2023 NCAA Academy 2.0 Faculty
Laura Barnard founded BREAKTHRU Brands to empower women and her LGBTQ+ community to break barriers and close gender gaps in leadership. As a former Division I athlete, she has experienced the power of teamwork and she brings energy, openness, and perseverance to collaborative environments while motivating others to self-actualize into clear and confident leaders. While previously leading strategy for iconic, global brands such as HARIBO, Werther’s, and Skittles, Barnard understands the role BOLD brands play in creating external impact. Her background in Psychology from Harvard University and an MBA in Marketing & Strategic Management from the University of Chicago have informed her belief that great brands start with great leadership. Barnard is securing a more equitable world for those around her – one where her wife, Lindsay Gaskins, their three daughters, and powerful women like them are empowered to lead the way.
Berlo officially joined the University of Denver as its Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Ritchie Center Operations on July 15, 2022. Berlo came to the Mile High City with more than 20 years of experience in collegiate athletics, including as the athletic director at the University of Minnesota Duluth from 2013-22 (nine seasons).
Berlo helped usher in the most successful era in the athletic department’s history, a tenure that included two men’s hockey national championships, four-straight men’s Frozen Fours and seven-straight NCAA Regional Final appearances. In addition to the hockey success, Berlo’s programs won three individual national championships (track and field) and five different programs were in the top five of the national rankings in their respective sports (women’s volleyball, football, women’s cross country and men’s and women’s hockey).
In 2017-18, Berlo was named the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Division II AD of the Year. At Duluth, Berlo headed UMD’s deliberate focus on the student-athlete experience and strategic plan initiatives and led the fundraising efforts for the Bulldogs’ sport programs. He also made fan experience and engagement a top priority to help expand the national profile of the UMD athletic department.
Prior to Duluth, Berlo served 13 years in various roles at Notre Dame, including the senior assistant director for guest relations and event marketing and the baseball sport administrator.
Berlo serves on the Executive Committee of the prestigious Sports Management Institute.
Berlo earned his bachelor’s degree in sport management from the University of Massachusetts in 1999 before receiving his MBA in finance and communication from Notre Dame in 2004. He and his wife Meg have one son, Michael.
Marlene’s career spanned more than 40 years of leadership in women’s sports and non-profits, establishing and growing organizations. She had a wide range of experience across multiples sports and levels including coaching and athletic administration at the collegiate level, and general management at the professional level. Now retired, she remains an advocate and leader committed to using sports as a platform to make a positive difference in the world.
Marlene served as Executive Director of the Alliance of Women Coaches (now WeCOACH) from 2014 – 2016. She joined the Alliance from the Bay Area Women’s Sport Initiative (BAWSI), a nonprofit organization she co-founded in 2005 with USA soccer stars Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy. As CEO of BAWSI, they engaged more than 8,000 women athletes in the fight against child obesity by having them inspire more than 16,000 BAWSI girls in underserved communities in the Bay Area and more than a thousand children with disabilities (“BAWSI Rollers”), to get moving in fun, active play.
Marlene’s work in helping girls and women through sport was recognized by the International Olympic Committee with its prestigious 2013 Women and Sport Award for the continent of the Americas. Marlene was a featured speaker in Doha, Qatar at the GOALS (Gathering of All Leaders in Sport) Forum with the intent of empowering individuals to create a roadmap for social improvement through sport and launch cross-border initiatives. Additionally, she was instrumental in helping launch the first ever Japanese Women Coaches Academy. Marlene has been a featured speaker at WBCA, AVCA, and NSCAA conventions, as well as many local, regional and national events.
Marlene resides in Colorado Springs, CO with her wife Jo and spends most of her days hiking the foothills of Pikes Peak.
Becky is a 2011 WCA Class #24 graduate.
In 26 seasons at the helm of the UF soccer team, Burleigh, 55, led UF to a NCAA Championship, two NCAA College Cup appearances, 14 Southeastern Conference titles and 22 NCAA Championships berths. Along the way, Burleigh picked up National (1998) and SEC Coach of the Year (2012, ‘10, ‘08, ‘00 & ’96) honors. One of two females (and only in DI) in NCAA soccer history with 500 career wins, Burleigh finished her 31-season coaching career in the top 10 on two NCAA Division I Winningest Coaches charts:
- 74.5 percentage No. 8
- 513 wins No. 4
The 1998 season’s culmination with a 1-0 victory over North Carolina for the NCAA Championship marked a remarkable job by Burleigh, as the program she built from its beginnings used a four-year fast track to the national crown. In 1998, Florida set season marks for best record (26-1), highest national ranking (No. 1), and highest NCAA Championships seeding (No. 2). Florida captured its third consecutive SEC Tournament title and advanced to its first-ever NCAA College Cup. By taking UF to the College Cup, Burleigh became only the second female coach to lead her team to the NCAA semifinals and the first to win the NCAA crown. Burleigh also received the 1998 NSCAA/adidas, College Soccer Weekly and Soccer Buzz National Coach of the Year awards.
Those early successes evolved into the Gator soccer team being a regular among the nation’s ranked teams. Over the course of the program’s 26 years under Burleigh, Florida has:
- 22 NCAA Championships’ berths (1996-2001; 2003-2017; 2019)
- Two NCAA College Cup appearances (1998, 2001), winning NCAA title in 1998
- 14 SEC team titles (1996-2001; 2006-2010; 2012-13, 2015)
- 12 SEC Tournament titles (1996-01; 2004; 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015-16)
Florida’s 22 overall NCAA appearances is 12th among Division I programs. Among the top-15 teams in NCAA appearances, Florida is the youngest (25 seasons).
