CHATHAM, NJ - Even if they don't know it, every single athlete and athletic team at Chatham High has the support of Ginny Leslie.
Now in her 18th year as the assistant to the athletic director, the third under current Cougar AD Bill Librera, Leslie has quietly completed all the behind-the-scenes work that keeps the games going.
The modest Leslie will be forced to take a bow on March 26 at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Atlantic City when she receives her award as the North Jersey, Section II Administrative Assistant of the Year from the Director of Athletics Association of New Jersey.
"There have been a lot of changes in Chatham Athletics over the years, but the main constant has been Ginny Leslie," Librera said. "She is Chatham Athletics. Everything that the CHS athletic program strives to be, she embodies. There are numerous athletic administrative assistants that do tremendous work, but no one is more deserving of this recognition than Ginny.
"When I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to come work for the School District of the Chathams, many people stated that I would be working with the best assistant. They were absolutely correct and I am ecstatic that she is being recognized as such and for all the work she does for Chatham Athletics."
Leslie has been the witness to the expansion of athletic teams at CHS, including the swim program, which has won five straight girls state championships.
"We've just grown so incredibly over the years," Leslie said. "We've added bowling, volleyball, fencing. We also added the swim team program and girls golf. The kids are asking about adding a boys volleyball team and that would fit in nicely because it's a spring sport for boys and there wouldn't be a conflict with gym usage."
Leslie noted that it's rare to see a three-sport athlete anymore because most are specializing in one sport all year round.
"If you have a two-sport athlete, they're spending their off season working on those sports," Leslie said. "Chatham teams are always in the running and we always do well in all of our seasons. Our track team has taken off immensely this year and they have done superbly well.
"It's a fun job and it's a great place to work. The kids are wonderful. The people you work with are stellar. It's like having the best of both worlds."