By Cary Shuman
Harvard is the world’s most prestigious university and its athletic program is just as awe-inspiring.
The famous Ivy League institution in Cambridge is home to colleges’ largest program with 42 sports, from skiing, sailing and golf, to baseball, basketball and squash and everything in between.
The Harvard-Yale football game is known simply as The Game.
Tim Troville, who grew up on Webster Avenue and starred in sports in Chelsea High School, is totally immersed in Harvard sports tradition as associate director of athletics, facilities and operations.
In his key post, the 37-year-old Troville oversees the maintenance, construction, and project management of the Harvard athletic facilities, along with event operations and game management.
“I work very closely with men’s and women’s hockey, baseball, and sailing,” said Troville. “We have 19 athletic facilities, over one million square feet, and 76 acres at this location.”
He is proud of Harvard’s position of prominence among collegiate athletics.
“We just added women’s rugby as our 42nd sport,” said Troville. “We’re always looking to provide a well-rounded, broad-based program for our students.”
Since Troville’s arrival, Harvard has advanced to the Women’s Frozen Four in ice hockey under coach Katey Stone. The men’s basketball team, led by coach Tommy Amaker, has won the Ivy League title and competed in the NCAA Division 1 Tournament. The Harvard football team, under coach Tim Murphy, has won three consecutive Ivy League championships.
“I love the tradition at Harvard. It’s a deep-rooted tradition with a lot of alumni support. I have the opportunity to work with some of the brightest students in the world who also have goals of being champions on and off the court and ice. We have a great collection of people in our athletic department and that’s what makes this place special.”
One of his best memories was when ESPN’s College Game Day came to Cambridge for the 2014 Harvard-Yale game.
“Harvard won the game on the final drive,” said Troville. “It was an incredible experience. Harvard Stadium was sold out with 35,000 fans. Being part of The Game is really a special experience that is tough to describe.”
The son of Patrick and Karen Troville, he attended the Mary C. Burke School and the Williams School. At Chelsea High School, he became an athletic and academic superstar, setting the foundation for his current career in sports administration.
After playing Little League Baseball and being coached by Ray Deleidi and his father, Patrick, he became the starting catcher as a freshman for the Chelsea High baseball team.
“I came in the third inning of my first game at Chelsea High and started every game after that,” recalled Troville.
Playing varsity baseball for coaches Mike Lush and Fito Ramirez, Troville was an unprecedented four-time Commonwealth Athletic Conference All-Star and MVP in his senior season. His play at catcher in high school attracted the attention of Major League baseball scouts. At 6 feet, 2 inches, he played football in his junior and senior years and helped Chelsea win its first and only Super Bowl in 1995. He also earned a spot on the varsity basketball team.
“I learned so much from coaches Joe Gaff (football) and Jack Niven (baseball),” said Troville.
But it was baseball that opened doors for Troville. A potent hitter with a great glove and arm, Troville set his sights on playing Division 1 baseball in college.
“I always had dreams of going to college – I’m the first in my family to go one college,” said Troville. “I remember watching the College World Series every year and I thought that would be something that I would love to go and do that. Everything I did was working toward that goal.”
During his high school career, he also played in the Chelsea Youth Baseball League. “Those were some of my favorite coaches, Roy Butt, Paul Nowicki, and John Cunningham. We won a championship with the Marlins and Ryan Hilke and Robyn Mazin had huge years for the team.”
Troville was an honor roll student who was ranked third in his graduating class. He turned down a full scholarship to Boston University and chose Northeastern University.
“I played basketball for coach Jack Niven, and he was a Northeastern graduate and he spoke so highly of the university,” said Troville. “The cooperative education program at Northeastern is outstanding and it really prepared me for my future. I was also introduced to athletic administration at Northeastern.”
He became Northeastern’s starting catcher, He played in the Beanpot at Fenway Park and was a teammate of Carlos Pena, a No. 1 draft pick of the Texas Rangers.
“I think we all knew we weren’t on the same level as Carlos,” said Troville. “We recognized his greatness right away. What a talented ballplayer he was. The best pitcher I ever faced was Steve Langone, a lefty from Reading and Boston College. The best pitcher I ever caught was Greg Montalbano, a hard-throwing lefty from Westboro who was named the prospect of the year in the Red Sox organization. He was one of the nicest people I ever met.”
Troville graduated from Northeastern with a degree in Communications and took a job as assistant baseball coach at his alma mater. He also worked in athletic administration and event management at the university.
Troville moved on to Indiana State University where he took an assistant athletic director’s position. He worked at ISU until 2008 when he became assistant athletic director of operations, facilities and event management at Tufts University in Medford.
He worked at Tufts until 2013 when he received a job offer from Harvard.
“I’m so happy to be working at Harvard,” said Troville. “I’ve always had a goal to be a Division 1 athletic director but one thing I’ve learned along the way is to learn as much as I can and wait for the timing to be right. One thing I’ve never done is overlook the position that I’m in at the present time. If I can just do my best day in and day out, I hope to acquire enough knowledge and meet enough people that one day I have an opportunity in Division 1.”
Troville, who lives in Canton with his wife, Da
nielle, and their two sons, Timothy, 3, and Donovan, 1, will be back at his alma mater in Chelsea on May 26. CHS director of athletic Frank DePatto invited Troville to be the guest speaker at the annual awards night program.
“I remember what a terrific scholar-athlete Tim was at Chelsea High School,” said DePatto. “He’s a great role model for Chelsea kids. We’re honored to have him at our awards program and I look forward to hearing his remarks to our student-athletes.”