WEST WINDSOR: Flynn aided WW-P in time of change

By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
   Marty Flynn arrived in the West Windsor-Plainsboro school district during a time of great change.
   He’ll leave with the district’s athletic program on stable ground.
   Flynn arrived at the Athletic Director in WW-P as the district was preparing to go from one high school to two due to the continued increasing enrollment. He was part of a team effort that helped ease that transition of adding WW-P North to go along with the established WW-P, creating a second high school and a second athletic program.
   ”It was a bit tumultuous in the beginning,” said Flynn, whose final day with the district will be June 30. “There was a comfort factor with South athletically and academically and also with the other co-curriculars. A lot of people didn’t want to break that up. We were very successful athletically and with the other aspects. So there was some concern we would dilute and not have the kind of success we had with just South.”
   Flynn, who arrived at WW-P after spending time in the Hamilton Township school system as a coach and an athletic director, turned out to be the right man for the job as the athletic transition went smoothly and both the North and South programs have proved successful since becoming two separate programs.
   ”I was part of a team,” Flynn said. “I always said by year two under our belt at North we would be successful. We won the Patriot tennis division that first year with just juniors.
   ”I think when I was hired they understood I could deal with the challenge. I was a sitting athletic director. I had experience. I particularly had experience in our conference. I had a coaching background and knew a lot of the people here. And I had experience and direction with the officials groups. I really knew the players and I think they liked that I had that experience.”
   At the time of Flynn’s arrival not everyone was on board with the idea of two high schools. But in looking back, the biggest plus was the opportunities provided for the students in both sports and other avenues.
   ”I think when you look back at it we made the right decision because of opportunities,” said Flynn, who will be replace by Jean Marie Seal who comes from Rancocas Valley High School. “We decided that opportunity was the big key. Back then we had 2,200 kids in one school. So for that, you figure 15 kids on a basketball team out of 2,200. You split that and you get more opportunities. Now we would have 3,200 kids in one school. We have a good track record of success even with the split.”
   Flynn is the first to point out that the success the schools have enjoyed couldn’t have been accomplished without a huge group effort. And there were plenty of people who eased his and the districts transition.
   ”When I came in I worked with some really outstanding veteran guys that were here before I got here and I would look to them to make sure I was doing the right thing,” Flynn said. “And then at North we had a chance to hire everyone and bring them in and see them develop into head coaches. Putting a school program in from scratch is a lot of time and work but it was great to do it as part of a team. To do that and maintain the excellence of the district was gratifying.
   ”As I look back at the 15 years I look at it in five-year increments. The first five years were putting North and South on. The second five years was putting the referendum together and having that come to fruition with the two turf fields and the new gym and athletic facility at South. And then the last five years there has been the addition of the lights, which is nice. And throughout the whole time we have tried to maintain a good, solid education-based athletic department.”
   And throughout his tenure Flynn always strived for equity between the schools, which is one of the things he feels best about accomplishing during his tenure.
   ”The original idea was that we would have total equity,” Flynn said. “So they went with one (AD) and I feel really good about that. It has been total equity at both schools for 12 years to the penny. Same number of coaches, sports offered, same amount of money spent at each school.
   ”The athletic program has something for everyone. No one else in the conference has volleyball. We have a strictly girls golf program at each school. We have 29 sports in each school.”
   After spending 15 years at WW-P, Flynn will return to his Hamilton roots on July 1 as the Township’s new Recreation Director. It’s an opportunity that has him excited about the future.
   ”It is going to be fun,” Flynn said. “I am doing some things that are different from what I do now. It’s a great team. Mayor (Kelly) Yaede has done a great job. We’ll be doing some evaluating and seeing what I can do to improve things. We have great parks. We have a community center in Bromley that we’re looking to make some improvements on.
   ”Two other things under my title are Seniors groups and the Veterans. Hamilton is a town that has given a lot as far as veterans. One of my players, Eric Snell, was killed in Afghanistan. He sacrificed his life for his country. So I want to see what I can do to communicate better with the veterans.”
   He’ll be returning home when he starts the job in Hamilton. But he’ll also be leaving a place he’s called home for the past 15 years.
   ”I made some friendships here that are going to be lasting, no doubt about it,” Flynn said. “These are two great towns, West Windsor and Plainsboro, with parents who always say yes to education. And that means athletics, too. If you are saying yes to the budgets and referendums, they are all education based and that has been very gratifying to me.”