Prior to being named Florida’s first head soccer coach, Burleigh coached the Berry (Ga.) College Lady Fury for five seasons (1989-93), when she compiled an 82-23-6 overall record. During her five-year coaching tenure at Berry, Burleigh guided the Lady Fury to two NAIA national championships (1990 and 1993) and was also named NAIA National Coach of the Year during the same two seasons. Burleigh was named NAIA Regional Coach of the Year in her first season as head coach at Berry in 1989, when her squad finished as the national runner-up. At Berry, Burleigh compiled a 76.6 win percentage, as she lost only seven games to NAIA opponents during her five seasons
Burleigh has coached 22 United Soccer Coaches All-Americans, 11 NAIA All-Americans, 51 All-SEC players, 174 student-athletes on the All-SEC Academic Honor Roll, seven CoSIDA Academic All-Americans with 11 honors and 16 student-athletes honored as United Soccer Coaches Academic All-Americans.
As a student-athlete, Burleigh played her collegiate ball at Methodist College in Fayetteville, N.C., where she was a four-year letterwinner. In her senior year, the Tarpon Springs, Fla., native served as team captain and was named to the All-South team as well as the team’s Most Valuable Player from her goalkeeper position. Burleigh graduated Magna Cum Laude from Methodist in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. In the fall of 1999, Burleigh was inducted into the Methodist Hall of Fame. She earned her master’s degree from Georgia State University in 1993.
She was inducted into the USA South Hall of Fame in the spring of 2015 and the Methodist University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.
Becky became the interim Head Coach for the professional club, the Orlando Pride of the NWSL, from July-December of 2021.
Becky and Celia Slater married in March of 2018. They are pet parents to four dogs – Loosey, Rose, Buddy and Large Marge.
Betsy Butterick, The Coaches’ Coach and Communications Specialist
Betsy is a 2013 NCAA WCA graduate (Class 29)
As a former coach with experience in DI, DII, DIII, and the WNBA Betsy utilizes her unique background with individuals ready to improve and teams of all kinds – from the locker room to the boardroom. As “The Coaches’ Coach” she meets coaches where they are and supports the growth that they’re looking to make. As a Communication Specialist, Betsy helps teams improve communication effectiveness while working collaboratively to create positive change at all levels of team. Professional, playful, and with a talent for people-centric design, Betsy offers a personal and experiential approach towards learning and development. A life-long athlete, Betsy grew up playing all sports and was a competitive basketball player (and an awful golfer) at the collegiate level. She now spends her time in Colorado Springs with her wife and daughter cycling, hiking, exploring, practicing yoga, chasing sunsets and in constant pursuit of the perfect breakfast burrito.
Major Alicia Chambers
Major Chambers, a Sacramento, CA native, was born on 10 November 1990. During her time at San Francisco State University, she competed in Track and Field, graduating as a three time All-American. She commissioned on 16 June 2012. Following completion of The Basic School, Major Chambers reported to Basic Communications Officer Course (BCOC) and given the PMOS of 0602.
In July 2014, after completing BCOC, Major Chambers reported to Communications Company, Headquarters Battalion, 3d Marine Division, Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan. Major Chambers was selected to be the Transmissions Platoon Commander, Data Platoon Commander, Uniformed Victim Advocate, and Operations Officer. During this time, Major Chambers completed multiple MEF- and Division-level exercises, enabling command and control for the 3d Marine Division Commanding General in Thailand, Philippines, Japan, and Korea.
In July 2016, Major Chambers reported to 4th Marine Regiment, 3d Marine Division to be the S-6A/Platoon Commander. While there, Major Chambers was responsible for enabling command and control for the Regiment Commanding Officer during Integrated Training Exercise 1-17 and multiple exercises throughout the Pacific. In December 2016, Major Chambers was selected to attend Expeditionary Warfare School FY-17 on the Commandant’s Career-Level Education Board.
In January 2017, Major Chambers reported to the MAGTF Communications Planner’s Course, where she was awarded the AMOS of 0603, MAGTF Communications Planner. In July 2017, Major Chambers checked in to Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS). While a resident, she participated in Chess Club and the Quatrefoil Society.
In February 2018, Major Chambers was selected for Marine Corps Recruiting Command Duty. In May 2018, she reported to Recruiting Station Atlanta to begin the 36-month tour of Recruiting Duty as the Officer Selection Officer (OSO), Kennesaw, Georgia. In July 2021, Major Chambers checked into Expeditionary Strike Group TWO, serving as the Dynamic Force Employment Officer-in-Charge. She has participated in HA/DR aboard the USS ARLINGTON supporting JTF-HAITI, LSE-21 aboard the USS KEARSARGE, participated in Fort Lauderdale and New Orleans Fleet Weeks, and BALTOPS-22. She is currently the Deputy C5I Officer and Amphibious Communications Detachment Officer-in-Charge.
Major Chambers has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, Information Systems. She is a graduate of Command and Staff College Distance Education Program (CSCDEP), Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS), MAGTF Communications Planner’s Course (MCPC), Officer Selection Officer Course (OSOC) Joint Humanitarian Operations Course (JHOC), Information and Communications Managers Course (ICMC), and Joint C4 Planners Course. Major Chambers’ personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2nd award).
Marke Freeman, Author, Consultant & Sports Broadcaster
As an Author, Consultant and Basketball Analyst, Marke Freeman works with organizations, teams and individuals worldwide educating, equipping and empowering through sports.
