By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- She crossed paths with teams from Bridgewater State University through the years while working at three schools.
During stays at Simmons College in Boston, Newbury College in Brookline or Regis College in Weston, Dr. Marybeth Lamb was impressed with what she saw.
“Whether I worked at Simmons or Newbury or Regis, whenever we played Bridgewater, you could tell, whether it as a home or an away contest, that it was a very well-run program,” said Lamb. “There was great leadership and you could tell it was just a quality program.
“I’ve known (retired director of athletics) John Harper for many, many years and I’ve always respected him and his programs a tremendous amount.”
Now, Lamb will be the one in charge of those programs at Bridgewater State after recently being hired to replace Harper as the school’s director of athletics.
Harper, who held the job for 21 years, retired last month and Lamb’s first day of work was Monday, following 10 years in a similar position at Regis.
“One of the things that really appealed to me about Bridgewater was that it reminds me so much of my own undergraduate experience,” said Lamb, a native of Long Island. “I went to SUNY-Brockport in upstate New York and this is such a quality, well run program like that.
“The university is always growing and they have such a great experience. When this position came open, it was a great opportunity to hopefully pick up where John has left off and move the program even further along.”
She moved to Massachusetts in 1985 to become the head athletic trainer at Simmons and worked at the U.S. Olympic Festival. But Lamb started becoming more interested in the administrative side of college athletics and left that career in 1993.
Lamb took over as the athletic director at Newbury before moving to Regis in 2002. She earned an MBA from Simmons and a Ph.D in higher education administration from Boston College.
“When I was an athletic trainer, I was very happy doing what I did,” said Lamb. “But when I worked at Simmons, it was a lot of hours and I was the only trainer. I really had to ask myself did I see this as a long-term viable career for me? The answer was probably not.
“At Simmons, you have to wear multiple hats and I was also the assistant AD in charge of all the logistical things. I found I really enjoyed doing that a little bit more and I was starting to gravitate to that end. I thought my career was ready for the next step. It became clear I was ready to move on to that.”
At Regis, Lamb oversaw a program that increased to 18 sports. At Bridgewater State, she will be in charge of 21 varsity sports plus campus recreation.
Bridgewater State’s teams have been successful, and under Harper’s guidance, the facilities have been upgraded for baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, football, track and field, field hockey, lacrosse and soccer.
Lamb is aiming to continue the progress that Harper made at BSU.
“We’re looking to take the program to the next level,” she said. “Obviously, we need to define what that next level is, whether that’s further into the NCAA tournament, more student-athletes, what’s the quality of the student-athlete experience.
“We don’t want to just grow for the sake of growing. But what’s the experience they’re going to have being a student-athlete at Bridgewater State and what does that mean as far as performance in the MASCAC and NCAA?”
Lamb is ready for the challenge and will be getting acquainted with BSU as the fall sports seasons rapidly approach.
“This is very exciting,” she said. “I just couldn’t wait to get started. I just think this is such a great opportunity to hit the ground running and to start with new people and a new environment.
“I was fortunate at Regis. It was a great experience for me. This is a bigger, brighter opportunity with different sports.”