2020-21 IWLCA Award Winners Honored
The Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) announced its 2020-21 award winners at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX during the 2021 IWLCA Convention presented by StringKing. The Victory Club, Outstanding Assistant Coach awards, and Regional and National Coach of the Year Awards were presented during an awards ceremony on Wednesday. The IWLCA recognized the winners of the Service Award, President’s Cup, the Tina Sloan Green Award and the Diane Geppi Aikens Memorial Award at the 2021 IWLCA Hall of Fame and Honors Banquet Dinner held on Thursday, November 18.
"It is always inspiring to celebrate the achievements of our membership each year at Convention, especially this year when we are able to meet in person again," said Liz Grote, IWLCA President and head coach at Bowdoin College. "I am continually amazed by the successes of our member coaches and having the opportunity to share their stories and celebrate them publicly is important to the growth of our profession and the sport.”
The event kicked off with the presentation of the 2020-21 IWLCA Service Award. Megan Smith, assistant coach at Lee University, was acknowledged for her contributions to the IWLCA during the previous academic year. Smith serves as the co-chair of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee and is also an active member of the All-American and the Membership Committee. Derrell Martin, head coach at Lee, presented Smith with her award.
“I am so honored to be receiving the IWLCA Service Award and to be counted among the many incredible people who have received this award before me,” Smith said. “I have had amazing mentors that have showed me the importance in giving back to the IWLCA and encouraged me to do so as well. I am the lucky one who gets to serve alongside so many incredible people who impacted my life and the sport greatly!”
The President’s Cup Award is presented to a member of the lacrosse community who has exhibited distinguished contributions to the collegiate women’s lacrosse scene during the previous academic year. The IWLCA recognized the members of the Racial Equity Task Force (RETF), with the honor this year. Jessy Morgan, an emeritus member of the association, and Mary Ann Meltzer, head coach at Lawrence Tech and a former member of the Board of Directors, are co-chairs of the RETF. During the past year, the RETF undertook several initiatives, including driving the creation of an Equity and Inclusion Statement for the association and Anti-Harassment, Discrimination, & Conduct Policies for IWLCA Recruiting events, launching a coaching symposium for student-athletes of color, creating the Tina Sloan Green Award to recognize equity and inclusion work, and funding scholarships for BIPOC prospective student-athletes to attend IWLCA Experience Clinics at no cost.
Meltzer stated, “We are very excited to receive this acknowledgement of the work the task force has undertaken during the past year. Every person involved with the RETF has contributed towards our mission of making the IWLCA a more inclusive association. We’re very fortunate to work with a great group of women and men who are passionate about the sport and committed to initiating the changes needed to ensure that we not only value equity and inclusion, but that our practices match our intentions.”
The Tina Sloan Green Award was created to recognize those individuals or teams that have actively worked to promote equity and inclusion in the lacrosse community in a given academic year. The inaugural recipient of the award is Ashleigh Gundy, currently a senior at Cornell University. Following the murder of George Floyd, Gundy showcased her passion and drive for racial justice through her documentary film featuring athletes exploring both the intersection of race and sport, and systematic flaws embedded in the criminal justice system after George Floyd's murder. Gundy, the chairwoman of Cornell’s Black Student Athlete Committee, is a member of the Women of Color in Cornell Athletics (WOCA), a leader of the women’s team’s Social Justice Committee, and the Vice President of Internal Relations for Cornell’s BlackGen Capital group. This award was previously announced on November 9.
The IWLCA’s marquee honor, the Diane Geppi-Aikens Memorial Award, was presented to Johns Hopkins University head coach Janine Tucker. The award is named in honor of the legendary Loyola coach whose courageous battle with cancer inspired the nation and recognizes lifetime achievement to the women’s college game. Tara Singleton, Associate Head Coach at Johns Hopkins, played for Geppi Aikens at Loyola and presented the award to Tucker.
Tucker is known for her openness and generosity among her coaching peers, regularly participating in the IWLCA Mentoring program and serving as a clinician at the both the IWLCA and USA Lacrosse Conventions. She is a member of the Positive Coaching Alliance Board of Advisors, the Baltimore Advisory Board for Harlem Lacrosse, a member of the Collegiate Women's Lacrosse Officiating Association’s Board of Directors, and the USA Lacrosse Long-term Lacrosse Athlete Development Model Committee. She has authored six books about coaching women’s lacrosse and is the Director of Tucker Lacrosse, which helps her promote women's lacrosse through camps, clinics and speaking engagements across the country.
“Winning the Diane Geppi-Aikens award means so much to me. Throughout my entire coaching career, I have tried to emulate Diane – my mentor, friend, and role-model. I haven't gotten close to her magic, but I do strive every day to make her proud,” Tucker shared. “Diane was the epitome of a player's coach, and I am so honored and grateful to receive an award named in her honor.”
IWLCA Award Winners
12 honorees earned Victory Club recognition for achieving milestone victories during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Seven coaches were recognized for reaching 100 career victories, while two coaches were celebrated for notching 200 career wins, and another three reached the 300-win milestone.
100 Career Wins
Jill Batcheller, Drexel University
Rachel Dell, John Carroll University*
Meghan Kelan, Rhodes College
Lindsey Munday, University of Southern California*
Lauren Scott, Meredith College*
Lisa Velnetine, Christopher Newport University
Kim Wayne, Davidson College
* Earned during the 2020 season
200 Career Wins
Gary Gait, Syracuse University
Meghan McNamara, Long Island University
300 Career Wins
Kelly Amonte-Hiller, Northwestern University*
Kerstin Kimel, Duke University*
Janine Tucker, Johns Hopkins University
* Earned during the 2020 season
Three assistant coaches were honored with the Outstanding Assistant Coach Award (previously announced on October 26, 2021). Jen Kent (Boston College), Erin Abbott-Gillin (University of Indianapolis), and Hedy Veith (Tufts University) were presented with their awards in front of their peers.
The 2021 IWLCA Regional and National Coaches of the Year for all three divisions also received their awards. Acacia Walker-Weinstein (Boston College), Jack Cribbin (Lindenwood University), Jim Nestor (Salisbury University), and Lauren Bennett (Keiser University) were honored as the Division I, II, III, and NAIA National Coaches of the Year respectively. The Division I, Division II, and Division III Coaches of the Year were previously announced in July.
Division I Coach of the Year
Acacia Walker-Weinstein, Boston College
Regional Coaches of the Year – Division I
Mid-Atlantic Region: Jill Batcheller, Drexel University
Northeast Region: Acacia Walker-Weinstein, Boston College
South Region: Jenny Levy, University of North Carolina
West/Midwest Region: Kelly Amonte Hiller, Northwestern University
Division II Coach of the Year
Jack Cribbin – Lindenwood University
Regional Coaches of the Year – Division II
Atlantic Region: Xeni Barakos-Yoder – East Stroudsburg University
East Region: Kristin Paolini – Roberts Wesleyan College
Midwest Region: Jack Cribbin – Lindenwood University
South Region: Clare Short – Queens University
Division III Coach of the Year
Jim Nestor – Salisbury University
Regional Coaches of the Year – Division III
Berkshire Region: Kristin Mullady – Springfield College
Boardwalk Region: Evan Mager – Fairleigh Dickinson University
Chesapeake Region: Jim Nestor – Salisbury University
Empire Region: Linda Michele – St. John Fisher College
Great Lakes Region: Amanda Daniels – Denison University
Metro Region: Heather McKay – Messiah University
Pilgrim Region: Courtney Shute – Tufts University
West Region: Megan Keelan – Rhodes College
NAIA Coach of the Year
Lauren Bennett – Keiser University