Yale Athletics

This fall, Yale Athletics Director Vicky Chun celebrated her fifth year anniversary in her position.

Vicky Chun, who has over 10 years of experience directing NCAA Division I athletic programs, is the first female, Asian American athletics director at Yale. During her tenure, Chun has maintained Yale’s reputation as a top school for athletics and has led the Bulldogs to dozens of championships and school records. 

She has also initiated social justice policies and programs, and she has expanded Yale’s approach to diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure that student-athletes have a say in University decision-making.

Before her time at Yale, Chun was the assistant volleyball coach at Colgate University, her alma mater, where she also played college volleyball. She then transitioned to be the assistant volleyball coach at Cornell University, before returning to Colgate as head volleyball coach. Her ascent at Colgate continued when she became its athletics director in 2012. 

“While I was coaching, I really enjoyed working with student athletes,” Chun said. “And when you’re coaching volleyball, you’ve got 15. I really wanted the opportunity to work with more, [including] men and women. So I took a chance and took an internship at the NCAA and absolutely loved it. Then I stayed in athletic administration throughout.”

As the athletics director of Yale University, Vicky Chun has had the responsibility of overseeing the entirety of the Athletic Department while constantly looking for ways to expand and renovate the athletic facilities. In the past five years alone, she has overseen approximately $150 million in upgrades and building construction for the Athletic Department. Instead of allowing COVID-19 to become a setback, Chun used the time to prepare and upgrade facilities for the return to collegiate athletic competition.

Although Chun has worked to improve an evolving Athletic Department, she has also aimed to preserve Yale’s rich traditions throughout her tenure.

When asked to describe Yale athletics in three words, Chun said “excellence,” “tradition” and “dedication.”

“When I came to Yale, I realized very quickly [that] Yale was the first of everything,” Chun said. “First live mascot, the first varsity race for rowing — there are just so many firsts that it’s really important that our student athletes understand what they represent. They represent over 150 years of other student athletes.”

As the first female, Asian American athletics director following a long line of white, male athletics directors, Chun was unsure of the response she was going to face when she entered the position.

However, Chun told the News that she has received glowing feedback from athletes and staff alike.

“One of my fondest memories of Vicky was when we were hosting the Ivy League volleyball championship on the day of the Yale-Harvard game [hosted at Harvard],” said Assistant Athletics Director Colleen Murphy. “She was in Boston watching the football game … and it mattered to her to get back to New Haven to be able to watch our volleyball team also win the Ivy League Championship … She values her teams and that’s just her to her core.” 

Although Chun believes in tradition, she also pushes back against Yale’s traditional focus on male sports. Chun told the News that she treats all sports alike. 

The News spoke to upperclassmen on the women’s volleyball team about Chun’s approach to men and women’s sports.

“She has been there for us as a resource,” said Audrey Leak ’24, outside hitter for the Yale volleyball team. “She’ll come to our practices, big games, and show us that our sport matters to her. Vicky shows how important it is to have female leaders in sports. Seeing Vicky in her role and how she is able to support all these teams and lead all these teams is really inspiring to me because I feel that women should be in all roles of sports.” 

Although she has completed a lot in her short time, Chun hopes to do more in the years to come. 

When asked what her goals were for her upcoming years, she seemed set on one overarching objective: constant improvement.

“I’m always pushing my staff — ‘What can we do better?’” Chun said. “I love for our staff at games to say, ‘Welcome to Yale!’ because for folks coming in, there is a certain expectation, whether we like it or not, of a certain excellence of cleanliness of organization. I think our job is to continue with that … to keep getting better.”

This spring, Vicky Chun was named one of the Cushman and Wakefield Athletics Directors of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.