fall 2015 semester. As CHC takes its first steps in preparing, the new sprint football head coach was introduced at a pep rally held in early November.
Sorgenti Arena was packed with faculty and students alike as Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D., and Lynn Tubman, director of athletics and recreation, enthusiastically introduced Mike Pearson to the CHC community.
"We are thrilled to announce Mike Pearson as our first head sprint football coach at Chestnut Hill College," Tubman said. "The search committee and the administration focused on finding a candidate with the necessary experience to build a new program as well as someone who values the mission of the College. Everyone involved in the process was impressed with Mike's commitment to the student-athlete and developing a program that provides a balanced experience that will result in success on and off the field."
Pearson, a former football player at Lycoming College, began coaching at the high school level in 1991 and then moved up to the collegiate level. Most recently, he was the assistant coach at Mansfield University's sprint football program until 2014. He then accepted a position as an assistant at Lockhaven University and was then offered the position of head coach here at CHC.
"It is with great focus and enthusiasm that I am proud to serve the Chestnut Hill College students, staff and faculty as their first head football coach," Pearson said. "I will strive to uphold the honor and mission of the College in my work each day."
Pearson plans to recruit 65 players to fill the Griffins' roster. During the season, each player will be weighed twice a week to ensure they remain below the 172-pound weight limit.
CHC is the ninth member of the Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL), along with Cornell, Princeton, Franklin Pierce, Post and Mansfield universities; the University of Pennsylvania; and West Point and the Naval Academy.
The league's commissioner, Gene McIntyre, was in attendance at CHC's pep rally to personally welcome the College to the league, which has been around since before World War II.
"We're excited to welcome Chestnut Hill College into the league, and to grow the sport of sprint football," said McIntyre. "This league is comprised of true student-athletes, equally dedicated to school and sport, and Chestnut Hill College will help us carry on a longstanding tradition of football for all the right reasons."
Along with sprint football, Pearson also will assume the responsibility of assistant director of athletics for recruitment – a position in which he will increase the exposure of Chestnut Hill College athletics to prospective student-athletes, as well as coordinate student-athlete recruitment with the College's Admissions office.