Bridgewater is a special place where our job is to help develop students. The thing I love the most is watching a student mature into a leader by the time they cross the stage at commencement. To see that transition, that’s what it’s all about.
Back in high school, Mary Beth Lamb didn’t consider going to college. Instead, she took every steno and typing class to prepare for a career as a secretary.
“My guidance counselor, Mrs. Robinson, kept telling me, you should be on the college track,” Lamb said.
She eventually took the advice to heart, when she realized just how much she loved one subject in particular – a subject that could turn into a profession.
“I loved gym. It was the one place I could be free. I’m an introvert and there are very few places I felt comfortable, and sports was one of them,” she said.
So, with the help of Mrs. Robinson, Lamb did the necessary coursework to pursue a career in athletics.
Had she not switched gears, Lamb would never have been selected as a recipient of the 2021-22 National Association of Collegiate Directors Cushman and Wakefield Athletics Director of the Year Award. There were 28 honorees in all this year. The award highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses, and their surrounding communities, according to the organization.
When she learned of the honor, Lamb, who has worked at Bridgewater State University for the past 10 years and currently serves as the associate vice president for Athletics and Wellness, was humbled.
“I do get uncomfortable with the praise,” she said. “I look at it as an honor for the program and everyone here at the university. I’m well aware I couldn’t do half the stuff I do unless the students, coaches, and university each did their part…. they all make me look good and I’m blessed to be here.”
The “stuff” Lamb has done includes guiding the BSU athletic program that supports over 500 student-athletes and 22 varsity sports as well as a variety of sport club and intramural/recreational activities. She has expanded the club sport program to include women’s ice hockey, gymnastics, golf and men’s rugby.
Lamb has pushed to create four additional full-time coaching positions and enhanced the athletic program’s budget and overall commitment to excellence.
“That’s one of the things I’m most proud of, being able to hire for our teams and student-athletes full-time coaches. Having that full-time presence really helps build relationships and connections,” she said. “Coaches see you at your best and worst, they have to find ways to pick up and motivate students, to keep them involved and engaged. Its’ a very intense role.”
In 2020 the NCAA named BSU the NCAA Division III LGBTA Athletic Department of the Year in part because Lamb has helped to create a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming culture within athletics.
She has also overseen major renovations such as those involving the Moriarty Pool, Swenson Track and Field, and the Adrian Tinsley Center, as well as the construction of the new Bear Paw Pavilion locker facility, and looks to tackle renovating the tennis courts next.
Lamb is always looking ahead, questioning how she can best support student-athletes and the overall BSU community to create a space that benefits all.
“I really do think strategically. I’m a long-term thinker. Laying the groundwork now for something that will develop five years from now is important,” Lamb said.
More than anything, though, it’s been creating connections and watching the students grow that has been the most fulfilling work.
“Bridgewater is a special place where our job is to help develop students. The thing I love the most is watching a student mature into a leader by the time they cross the stage at commencement. To see that transition, that’s what it’s all about,” Lamb said.
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