Athletic Director Lisa Melendy announced on Monday that Jen Chuks, assistant women’s basketball coach, has been hired as an assistant professor of physical education and as an assistant athletic administrator. Chuks will serve as the primary liaison between the athletic department and the Office of Admission, helping coaches and admissions officers to reform recruitment of and provide support services for student-athletes. Chuks will replace Donnie Brooks, former assistant men’s lacrosse and football coach and assistant athletic director, who left the College over the summer for a position at Dartmouth.
Chuks, now in her second year as an NCAA internship recipient, has served as an assistant women’s basketball coach since 2010. She came to the College from Merrimack, where she served as the assistant women’s basketball coach and compliance assistant in the athletic department.
As assistant athletic administrator, Chuks will be responsible for creating a strategic plan to recruit qualified student-athletes, implementing support programs for matriculating student-athletes and coordinating a new athletic diversity committee. Her position will further formalize communication and coordination between the athletic department and the Office of Admission.
According to Director of Admission Dick Nesbitt, admissions has always had a liaison for each varsity coach to provide feedback on individual prospects to ensure high academic standards. “Jen’s position is more on the ‘macro’ level – for instance, helping to organize training workshops for coaches to review proper recruiting protocol or to better understand need-based financial aid policies,” Nesbitt said.
Chuks will also continue the work she has begun over the past year with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the EphVenture program for first-year students. “[Chuks is] someone who’s already up to speed, and it’s great to have somebody continue in a role,” Melendy said.
Will Petrie ’12, co-president of SAAC, praised Chuks for her diligent work with the committee. “We had a couple projects this fall that she was really helpful with,” he said. “She’s very high energy and willing to be involved, which helps projects to get rolling. We have a big spring planned as well, in part due to the encouraging results we’ve had working with her this fall.”
In addition to taking on her new roles, Chuks will continue to work with the women’s basketball team and teach physical education classes.
Nesbitt indicated that Chuks’ role goes beyond increasing communication between coaches and admissions officers. “Jen will team with admissions to develop strategies for coaches to identify, recruit and matriculate student-athletes from underrepresented backgrounds,” Nesbitt said. “With her energy and experience, [she] will be an extremely valuable resource in this ongoing effort to diversify our sports teams.”
Melendy also spoke to Chuks’ competency as a member of the department. “She’s been here as a Div. III NCAA internship for the past two years, and she’s done a really outstanding job for us,” she said.
Melendy confirmed that Chuks will focus on helping coaches and administrators to create a more diverse body of student-athletes. “We sort of changed the position title to reflect how she’ll work with recruiting underrepresented communities and develop support roles,” Melendy said. “She’ll be someone that students could talk to about issues they’re having, specifically those related to coming from underrepresented communities or being a first-generation student.”
These services will not be limited to student-athletes either. “As the College continues progressing and continues improving, we want to continue educating our coaches about inclusion and creating an atmosphere of inclusion in athletics,” Melendy said.
Chuks was not able to be reached for comment.