After a head coaching career that spanned parts of five decades, included 831 contests across three sports, and resulted in 534 combined wins, legendary William Smith College Lacrosse Head Coach Pat Genovese is turning in her whistle. Her decision was made in consideration of her family and her desire to take on a greater administrative role. When the 2012-13 academic year begins, Genovese will still be a member of the Heron team, continuing in her role as Associate Athletic Director, but the lacrosse team will be under new leadership for the first time since its inception in 1972.
“As the only head coach the William Smith lacrosse team as ever known, Pat has created a legacy at the Colleges and in the history of Division III lacrosse that has no equal,” President Mark D. Gearan said. “With her trademark integrity and commitment to excellence, she has been a remarkable mentor to William Smith women. I am grateful that she has agreed to stay involved in athletics through continued service in the administration.”
William Smith College Director of Athletics Deb Steward appointed Assistant Coach Brighde Dougherty ’04 interim head coach for the 2013 season. Steward plans to conduct a national search to hire a head coach in the spring of 2013.
“It is difficult to articulate all that Pat has accomplished at William Smith and even more difficult to comprehend the number of people that she influenced as a coach, teacher, mentor, colleague and administrator,” Steward said. “She has built remarkable teams and helped mentor remarkable women. She has challenged those around her to move beyond boundaries and to reach higher. She has achieved great victories and has taught the lesson of losing gracefully. And, her caring and steady ways have guided us all.”
In 39 seasons at the helm of the Heron lacrosse team, Genovese posted a 385-158-1 (.709) record that included 29 winning seasons, 16 NCAA tournament bids, 11 trips to the national semifinals, and five NCAA Championship game appearances. An exceptional teacher and mentor, she has coached 94 All-Americans, including seven that were named National Player of the Year at their position.
“I’m honored and privileged to have coached the remarkable women at William Smith College,” Genovese said. “I’m extremely proud of their contributions to the Colleges; their academic success, athletic accolades, and leadership initiatives. Yet, most importantly, as alumnae, I’m proud of their continuing civic interests and work, while enriching the lives of those around them.
“I’m delighted to serve the Colleges in my continuing role as Associate Athletic Director. I look forward to this next chapter in my career.”
Heron Society President Kerry McCullough Brown ’87, a 1988 lacrosse first team All-American, expressed her gratitude for Genovese’s work on behalf of the Herons.
“Pat’s contributions to William Smith and the growth of women’s athletics over the past 40 years are immeasurable,” Brown said. “I think I speak for the hundreds of her former players when I say we have been blessed to have Pat as our coach, as a role model and most importantly our friend.”
From 1991 through 2004, Genovese’s Herons were one of the most dominant programs in Division III athletics. William Smith made 13 NCAA tournament appearances in that 14-season span and never lost more than three games in a season. The Herons registered a school record 16 wins five times (1994, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2004) during the streak and most impressively played in four straight NCAA Division III Championship games (1992-95).
William Smith competed as an independent in lacrosse until 2001 when the Herons joined the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association (the UCAA was renamed the Liberty League in 2004-05). In 12 seasons in the conference, William Smith went 73-24, capturing the regular season and tournament titles in 2003 and 2004. The Herons also captured the regular season crown in 2006 while finishing second in the standings in 2001, 2002, and 2012.
On March 31, 2004, Genovese led William Smith to a 13-6 win at St. John Fisher, becoming the first Division III women’s lacrosse coach to record 300 career wins. Today, only two coaches in NCAA women’s lacrosse have more career wins (Navy’s Cindy Timchal and TCNJ’s Sharon Pfluger).
Genovese also served as the head coach of field hockey (1971-87) and basketball (1971-77). The first of only two coaches to lead the field hockey program, she compiled a record of 123-98-5, leading the Herons to the 1987 NCAA Championship game. On the hardwood, Genovese was 26-35, including a 7-1 mark in 1971-72 which set the program standard for winning percentage (.875) that stood for 22 seasons.
Genovese has earned a great deal of acclaim for her career success. She has been named the National Lacrosse Coach of the Year three times, Regional Lacrosse Coach of the Year three times, State Coach of the Year three times, and a three-time coach in the North-South All-Star Game. She is a member of five Halls of Fame, including the US Lacrosse National Hall of Fame and the Heron Hall of Honor.