Yale names Victoria Chun new director of athletics

Victoria M. Chun has been appointed Yale’s director of athletics, physical education, and recreation by President Peter Salovey. Chun, who has served as vice president and director of athletics at Colgate University for the past six years, will join Yale on July 1.

Yale’s approach to athletics, in keeping with the tradition of the Ivy League, prizes the development of the ‘student-athlete,’” Salovey said. “Vicky believes, as do I, that a strong athletics program can help us fulfill Yale’s mission to educate aspiring leaders worldwide who serve all sectors of society. Vicky is a respected leader and a national advocate for excellence. She has an extraordinary ability to create a culture of enthusiasm and pride within an athletics program, and she brings many gifts to Yale. I and my entire leadership team feel fortunate to have her as one of our colleagues.”

I am honored to be named as Yale’s next athletic director,” Chun said. “Yale is a storied institution that educates world-class leaders. I am eager to build on the strong foundation that Athletics Director Tom Beckett has created. It is my goal to execute on President Salovey’s vision of expanding our winning culture grounded in strong academics, working with the entire Yale community, near and far. I want to thank President Salovey, Dean Chun, and the entire search committee for their trust in me, and for welcoming me into the Bulldog nation. Boola Boola!”

Chun will oversee 35 varsity teams within Yale College, an array of intramural and club sports, and extensive facilities enjoyed by all students.

I am looking forward to spending time and getting to know our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and alumni. I am eager to listen and learn from them,” she said. “Throughout the years, everyone associated with Yale with whom I have come into contact exudes nothing but passion and pride for this institution. I am humbled and privileged to join such a special community. This is a remarkable place, one which I am delighted to join in a leadership role.”  

Recognized by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal as a “Game Changer,” Chun has earned a stellar reputation as one of the most innovative and well-respected leaders in NCAA Division I athletics.

At Colgate, Chun has worked closely with faculty, students, and staff to foster a high level of academic rigor and integrity among student-athletes. Under her leadership, the average grade point average (GPA) of Colgate student-athletes surpassed the average GPA of the student body, with the student-athlete GPA increasing every year. This year, Colgate’s 98% NCAA Division I Graduation Success Rate placed it second in the country.

A former student-athlete and Division I coach, Chun cultivated respect and integrity within the athletics program while helping shepherd teams to new levels of success. During her years at Colgate, the men’s and women’s hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s lacrosse, and volleyball teams earned national rankings. She hired eight new head coaches who demonstrated success and brought their programs to national prominence. She also took steps to improve the student-athlete experience, initiating a head-injury reduction strategy for practices in contact sports.

Chun helped raise millions of dollars for major capital projects at Colgate, including a 97,000-square-foot arena; a soccer and women’s lacrosse complex; a football locker room renovation; and a new academic services center.

At the national level, Chun has been an advocate for excellence in intercollegiate sports. One of only 40 members of the NCAA Division I Council, she also serves as vice-chair of the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee and on the newly created Division I Football Competition Committee. She recently served as president of the Women Leaders in College Sports. The first female Asian-American athletic director in NCAA Division I history, Chun will be the first woman and the first Asian American to serve as director of athletics at Yale.

Peter Salovey announces Vicky Chun’s appointment at Beinecke Library.
President Salovey introduces Chun (front row center, holding Handsome Dan) to the Yale community at Beinecke Library. (Photo credit: Michael Marsland)

In making this decision, I benefited from the involvement and input of many members of the Yale community, including coaches, staff, faculty, students, and alumni,” noted Salovey. “I am grateful to members of the Athletics Director Search Advisory Committee — chaired by Marvin Chun, dean of Yale College — for their invaluable service.”

Salovey, who announced in August 2017 that Director of Athletics Thomas Beckett was retiring at the end of the 2017-18 academic year, expressed his deep appreciation for Beckett’s service.

After 24 outstanding years of service to this university, the retirement of Tom Beckett, ‘Yale’s Biggest Fan,’ will build on a wonderful chapter in the history of Yale athletics,” Salovey said. “Tom’s legacy — especially his unwavering dedication to Yale’s student-athletes — will be carried on after his retirement. I look forward to celebrating Tom’s remarkable achievements in the coming months.”

It has been an opportunity of a lifetime to serve Yale and the Yale community for the past 24 years as director of athletics,” Beckett said. “I’m proud that Yale has found such an accomplished professional in Vicky Chun to begin her tenure at this great university. Vicky has done an outstanding job at Colgate and she will do the same at Yale. She will find a world-renowned faculty and administration, generous and loyal alumni, dedicated and passionate student-athletes, an outstanding athletics staff, and one of the most accomplished coaching faculties in the country.”

View a video of the full event below:

What They Are Saying about Vicky Chun

Vicky Chun is an outstanding individual whose background and experience are perfectly suited to serving as the next director of athletics at Yale University.  As a former student-athlete and coach, Vicky champions an exemplary focus on the overall student-athlete experience. She understands the importance of fostering successful athletics programs within the context of rigorous academics and preparing student-athletes for lifelong success in their chosen professions. Vicky is well-liked and respected among her peers and has been selected for a number of leadership roles nationally. She will be a terrific addition to Yale University and the Ivy League.”

          — Robin Harris, Ivy League executive director 

Vicky will do an incredible job for Yale. She built a strong athletic program at Colgate, and her experiences as a student-athlete, coach, and administrator will serve her well. Vicky has a great appreciation for the proper role of athletics on a college campus. She is an absolute star in the athletics administration world.”

          — Mark Murphy, CEO of the Green Bay Packers

Vicky has been an absolutely vital member of the Football Oversight Committee and I have enjoyed working with her. Vicky is an outstanding director of athletics and she will be very successful at Yale.”

          — Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference and chair of NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee 

I have been privileged to work alongside Vicky for over 20 years. Vicky is a charismatic, determined, and innovative leader who excels at unifying people. Her record-setting results at Colgate speak for themselves. She is a proven winner in every way, and is known as a total rock star in this industry. I have no doubt the Yale community will not only thrive, but will see unparalleled success under her leadership!”

          — Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Chun served on the Harvard University Board of Overseers. Chun served on the board’s Committee to Visit the Department of Athletics from 2014 to 2016.