She has explored all four corners of sports as a Professional Athlete, College Coach, Sports Broadcaster and Director of Player Development. Following her professional playing career she immediately found her purpose impacting from the sidelines at University of Missouri – Kansas City and later Washington University – Saint Louis completing her coaching career with a 75% winning record, even making an Elite Eight Appearance in the 2019 Division III NCAA Tournament.
She is passionate about three initiatives:
1.) Educating Youth through sports. This is why she founded Max-OUT Foundation in 2013. A non-profit organization with a mission to “Maximize Opportunity, Unity and Training” which serves over 600 youth yearly!
2.) Equipping World Class Leaders. As the Author of CHAMPIONS’ Creed, Marke serves coaches, teams, execs & fortune 500 companies on the essentials needed to Build and Sustain a Winning Culture. She instills within them not only the mental foundations of success and the motivation to achieve, but also the actionable strategies that will empower them to grow, improve, and thrive.
3.) Empowering Female Coaches. Marke works with Brands such as WeCoach, Hudl, NBC’s On Her Turf, Point Guard College and many others to increase representation, inclusion and enhance the culture of coaching across all sports and at all levels.
Truly living through her world, Marke is an acclaimed teacher who has helped thousands create the results they seek. But, most people know her as an ordinary woman with an extraordinary message that has shifted the trajectory of many lives.
Dr. Jen Fry
Dr. Jen Fry (she/her) is Sports Geographer, tech founder, and sought-after keynote speaker and educator. She is owner of JenFryTalksLLC, a firm that sits at the intersection of conflict and DEI. Jen understands that a person’s relationship to conflict can impact how they navigate all personal and professional interactions. Regardless of the size or scope of an organization, we are committed to skill development while consulting and facilitating dialogue with companies, nonprofits, athletic departments, teams, staff, c-suites, ERGs, and much more. She advises on best practices on using conflict, accountability, and conversation to create more equitable organizations, communities, and teams, where each person feels a sense of belonging. Lastly, she is currently moving her inclusive group travel app, Coordle, to market. Coordle creates a seamless and inclusive group travel experience by providing a central hub for you to manage all real time information, communication, and logistics.
Beverly Kearney, affectionately known as “Bev” is one of those rare visionary stars who believes that greatness exists within everyone. Her passion and gift for coaching, consulting, and mentoring has inspired individuals in various professionals to achieve their greatest successes. Recognized as one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history, Bev has been inducted to various halls of fame as a sports legend including the presti-gious International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame and the United States Track and Field Hall of Fame. Her record of seven national championships is the second highest among Female coaches and African-American coaches in all colligate Division 1 Sports. She has most recently been honored with the BET Legacy Award for Education along side the likes of Maya Angelou, Stevie Wonder, Spike Lee, Mariah Carey and the Tuskegee Airmen. Throughout her career she has received several other awards including the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for Auburn University marking only the second time in History that a woman has received that award and the first African-American in history to receive the award.
Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi
Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in the area of social and behavioral sciences in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota and the Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport. Through her multidisciplinary research she answers critical questions that can make a difference in the lives of sport stakeholders—particularly girls and women. As a leading scholar on gender, leadership and women coaches, Dr. LaVoi has published 100+ book chapters, research reports and peer-reviewed articles across multiple disciplines. Her seminal research includes the annual Women in College Coaching Report Card™ which is aimed at retaining and increasing the number of women in the coaching profession and holding decision makers accountable, a groundbreaking book Women in Sports Coaching (2016), and a documentary GAME ON: Women Can Coach (2018). GAME ON is the third Emmy-nominated collaborative film project with tptMN; the first was Concussion & Female Athletes (2011) and the second, Media Coverage & Female Athletes: Women Play Sports, Just Not in the Media (2013) won a regional Emmy for best sports documentary. As a public scholar she hosts a podcast, consults with a variety of stakeholder groups, speaks frequently around the world, fields media requests, provides thought leadership, and serves on numerous mission-driven, national advisory boards related to girls and women in sport. LaVoi played collegiate tennis at Gustavus Adolphus College earning two-time Academic All-American status and an NCAA-III National Team Championship, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees. Prior to her career in the academy, she was a USPTA Teaching Pro, an assistant coach at Carleton College, and the head tennis coach at Wellesley College. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors, biking, hiking, golf, and soaking up the sun.
LA is a 2008 WCA Class #14 and 2019 Academy 2.0 Class #3 graduate.
Laura-Ann Lane became the 13th head coach in the history of the Nichols College field hockey program in the summer of 2020. The Bison won seven games during Lane’s first complete season in Dudley in 2021, often times playing with only 10 student-athletes on the field. Eight student-athletes were named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III National Academic Squad, two of which – Mackenzie Doran and Emily LeBlanc – garnered National Academic Squad honors.
The 2020 campaign was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the spring, the Bison played four scrimmage games as Lane began implementing her style of play and system which has made her one of the most successful field hockey coaches in the nation for two decades. Off the turf, five Bison received both Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) and NFHCA Academic honors. Doran was named an NFHCA Division III Scholar of Distinction.
A three-time Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) Coach of the Year (2007, 2015-16) and the 2018 Atlantic East Conference (AEC) Coach of the Year, Lane came to Nichols from Gwynedd Mercy University, where she spent the last 13 years as the head field hockey coach, Senior Woman Administrator, Athletics Work-Study Coordinator, and Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Mentor. Lane guided the Griffins to nine consecutive championship games – including four-straight CSAC Championships (2011-14) – and six NCAA Tournament appearances.
