As the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX) gets closer towards opening day, a key step forward has involved the naming of its head coaches. With the founding clubs in Baltimore, Boston, Long Island and Philadelphia, each team has attracted significant talent to the coaching helm.
Among such talent is Amy Patton, whose legendary coaching career has involved 23 stellar seasons with the Dartmouth Big Green women’s lacrosse program in Ivy League play. Joining Patton in this inaugural coaching class will be the likes of Jen Adams (Baltimore), Missy Doherty (Philadelphia) and Shannon Smith (Long Island).
In NCAA circles, Patton’s impact as a coach is akin to the likes of Bobby Bowden (football), Mike Krzyzewski (basketball) and Mark Johnson (hockey). Her status as a living legend also mirrors one of UWLX’s co-founders, Digit Murphy, who spent over two decades at the helm of the Ivy League’s Brown Bears women’s ice hockey program.
Such presence ensures that there will be fundamentally sound leadership on a Boston team looking to capture the inaugural UWLX championship. With a coaching resume that boasts 241 wins (116 in Ivy League play) and 13 NCAA tournament appearances, including a Finals appearance in 2006, complemented by a stellar nine Ivy League titles, she will strategically motivate her players in Boston while ensuring there is loyalty and accountability.
At Dartmouth, she has earned career double digit wins against programs such as Boston College (11-0), Boston University, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Penn, Princeton and Vermont. Of all those programs, she boasts an undefeated mark against Boston College (11-0) and has earned at least 20 wins against both Brown and Cornell, respectively.
The list of accomplished players during her tenure at Dartmouth is testament to her coaching legacy. From 46 All-American selections, 33 First-Team All-Ivy and 22 national team members, including Whitney Douthett and Devon Wills. Patton’s career also includes multiple Ivy League Players of the Year and Rookies of the Year. As a side note, the two most recent winners of the Ivy League Player of the Year Award include Kat Collins in 2011 and Sarah Plumb in 2012.
Of note, 12 of Patton’s players, including Wills, the first woman to sign a contract with the men’s National Lacrosse League and the 2009 World Cup MVP, serve in a coaching capacity at the collegiate level, extending her proud legacy.
As Patton looks to create a new legacy with the Boston team, there is no question that those who play for her will see their skills enhanced and their knowledge of the game broaden. Perhaps the greater victory will be in the fact that all will be part of an exciting new chapter for female sport in America, as professional women’s lacrosse benefits from the presence of such groundbreaking women.