MADISON, N.J. — More than 30 female administrators, coaches, and student-athletes from across the Landmark Conference gathered at Drew University June 2-3 for the first Landmark Women’s Coaching Symposium.
Each member institution was able to send multiple representatives to participate. From Goucher, head coaches Sally Baum (women’s tennis), Megan Williams (field hockey) and Ceri Miller (women’s lacrosse) were joined by cross country/track runner Katelynn Zidanic (York, Pa./Central York), lacrosse midfielder Megan Meluskey (Wilmington, Del./Concord) and soccer goalie Lexi Rudolph (Kensington, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel).
Baum, who also serves as Goucher’s Senior Woman Administrator (SWA), played a key role in organizing the event.
“For a first attempt at this kind of programming, I thought that it went well,” she said. “The speakers were very realistic about what it’s like to enter into and persevere in this profession. Something that was emphasized constantly was the need for women to do more networking in order to help one another and advance in coaching and/or athletic administration.”
Dr. Marilyn McNeil, Monmouth Director of Athletics, opened the event with the keynote address. She offered the attendees a look at the history of women in college athletics and the growth over the last 40 years.
After the opening session, everyone broke into small groups to rotate amongst round tables to discuss recruiting, scouting, technology, communication, and practice planning. Some of the SWA’s led the discussion and participants were able to share ideas with each topic.
“Next year, I think we may focus in on target sessions which cater to more specific groups such as graduate assistants, students and young coaches,” Baum added.
After dinner, the group reconvened for an ice cream social and game show. There were plenty of educational opportunities with trivia questions centered on women in sport.
On Tuesday, the event began with a session titled, “Climbing the Coaching Ladder and Surviving in a Male Dominated Field” with Drew alum and University of Connecticut women’s lacrosse coach Katie Woods and Rutgers Preparatory athletic director and girls’ basketball coach Mary Klinger. Both women shared personal stories of climbing the ladder while also offering advice for those hoping to start a career in coaching.
Moravian volleyball coach Shelley Bauder and Williams offered the experienced coach and new coach perspective for “This is What I Know.” Both coaches relayed stories of difficult experiences as coaches and offered advice for others. Baum and Drew women’s soccer coach Christa Racine wrapped up the event with “A Happy, Healthy, and Productive Coach – Balancing it All.”
The Symposium was designed to increase the number of female coaches in athletics with the help of a grant from the NCAA. The group hopes the event’s success will lead to future opportunities to host Women’s Coaching Symposiums.
“I thought the conference was great,” Rudolph, one of Goucher’s three student-athletes to attend, said. “There were a wide variety of speakers who each brought a different history about their respective journey within the world of athletics.
“Networking is a vital instrument in athletics,” she concluded. “So this was a great first step for all of the student-athletes who are aspiring to become coaches. I hope that this event will continue to grow in the upcoming years.”