Competing annually against opponents which increased the program’s SOS and RPI ranking, Lane mentored 89 all-conference student-athletes (45 first team selections) during her time in Gwynedd Valley with seven earning Player of the Year nods and two receiving Rookie of the Year accolades. She also coached one CSAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and NCAA Woman of the Year nominee. Lane saw 13 student-athletes grab National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) South Atlantic All-Region honors to go with four NFHCA Senior All-Stars and one NFHCA All-American.
The field hockey program at Gwynedd Mercy recorded the highest grade point average (GPA) in the conference three times (2017-19) and the highest at the college the past two years. The Griffins received three-straight NFHCA National Academic Team Awards (2017-19) and over 140 student-athletes were recognized by the NFHCA for their academic prowess under Lane, 17 of which were Scholars of Distinction.
Off the field, Lane wore many hats for Gwynedd Mercy. She oversaw all aspects of game management and student employment within the athletic department, and also established the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society Chapter at the university. Lane created and produced an annual student-athlete talent show which raised money for the Sunshine Foundation, the results of which provided 12 children the opportunity to go to Walt Disney World.
Lane arrived at Gwynedd Mercy following three years as the head coach at Roanoke College (2004-06). The Maroons qualified for the conference tournament in each of Lane’s three seasons at the helm of a program which saw nine student-athletes receive Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) All-Conference honors; she also coached the 2004 ODAC Rookie of the Year. Nine student-athletes were Academic All-America selections while five were named to the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) All-State Team.
Lane began her coaching career at her alma mater, Beaver College (now Arcadia University), where she guided the field hockey program to the postseason in five of her six seasons in Glenside, Pa. Named the 2002 Presidents Athletic Conference (PAC) Coach of the Year, a total of 23 student-athletes received PAC All-Conference honors under Lane’s watch while three grabbed STX/NFHCA Regional All-America status. In the classroom, a total of 55 student-athletes were named to the PAC Academic All-Conference squad – 17 of which later received STX/NFHCA Academic All-America status.
Lane has served as an NCAA Field Hockey Championship site representative on six occasions (2010, 2015-16, 2019-22) as well as on the NCAA Regional Rankings Committee (2009-12, 2019) and the NFHCA Regional All-America Committee (2008-12). Currently, Lane is the Chair of the Senior Games Committee and has coached at the NFHCA Senior Game four times (2013-14, 2017-18) and was a speaker and presenter at the NCAA Division III Senior Woman Administrator Program in 2020. Lane is 2007 NCAA Women Coaches Academy Graduate and a 2019 Class #3 WeCoach 2.0 Academy graduate.
A four-year member of the Beaver College field hockey program, Lane earned three Philadelphia Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (PAIAW) All-Conference nods and guided them to a pair of conference championships. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Biology before snaring her Master of Education in 2002.
Molly is a 2022 WCA Class #51 graduate.
Marrin became just the third coach in Regis women’s basketball history to join the 100-win club during the 2021-22 season, earning her 100th victory with a 68-58 road win over Fort Lewis College.
In 2020-21, the women’s basketball season was limited to only 18 contests in which the Rangers posted an 8-10 record, including an 8-8 record in the RMAC. Regis qualified for the RMAC Tournament at the end of the regular season, earning the #8 seed and matching up with the #1 seeded Colorado School of Mines Orediggers. The 2020-21 basketball season was the first athletics season since the NCAA cancelled all athletics in 2019-20.
The 2019-20 season ended with the Rangers finishing with an 11-17 record overall and a 9-13 record in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) play to place 12th in the league. Perhaps the most notable triumph during the season was Regis’s upset road win at No. 19 Colorado Mesa on Feb. 15. For her efforts, junior forward Whitney Jacob was presented with All-RMAC First Team honors. She additionally earned Academic All-RMAC First Team accolades, while senior forward McKenna Bishop achieved honorable mention recognition.
The 2018-19 season proved to be a satisfying one for the women’s basketball team, concluding the season with a 17-12 overall record and a 12-10 record in RMAC play. RU entered the RMAC Tournament as the No. 6 seed and proceeded to upset No. 3-seeded Metropolitan State University of Denver in the quarterfinals, 63-56, on March 5. Regis then fell in the semifinals to No. 2 Westminster, 67-54, on March 8 to end the season. Senior forward Shelby Espinosa, sophomore forward Jacob and senior guard Majestie Robinson all earned All-RMAC Second Team honors for their efforts.
The 2017-18 season was a successful campaign for the women’s basketball team as it finished 16-13 overall, including a 14-8 conference record. Marrin guided the team to another RMAC Tournament appearance where the No. 5-seeded Rangers took down the No. 4-seeded Colorado School of Mines Orediggers in the opening round of the tournament. For the second consecutive season, Regis met No. 1-seeded CSU Pueblo in the semifinals of the RMAC Tournament. However, the ThunderWolves got the better of RU this time, earning a 60-58 win to advance to the championship game. Junior guard Robinson and senior guard Mary Sigler earned All-RMAC Second Team honors in 2017-18. Senior guard Chante Church, junior forward Espinosa and freshman forward Jacob all received All-RMAC Honorable Mention selections.
In 2016-17, Marrin led the Rangers to an overall record of 23-8, which marked the most wins since 2006-07. Marrin also guided Regis to its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance, its first in nine years.
