Pam Lutz’s retirement celebrates more than four decades of service to GFS as a beloved coach and physical education teacher, twenty of which she also served as the Girls Athletic Director. Throughout her career, Pam earned numerous accolades but what she is most proud of are the connections she made with students.
“It’s always been all about the relationships with the athletes. When you’re in the thick of things coaching, it’s the relationships that you build with the athletes that are the most memorable. It’s not the championships; it’s about the process. It’s not about the wins or losses or whether you achieve a goal or not. It’s about the athletes that you work with, teach, and build relationships with,” said Pam.
Since her first year on campus in 1982, Pam was a mainstay with the Tiger Field Hockey program, guiding the varsity team until 2000, and leading the Tigers to 14 Friends Schools League Championships – the most in FSL history. For many years, Pam steered the middle school field hockey program, where she welcomed and nurtured athletes new to the sport, allowing them to fail safely and feel 100% supported as they learned the game. Many of GFS’s top field hockey players were coached by Pam and in turn, developed a love for the fast-paced and intricate game.
This past fall, Pam was honored with a golden stick – a celebration of greatness in the sport – by her players and fellow coaches for her devotion to Tiger Field Hockey.
Pam honed her field hockey expertise as an elite athlete at West Chester University under the legendary field hockey coach Vonnie Gros. She also played badminton for the Golden Rams.
Throughout her teaching career, Pam taught hundreds of eager young movers with an attention to every detail. She infused students with the confidence to try new skills, navigate challenges, resolve differences respectfully, and find joy in movement. Pam is a master teacher.
“Although there are endless examples of how Pam knew exactly what everyone needed throughout the day, months and years, what I feel truly is the legacy Pam leaves behind is the need, want, and passion to do whatever it takes to do it right," said Director of Physical Education Anya Erz.
“From day in and day out, Pam ensured that lessons were developmentally appropriate and met the students’ energy for the day. She set up thousands of gyms – where you can always hear the screams of joy coming from students as they participate in Pam's class. She fought to ensure equal opportunity for girls and women in sports and the workplace; when equality was in question, Pam was an advocate, ally, and trailblazer.
“Pam’ s ability to read other's emotions and be a confidant to me, the PE department, and all others around the school will be greatly missed. Her level-headed and truth-telling always resonated with me and is something I hope to one day hold as well as Pam does.
“Although Pam received and deserved many accomplishments and accolades, the biggest compliment I can thank Pam for is her 40 years of love and care to every student at GFS and ensuring every student had a voice,” added Erz.
“As the Director of Girls Athletics for 20 years, Pam was the ultimate promoter of equity and access in sports. There is a leader in place or an expert teacher in a role that Pam hired, coached, or mentored in every corner of the school. Mentoring came naturally to Pam: in each situation, she asked the right questions, demanded truthfulness, and had high expectations, all while supporting individuals to become a better version of themselves,” said Director of Athletics Katie Bergstrom Mark.
During Pam’s tenure as Athletic Director, GFS added Girls Soccer and Softball and as well as solidified pathways for Lower School students to be introduced to numerous sports through the Girls Sports Camp, which she created. This foundational camp still operates with the same philosophy as when it started: providing the opportunity for girls to try different sports in a positive and low pressure environment, with mentorship from our high level Upper School athletes and coaches. Girls Sports Camp introduced hundreds of campers to their love of sports.
More so, Pam was at the helm of the Softball, Lacrosse, and Basketball programs, serving at the Varsity, JV, and Middle School levels.
When Pam reflects on her time as a coach and teacher, she beams. She’s quick to share that again, it’s the simple things and connections with students that have the experience so meaningful.
“When you teach and coach, there is often that moment – that little snapshot in time – when a player catches the ball or gets a skill that makes it all worth it. It happened in class just the other day,” said Pam with a huge smile.
Not loving the spotlight, Pam is quick to reflect praise on the people who have made her tenure so successful.
“I could go on and on with all the people who have been there for me. All great coaches have a whole bunch of people to make it all work. It’s not me, it’s the whole department. All the coaches I’ve worked with have been fantastic! It’s the relationships with these coaches – and the students – that will be hard to leave. But it’s time.”
Instead of heading to Smith Gym at the start of her day, or Fields in the afternoon as she’s done since the early 80’s, Pam’s schedule will look much different.
“I’m going to get back into golfing, play pickleball, visit my family, do more gardening, and read books. Things that retired people look forward to! I told some of the student-athletes that I’ll try to come back and watch a game or two, so I will. I’ll miss being here. It’s been fun.”