by Sue Ann Rybak
Chestnut Hill College has named Mike Pearson to lead the Griffins through their first season in the Collegiate Sprint Football League, starting next September.
Pearson, a seasoned college and high school coach, brings more than 20 years of coaching experience to the new football program, which will compete in the same league as Army, Navy, Cornell, Penn, Princeton and Mansfield.
“This is an exciting new venture for the Griffins,” said Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Chestnut Hill College president, in a statement. “I’m thrilled at the promise sprint football holds for Chestnut Hill College – to attract talented student-athletes, to support the college’s recruitment and retention efforts on all levels, and to bring a new vitality to an already-energized campus.”
Lynn Tubman, director of athletics and recreation at Chestnut Hill College, introduced Pearson at a pep rally on Wednesday, Nov. 5, in the Sorgenti Arena.
“We are thrilled to announce Mike Pearson as our first head sprint football coach at Chestnut Hill College,” said Tubman. “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 to developing a program that provides a balanced experience that will result in success on and off the field.
As Head Coach, Pearson will be responsible for recruiting 65 student-athletes and building the Griffins football team from the ground up.
Sprint Football follows the same rules as NCAA D1 collegiate football with two exceptions: student-athletes must weigh 172 pounds or less, and the program allows for a 65-player roster. Chestnut Hill College will become the ninth team in the league.
Tubman added that Pearson’s experience “coaching at the DII, DIII and sprint football levels will be extremely valuable in recruiting qualified student-athletes.”
Prior to coming to Chestnut Hill College, he was an assistant coach with Lock Haven University.
And recently, he served as a defensive back, wide receiver, and tight end coach for Mansfield University’s inaugural sprint football program.
“I am proud to serve the Chestnut Hill College community as the college’s first head sprint football coach,” Pearson said. “Our biggest focus right now is to get the players and coaches here, so we can take all the day-to-day steps necessary to build a quality program. And, of course, those things are not easy. There are no short cuts to building it the right way.”
Pearson told the students he wanted not only to help develop a great football team, but to strive to uphold the mission of the college in his day-to-day work.
“Our goal is athletic and academic excellence,” he said.
Gene McIntyre, commissioner of the Collegiate Sprint Football League and associate athletic director at Army, welcomed the college into the league.
“This league is comprised of true student-athletes, equally dedicated to school and sport, and Chestnut Hill College will help us carry on a long-standing tradition of football for all the right reasons,” McIntyre said.
He added that “Army and Navy better watch out because in a couple years they could be fighting the Griffins for the league championship.”
Recruitment efforts for sprint football players will begin in earnest this summer. Interested student-athletes are invited to complete and submit a prospective student-athlete questionnaire.