RU finished fourth in the conference with a record of 16-6. Qualifying for the RMAC Tournament five years in a row, the Rangers defeated Fort Lewis at home, 71-61, in the first round and went on to upset No. 1-seeded CSUP on its home court, 77-71, to advance to the Shootout Final. Regis ran out of steam in the final and fell, 53-37, to UC-Colorado Springs. Five players were recognized with All-RMAC distinction as sophomore guard Robinson nabbed All-RMAC First Team recognition.
Marrin led the team to its fourth straight RMAC Tournament appearance in her first season at the helm in 2015-16. RU finished 18-11 overall and 16-6 in the RMAC. Marrin had the privilege of coaching an All-RMAC First Team performer in senior guard Bay’lee Purdy. Purdy jumped into the all-time scoring ranks and now sits in seventh with 1,257 career points.
Marrin graduated from Regis in 2003 with a degree in communications. She was a four-year letterwinner for the Rangers, earning All-RMAC First Team honors and was twice named to the RMAC All-Tournament Team.
Liz Masen, CEO and Client Director, Athlete Assessments
On the surface, Liz Masen has an unlikely background for a career in sport. As a self-confessed ambitious workaholic, Liz graduated with an Honors Degree in Accounting and Finance, while working full-time, and was awarded the prestigious University Medal for receiving the highest academic marks at QUT. Her professional career started in investment banking, working in Australia, Asia, and South Africa as a specialist in the Mining and Resources sector.
From investment banking, she became the youngest ever General Manager of Finance for the global gas and engineering company, BOC Gases, and it was within these predominantly male environments that one of Liz’s true passions emerged. Liz co-founded Xplore, a leadership development company for women, which grew into the leading provider of its kind within Australia. After selling out her ownership in Xplore in 2006, Liz co-founded Athlete Assessments with Bo Hanson.
Now, Liz holds joint roles as CEO and Client Director at Athlete Assessments, and looks after their key clients and consultant relationships, as well as manages marketing and new business development. Her slogan is ‘when our clients are successful, we are successful too’. Liz continues her long-term involvement with WeCOACH and has been a faculty member of the NCAA Women Coaches Academies for over a decade. These opportunities bring together Liz’s two passions of sport and the leadership development of women.
Sport is a massive part of Liz’s life, both professionally and personally. In more recent years, most of her personal time in sport revolves around her two daughters’ basketball training and sitting courtside or on the score bench at their games. Back ‘in the day’, as a 100m age champion hurdler and sprinter, Liz’s High School Track & Field team ended a 60-year drought by winning the most prestigious Girls’ High School Championship in their State. Liz also has a black belt in Taekwondo, has previously coached Surf Sports at her local surf club, has been a volunteer youth coach in basketball, ran her first marathon in 2000 and her second (and last!) in the 2014 New York Marathon. Her proudest sporting moments have not been her own, instead she counts cheering on her husband to win medals at three of his four Olympics, and watching her daughters benefit from all that sport provides in their personal development, as the most special times.
Keri Sanchez is 2008 WCA Class #13 and 2019 Academy 2.0 Class 3 graduate.
Colorado College Vice President and Director of Athletics Lesley Irvine has named Keri Sanchez the eighth head coach in the history of the school’s Division I women’s soccer program.
Sanchez, who won four NCAA National Championships as a player at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and has 13 caps with the United States Women’s National Team, brings 25 years of coaching experience that spans Division I and Division III.
“We are so excited to have Keri join our team,” Irvine said. “She is a winner both as a student-athlete and coach. Her passion is to work with student-athletes who are champions on the pitch and in the classroom, and she deeply understands the tradition and potential of success here at Colorado College. Keri is a committed and dynamic team leader who will thrive here at CC.”
During her standout professional career, Sanchez played at the highest level. She notched 13 caps with the United States Women’s National Team and played in the first-ever World Cup qualifying tournament in 1991. Additionally, she played for the WPSL’s California Storm and Silicon Valley Red Devils, as well as the WUSA’s Boston Breakers (2001-02) and San Jose Cyberrays (2003), before finishing her pro career with the Los Angeles Sol of the WPS in 2009.
As a four-year letterwinner at UNC from 1991-94, Sanchez was part of four straight NCAA Division I National Championships and four Atlantic Coast Conference title teams that compiled a 97-1-1 combined record under legendary head coach Anson Dorrance. During her time in Chapel Hill, Sanchez totaled 32 career assists while earning a Soccer News All-American nod (1993), a pair of all-ACC selections (1991, ‘94), three NCAA all-Tournament (1991, ‘92, ‘94) choices and three Academic All-American selections. She also registered the match-winning strikes in consecutive national championship games with goals against Duke (1992) and George Mason (1993).
Sanchez, the winningest head coach in the history of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s soccer program with 148 career victories (2004-17), spent the 2021 season as the women’s soccer coach at Illinois Wesleyan University, leading the Titans to a 9-8-1 overall record and a tie for first place in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin with a 7-1 league mark.
“I would like to thank President Nugent, Mike Wagner, and the Illinois Wesleyan University community for embracing me as their coach this past season. It was an honor,” Sanchez said. “I would also like to thank Lesley Irvine and the search committee for the privilege of being the next women’s soccer coach at Colorado College. With the rich history of the program, from before the NCAA even sponsored women’s soccer, to the times I battled the Tigers as a player, to the championship seasons in Conference USA, I am humbled to have been chosen to continue to build on the legacy of CC women’s soccer.”
