Some people have such a lasting and deep impact through their work that they become nearly synonymous with their work. Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Pat Genovese is one of those people.
For nearly 44 years, Genovese has served the Colleges as a teacher, coach, mentor, administrator and fundraiser. She recently announced that on June 4, 2015, she will retire from a career marked by dedication and excellence.
“Pat has made a discernable mark on the students she taught, the athletes she coached, and the coaches she mentored,” said William Smith Director of Athletics Deb Steward. “Her legacy is in our hearts and in the stories we tell as well as in the success of our William Smith teams.”
Genovese will be recognized for her leadership and service with a joint citation from the William Smith Alumnae and Hobart Alumni associations as well as a citation from the Hobart and William Smith Board of Trustees. William Smith Athletics and the Heron Society will honor her at the Heron lacrosse game against Rensselaer on Saturday, April 25. Both head coaches in that game—William Smith’s Brighde Dougherty ’04 and Rensselaer’s Leslie Khachadourian DeLano ’00—played lacrosse for Genovese at William Smith. A committee is also planning a reception honoring her during the 2015 HWS Reunion Weekend, June 5-7.
From 1972 to 2012, Genovese was the head coach of the William Smith lacrosse team. Over the course of 39 seasons, she compiled an overall record of 385-158-1 (.709), notching 29 winning seasons, 16 NCAA tournament berths, 11 trips to the NCAA Semifinals, and five NCAA Championship game appearances. Genovese coached 94 All-Americans, including seven student-athletes that were named their position’s National Player of the Year.
When Genovese retired from coaching only two coaches in NCAA Women’s Lacrosse history had more career wins. Today, her 385 wins rank fourth across all divisions (third in Division III) while her winning career winning percentage is 10th in Division III history.
Genovese has been inducted into five halls of fame, including the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame (Class of 2009) and the Heron Hall of Honor (Class of 1999). She was named the NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year three times while also earning Regional Coach of the Year and State Coach of the Year honors three times each. Genovese was also chosen to coach in the North-South Senior All-Star game three times.
When she started at Colleges in 1971, Genovese was one of four staff members in the William Smith Department of Physical Education, Intercollegiate Athletics, and Dance. The Herons competed in six sports, three of which were coached by Genovese, who also served as coordinator of the intercollegiate athletic program and as a physical education instructor.
While Title IX had a tremendous impact on the growth of women’s athletics across the nation, it was pioneering women on campus that spurred that growth. Genovese was a tireless advocate for greater financial support, increased staffing, athletic training coverage, equitable facilities, and additional sport opportunities for William Smith women.
In addition to her lacrosse coaching career, Genovese also served as the William Smith 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.
“Pat has been an inspiration and mentor, empowering countless young women to be stronger versions of themselves,” said Dougherty. “She taught her athletes how to preserve both on and off the field while always having fun and never losing site of their personal goals. She will be greatly missed but her legacy will live on for generations to come.”
For the past two years, Genovese has served the Colleges as a director of leadership giving. In that role, she encouraged others to support the annual fund, and the Scandling Trust initiative. Additionally, Genovese led efforts to establish an endowment fund for William Smith Athletics. That fundraising endeavor honors the upcoming 35th anniversary of William Smith athletic teams being known as the Herons.
“We were fortunate to have Pat with us over the past two years,” said Vice President of Advancement Bob O’Connor. “With the depth and breadth of her relationships across decades of athletes and her reach across the greater alumni and alumnae community, she was an exceptional asset to advancing our work and we will miss her greatly.”
For more information on making a gift in support of the Scandling Trust or the William Smith Athletics Endowment, contact Associate Vice President for Advancement Leila Rice at (315) 781-3545.