This has already been a historic season for the Penn women’s lacrosse program, and not only because the Quakers are off to a best-ever 12-1 start and are the Ivy League champions.
Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, eighth-year Head Coach Karin Brower can now add yet another distinction to her list of accomplishments: the first endowed coaching position in a women’s sport at Penn. As a result, both the men’s and women’s lacrosse head coaching positions are now endowed, a first for Penn Athletics.
Overall in the Ivy League, there are just seven other examples of head coaching positions being endowed for both the men’s and the women’s programs in a particular sport. Penn is the second Ivy institution to have its women’s lacrosse head coach position endowed (along with Yale), and it is the first to have both the men’s and women’s lacrosse head coaching positions endowed.
The $1.5 million gift from a men’s lacrosse alumnus brings the number of endowed head coaching positions at the University to eight. In addition to both lacrosse programs, the others are in baseball, men’s basketball, football, men’s soccer, men’s tennis, and men’s track & field/cross country.
“This is truly a significant gift,” said Penn Athletics Director Steve Bilsky. “Not only does it signify the continued growth of women’s sports at Penn, but it advances one of the Department’s highest priorities: building our head coaching endowments.”
For the donor—a father of four, including three lacrosse-playing daughters—the gift grew out of his appreciation for what he gained from participating in lacrosse at Penn as well as a desire to ensure that young women today have the opportunity to compete at the very highest level.
“Penn is fortunate to have a number of high-caliber coaches,” the donor said. “However, it needs to be able to retain exceptional people like Karin Brower. Achieving stability in the coaching staff is absolutely essential, not only to building a quality program but also to ensuring the quality of the team members’ experience.
“By building this endowment, we send an important message about Penn’s strong commitment to the sport and to achieving excellence across the board,” the donor added.