During her 13-year run as head coach at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Sanchez amassed an overall record of 148-92-30, with a 102-49-15 mark in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play. She guided the Athenas to three SCIAC regular-season titles (2007, ‘09, ‘14), five SCIAC Tournament titles (2006, ‘08, ‘09, ‘13, ‘16) and five NCAA Tournament bids, including a NCAA Sweet 16 berth in 2008, while registering National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) final rankings of No. 23 in 2008 and No. 18 in 2009.
Individually, she coached athletes at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps that secured 58 All-SCIAC, 34 NSCAA All-Region and 38 NSCAA Scholar All-Region accolades.
In addition to her efforts at CMS, Sanchez worked previously as the U.S. Soccer Training Center Coordinator for Southern California-Inland Empire (2013-17), helping to develop technical and tactical female players ages 10-14. She has also spent time as a staff coach for the Team First Soccer Academy (2011-17), working alongside U.S. Soccer legends and former UNC teammates Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini-Hoch.
From 2017-21, Sanchez served as an assistant coach at the University of Texas under her former college teammate Angela Kelly. During her time with the Longhorns, UT amassed a 45-22-12 record and earned a national ranking as high as No. 6 in two of the three Division I polls. She was pivotal in the development of 2018 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Cyera Hintzen.
Sanchez’s collegiate coaching career began at the University of Oregon, where she was an assistant coach from 1996-2003.
In addition to her soccer achievements as a student-athlete at North Carolina, Sanchez was also a part of three ACC Championship track & field teams (one indoor, two outdoor) and earned all-conference accolades in the 400-meter hurdles.
She was inducted into the San Jose Sports Authority Hall of Fame in 2010 and the East Side Union High School District Education Foundation Thomas P. Ryan Hall of Fame in 2012.
Sanchez earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education with an emphasis in health and fitness from North Carolina (1995) and a master’s in exercise physiology from Oregon (1999). She also holds a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) “B’ license, a U.S. Soccer A license, and is a graduate of the NCAA Women’s Coaching Academy and the NCAA Women’s Coaching Academy 2.0.
Julianne Sitch was hired as UChicago’s head men’s soccer coach in April 2022.
In Sitch’s debut campaign in 2022, the Maroons captured their first NCAA Division III championship in program history by defeating Williams College 2-0 in the national title match. UChicago posted a 22-0-1 mark to set a new school record for wins in a season and its .978 winning percentage led the nation. The Maroons also won the University Athletic Association title with a 6-0-1 record. The defense recorded 13 shutouts while only allowing 11 goals. Only one opponent all year scored more than one goal versus the Maroons. UChicago trailed for only 64 minutes all season out of 2,090 minutes played.
The 2022 squad’s accolades included one All-American (Richard Gillespie), five All-Region selections and seven All-UAA honorees. Sitch and her assistants were named the United Soccer Coaches’ National Coaching Staff of the Year, USC Region VIII Coaching Staff of the Year and UAA Coaching Staff of the Year.
Sitch returned to the Hyde Park campus after two previous stints as an assistant coach for the UChicago women’s soccer team. She was part of the coaching staff for three seasons from 2015-17 and subsequently rejoined for the fall 2019 campaign.
As lead assistant coach for the Maroons, Sitch was also the program’s recruiting coordinator. She devised game plans and team scouts, while organizing team and individual training sessions.
With Sitch on staff, the Maroons put together one of their most successful multi-year runs in program history. Their cumulative record stood at 53-13-1 for a .798 winning percentage. UChicago qualified for the NCAA Division III Championship field all three seasons, reaching the semifinals in 2016 and the national championship game in 2017.
The 2017 national runner-up team broke a bevy of school records with a legendary fall season. The squad set new program-best marks for wins (22), winning percentage (.917), longest winning streak (17), goals (80), assists (69), total points (229), shutouts (18), fewest goals allowed (7) and goals against average (0.29).
UChicago’s dominating play was recognized with numerous accolades during that time. From 2015-17, the Maroons received 11 total All-American awards while producing two D3soccer.com Midfielders of the Year, 12 All-Region honorees, two University Athletic Association (UAA) Players of the Year, two UAA Rookies of the Year and 13 All-UAA selections. The program also collected two CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades and three NSCAA Scholar All-America awards.
UChicago was voted as the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year in 2016 and 2017, while also garnering NSCAA Central Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 2016.
Sitch became the second woman to currently serve as head coach of a men’s soccer team within the UAA.
Since 2020, Sitch served as Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach for the Chicago Red Stars, who compete in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). She was deeply involved with team and individual training sessions, facilitating individual player development plans, and organizing player profiles for the college draft. The 2021 Red Stars squad was a NWSL Finalist and the 2020 team was a NWSL Challenge Cup Finalist.
Simultaneously, Sitch was the Head Women’s Soccer Coach of the Chicago Red Stars Reserves. The 2021 reserves won the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Great Lakes Conference championship.
Sitch previously coached at the NCAA Division I level as assistant women’s soccer coach for University of Illinois – Chicago (2018-19).
On the international level, Sitch worked with the U.S. Soccer Youth National Team (2019-present). Assistant coach with U23 YNT in France and for the Under-16 Girls National Team (GNT), which took first place in the UEFA Women’s International Development Tournament in Portugal.
A native of Oswego, Ill., Sitch was Illinois Gatorade Women’s High School Soccer Player of the Year in 2002. She went on to compile record-setting numbers at DePaul University. Sitch broke the school’s career records in points (90), goals (32) and assists (26). Her collegiate honors included Second Team NSCAA All-American (2003), Conference USA Player of the Year (2003) and First Team All-Big East (2005). She earned her bachelor’s degree from DePaul in Fitness Management & Physical Education in 2007.
