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Director of Athletic Communications Chris Humm announces retirement

Humm steps down after 32 years on Brown Athletics staff

Director of Athletic Communications Chris Humm announced his upcoming retirement after 32 years in the position. His retirement will take effect Dec. 31 and Brown has not yet started searching for a replacement. 

Humm began his Brown career serving as both the Director of Athletic Communications and the men’s golf coach, leading the team from 1988-1993. In 2013, Humm was inducted into the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame, which honors individuals who have made exceptional contributions to Rhode Island sports. As his Brown career comes to a close, The Herald spoke with Humm to discuss his greatest experiences during his three decades on College Hill.

Herald: What are your favorite memories of your time at Brown?

Humm: Wow, there are a gazillion favorite memories. I'll just give you a couple. A lot of people don't know this, but I gave Athletic Director Jack Hayes his first job. He worked for me as a sports information intern in 1990-91 ... fresh out of Providence College. You knew he was going to be successful. 

In terms of stories, the ones that are so vivid in my mind are the two visits to the White House, with the women's crew team. Back then in that era, if you won a national championship, you were invited to the White House. And in 2007 and 2008, women's crew made the trip to the White House to meet President Bush. Absolutely unforgettable trip. ... You go through security once you get there, and then they let you walk around the grounds a little bit just to check it out. ... They set each team up in risers waiting for the president, and you have a little hole in the middle for the president to come and take a photo. Women’s crew was on one end and the Oregon State baseball team was down at the other end of the room waiting. When the President got there, we gave him a framed photo one year and then a Brown jacket engraved with his name on it the second year. But the great part about it — after you leave the President in the East Room, you walk down a spiral staircase outside to the South Lawn, and the U.S. Marine Corps Band was playing Ever True to Brown. Then, the President, with everybody sitting down on the South Lawn, gave some remarks. It was actually the first time I've ever written remarks that were spoken by the President of the United States.

You know, I founded the women's golf program at Brown. I was the golf coach and athletic communications director when I first started and came to Brown in July 1988. That's a long time ago. And as the years progressed, in my first two, three years, we had a couple of women that were very interested in playing. It was only a men's golf team at the time. So I said, ‘Hey, you guys can play, you guys can practice. If you qualify for the tournament … then that's great.’ The first female player was a woman named Lisa Neal. She was fantastic. And then, Molly Driscoll came and played for the team during my tenure. Molly played ice hockey for Brown. Her brother ended up being on the PGA Tour, so she could play. It was just great having these two great women playing for the golf team. And actually, Molly did get to compete at a match. We played against University of Rhode Island. She competed, and she actually won. So we were very happy for her.

What are you planning to do with the next phase of your life?

I haven't quite figured that out yet. It’s like, what do you want to do when you grow up? I haven't really come to that conclusion. I think I'll do some volunteer work. Maybe with the Rhode Island Golf Association. I love playing golf. And I've had a lot of time on my hands that I've never had before. So I think that's something immediately that I'll do, and then after that, we'll see how the chips fall.

Throughout your career, have you ever thought about leaving Brown before?

The answer is most likely no. I've had opportunities over the years to move on. But when I came to Rhode Island in ’88, I had two young boys. And as my career went further with Brown, I looked around and said, ‘Look, I don't want to move and mess up their educational process.’ They were established in town. They were great kids. They were athletes, and they both played  — my younger son played a lot of soccer and baseball, and my oldest played baseball and basketball. I didn't want to jeopardize their progress by moving to another job. Both boys ended up staying in Rhode Island after graduation. One is 38 years old, one's 35 years old now. And I'm still here and I have grandkids. So it's really, really worthwhile to stay in a place. I think you have a responsibility to your two kids, not just yourself, but to your family. It was the right thing to do to stay and raise the kids in town and move forward that way.

What is your favorite building on the Brown campus?

I work in the (Pizzitola Sports Center). We call it ‘The Pizz.’ I can’t say (my favorite) is Brown Stadium — 144 steps up to the press box and it’s not fun. The Pizzitola’s got a lot going on. I love the new soccer-lacrosse facility. That building was on the fast track to be ready for the beginning of last season. And they made it. I don’t know how they made it. But what a fantastic facility. Great press box in there ... just so much is in there for the student-athlete. It's going to be a great building. But going to work every day in The Pizz — that’s probably the building that I’ll miss the most.

Anything else you’d like to add?

It’s all about the student-athletes. Not everybody has the same success on the field. But you treat everybody the same, and you try to get some good relationships.


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