Sitch played for the Region II Olympic Development Program, the Under-19 U.S. National Team, and the Under-21 U.S. National Team. She was part of the U-21 national team that won the Nordic Cup in 2004.
As a professional soccer player, Sitch was drafted by Sky Blue FC of the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) in 2009. The team went on to win the national championship in that inaugural season. Domestically, she played professionally for the Chicago Red Stars, Western New York Flash and Atlanta Beat. Sitch played on the international stage for Melbourne Victory in Australia, as well as Hammarby IF and Balinge IF in Sweden. Extending her professional career for 10 seasons.
Shannon is a 2013 WCA Class #29 graduate.
Shannon Sitch joined the EXACT Sports team in 2022 as the Senior Staffing Manager. She orchestrates college coaches attending EXACT events around the country.
Prior to joining the EXACT team, Shannon was a college soccer coach most recently at Aurora University and was the head coach at AU for 5 seasons.
In her six seasons as an assistant at CMU, the Tartans amassed an 82-19-12 overall record with six NCAA Tournament appearances and advanced to three Sweet 16’s and one Elite 8. She helped guide CMU to two UAA conference championships, including the program’s first.
Prior to her time at Carnegie Mellon, she spent the 2010 season as an assistant coach at the University of Montevallo and a season as the women’s assistant at Lenoir-Rhyne University, where she helped guide the Bears to a #8 national ranking and a 19-2-2 overall record. That same year, Lenoir-Rhyne won the South Atlantic Championship, as Sitch helped coach two All-Americans, the conference player of the year and freshman of the year.
Sitch is a 2009 graduate of the University of Tampa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and a minor in graphic design. She earned her master’s degree from Lenoir-Rhyne University in May of 2011 in business administration.
As a player, Sitch spent three seasons at the University of Tampa, where she won a Division II National Championship in 2007. At Tampa, she was part of a team that compiled a record of 52-7-6 in three seasons and appeared in 41 games. She finished her collegiate eligibility at Lenoir-Rhyne, where she was the team’s third-leading scorer with six goals and seven assists.
She went on to be a four-year member of the IMG W-League semi-pro team from 2004-07 and spent one season with the WPSL Clearwater Galactics semi-pro team in 2009 and served as team captain.
Sitch also served as the Olympic Development Program Girls ’95 assistant coach in North Carolina. Her team advanced to the 2011 Final Four in Arizona. She completed the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Advanced National Diploma during the summer of 2017 after receiving the NSCAA National Diploma for completing the course in San Francisco, California, in 2014. She also holds a NSCAA Advanced Regional Diploma (2009) and participated in the NCAA Women’s Coaches Academy in 2013.
Catapulting South Carolina into the national spotlight when she was hired in May 2008, Dawn Staley has made the Gamecocks a mainstay in the battle for SEC and national championships. Under her leadership, the Gamecocks have reached many firsts – National Championships, NCAA Final Fours, No. 1 rankings, SEC regular-season and tournament titles, SEC Players of the Year, National Players of the Year, WNBA No. 1 Draft picks, an undefeated regular season, and No. 1 recruiting classes – to name the most notable.
In Staley’s 15 seasons at the helm of the Gamecocks, highlights include:
- Two National Championships (2017, 2022)
- Five NCAA Final Fours in the last eight tournaments (2015, 2017, 2021, 2022, 2023)
- Ranking in the AP Top 25 every week since Dec. 10, 2012, the third-longest active streak in the nation (206)
- 38 straight weeks ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, just the third program to go wire-to-wire in that poll in back-to-back seasons
- Six 30-win seasons, including a program-record 36 wins in 2022-23
- Seven SEC regular-season championships (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020, 2022, 2023)
- Seven SEC Tournament titles (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2023)
- Three top-two recruiting classes (#1 in 2021, #1 in 2019, #2 in 2014)
- Nine NCAA Attendance titles (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023)
While her coaching career is in full bloom, Staley is still recognized for her body of work as a one of the most decorated participants in United States women’s basketball history. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame solidified that legacy with her enshrinement as part of the Class of 2013. The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia established the Dawn Staley Award recognizing the nation’s top guard in women’s Division I basketball in 2013 as well. Staley was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012 and was one of the final nominees for induction to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame the same year.
In 23 seasons as a head coach, Staley has led her college teams to 13 25-win seasons, a total of 19 postseason appearances (two WNIT) and 197 weeks in the Associated Press top 10, including 63 in the No. 1 spot – the fourth most times in the top spot in the history of that poll. Her .755 winning percentage (574-186) ranks 10th in the nation among active head coaches with at least 10 years of experience and 13th all-time.
Also a force in USA Basketball, Staley was named the U.S. Women’s National Team head coach for 2017-21, leading the U.S. to 2018 FIBA World Cup gold to earn USAB National Coach of the Year honors that year, adding gold medals at the 2019 and 2021 FIBA AmeriCups and stretching the U.S. Olympic gold medal streak to seven straight at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, for which she again earned Coach of the Year honors. Prior to that appointment, Staley led three other U.S. teams to gold medals – 2015 FIBA U19 World Championships, 2014 FIBA U18 Americas Championship, 2007 Pan Am Games – and served as an assistant on the Senior National Team 2006-08 and again 2014-16, during which the U.S. claimed gold in the 2014 FIBA World Championship and the 2008 and 2016 Olympics
Staley was honored by the University of Virginia Women’s Center in 2006 with the Center’s Distinguished Alumna Award, which honors a female graduate of the University who has demonstrated excellence, leadership and extraordinary commitment to her field and who has used her talents as a positive force for change. The University further recognized Staley’s standing in the community when it asked her to give the valedictory address at the 2009 Valedictory Exercises.
Following the South Carolina’s 2017 National Championship, both of Staley’s hometowns renamed streets in her honor with Columbia Mayor Steven K. Benjamin renaming Lincoln Street from College Street to Blossom Street Dawn Staley Way, which leads directly to the Gamecocks’ homecourt, Colonial Life Arena, in April 2017. In December 2017, the City of Philadelphia named the two-block stretch of Diamond Street from 23rd to 25th Street, which was the path from Staley’s house in the Raymond Rosen Projects to the Moylan (now Hank Gathers) Recreational Center where she began her basketball career, Dawn Staley Lane.
Tiffany D. Tucker is the Deputy Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator at UNCW. Tucker has established a legacy as a seasoned athletic administrator with extensive experience in the college athletics realm. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned her master’s degree from Hampton University.
A native of Petersburg, Va., Tucker joined the Seahawk staff after serving as Deputy Director of Athletics for Internal Operations and Senior Woman Administrator at S.C. State. She previously gained athletic administration experience at Hampton University and Elizabeth City State and coached basketball at Allegheny (Pa.) College, Radford, Francis Marion, and Claflin.
As a proud Tar Heel alum, Tiffany was selected by the University of North Carolina Athletics and The Rams Club to serve as an ambassador for the FORevHER Tar Heels Campaign. The $100 million initiative is the first of its kind in the country, building upon Carolina’s legacy as a pioneer in women’s athletics and emphasizing its long-time continued commitment to creating and enhancing opportunities for female student-athletes.
In a partnership with the world’s #1 antiperspirant brand, Degree, and Yahoo Sports – Tiffany was featured in a gender equity series that empowered and inspired female athletes during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four. She used her platform to support the need for equitable investments for female athletes and increase awareness of Degree’s commitment to inclusivity.
Tucker is a graduate of the UNC System Executive Leadership Institute’s second cohort and the Dr. Charles Whitcomb Leadership Institute. She was the recipient of the UNCW Kathleen Berkeley Inconvenient Woman Award, the Women Leaders in College Sports Nell Jackson NIKE Executive of the Year Award, and winner of the WILMA Magazine Women to Watch Award Education Category. Tiffany also joined a star-studded list of athletic influencers as one of Sports Illustrated’s 100 Influential Black Women in Sports.
As a speaker, strategist, and activist, Tiffany has ignited stages all over the country, empowering women, encouraging unapologetic leadership, and educating people in the areas of confidence, resiliency, and owning their power.
Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree
Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree has an impressive and storied career with more than 30 years in diverse roles. She made history in 2008 when she became the first woman to hold the permanent title of the Director of Athletics at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). Her experiences as a college student-athlete, coach, and administrator lend her success as one of the longest-tenured athletic directors in NCCU history. Ingrid is a member of four Halls of Fame as a student-athlete, coach, and administrator– C.E. Jordan High School Hall of Fame, NCCU Alex Rivera Hall of Fame, John B. McLendon Hall of Fame (CIAA), and the George Washington University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Ingrid led NCCU’s successful reclassification from NCAA Division I to Division I FCS membership, which included developing and implementing the first long-range strategic plan for the transition. Ingrid has also served in various leadership positions on local, regional, and national boards. Currently, she is the Chair of the Durham Sports Commission and a Board member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. She served on several NCAA committees including the FCS Football Regional Ranking Committee, NCAA Division II Volleyball Committee, NCAA Research Committee, and the NCAA Division I Council.
Ingrid is currently the Associate Director for Sports Performance at Duke Sports Medicine, a consultant for The Pictor Group and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, and the Executive Director for the Advancement of Blacks in Sports. She is also a John C. Maxwell Certified team member and holds certifications in DEIB, and is a certified facilitator of the 360 Leadership Assessment by the Center for Creative Leadership. She earned her undergraduate degree in criminal justice from George Washington University, a master’s degree in recreation resources administration, and a doctorate in higher education administration from North Carolina State University.
Head Coach Doshia Woods (Western Illinois ’01) enters her fourth year in charge of the Pioneers in 2023-24. Woods was named the 11th head women’s basketball coach in the program’s history on July 21, 2020.
After five wins in the league in each of her two first seasons, the program took a stride forward in the 2022-23 campaign, winning eight games to move from finishing eighth the year prior to finishing in a tie for fifth with an 8-10 record in Summit League action.
The Pioneers also improved their overall win total by two, going 12-18 in Woods’ third season in charge.
Denver opened the league calendar with a 3-1 mark after wins at Kansas City and a weekend sweep of St. Thomas and Western Illinois inside Hamilton Gymnasium. The fast start to the league calendar was the program’s first 3-1 start since 2018-19.
After losing six-straight in the middle of the league slate, Woods and the Pioneers responded well to the tough stretch, winning five of the final seven games of the regular season. After completing the season sweep of Kansas City on January 28, Denver won in two buildings it had never won in before, defeating Western Illinois and Macomb and South Dakota in Vermillion, both the first time in 11 tries.
In the Summit League First Round, the Pioneers fell victim to a piece of March Madness, dropping the contest 66-65 on a buzzer-beating triple.
Denver’s defense turned up the heat in 2022-23, led by Makayla Minett, who helped lead Denver to the 40th-most blocks in the country at 4.3 per game. Minett finished ninth in the country in blocks per game.