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Harper wins Katherine Ley award

Honor recognizes commitment to women coaches and administrators

Commissioner of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Phil Buttafuoco announced on May 31 that Jo Ann "Josie" Harper, Dartmouth's Director of Athletics, has been selected as the Katherine Ley Award recipient. Harper will be formally honored on Sept. 25 at the honors dainner presented by Jostens during the ECAC Convention and Trade Show presented by Clark Companies, Clough Harbour Sports, Musco Lighting and Sportsfield Specialties.

Josie Harper
Josie Harper

Established in 1983 for the purpose of honoring an eastern woman athletics administrator who exemplifies the values and characteristics displayed by Katherine Ley, the award recognizes someone of demonstrated leadership ability who is a proponent of women's issues and a role model for women coaches and administrators.

Harper, a prominent figure in collegiate athletics and a highly regarded coach, assumed the leadership role for Dartmouth athletics in June 2002. Dartmouth's seventh athletic director and the first woman to hold this position both at Dartmouth and in the Ivy League, Harper first joined the staff in July, 1981, as head coach of women's lacrosse.

In July 1987, she assumed additional responsibilities as assistant director of athletics for intercollegiate programs, where she developed and administered recruiting support for coaches and served as liaison to the Dartmouth Athletic Sponsor Program, among other duties. In July 1990, she was promoted to associate director of athletics while continuing to coach women's lacrosse.

Harper was promoted to Senior Associate Director of Athletics in June 1999 and in that capacity was responsible for all aspects of long-range planning.

Harper also represented Dartmouth on committees and national and regional organizations, including the ECAC and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. She is a past member of the ECAC executive board, and served on Dartmouth's Committee on Standards from 1996-2002. In 1992-93, she chaired the College's Committee on Gender Equity.

Throughout her athletic coaching and administrative career, Harper has been a proponent of gender equity. Prior to joining Dartmouth, she enjoyed a distinguished coaching career at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., and Penncrest High School in Media, Pa. As the Dartmouth coach, she took the women's lacrosse team to new heights, guiding the Big Green to Ivy League championships in 1986 and 1987, the ECAC championship in 1988 and the NCAA tournament in 1983. She has figured prominently as a lacrosse coach on the national and international level. In 1986, she coached the U.S. World Cup team, and she assisted with the 1982 United States team that won the World Championship in England. She was inducted into the New England Lacrosse Hall of Fame in June, 2000, the Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame in Feb., 2002, and the Sturzebecker Foundation Hall of Fame of her alma mater, West Chester University, in 2003. Harper was honored as the ECAC female athletic administrator of the year in 2001.

In 1966, Katherine Ley was one of the founders of the Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, the forerunner of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. After serving for 12 years at the State University of New York at Cortland as chair of physical education and athletics for women, Ley became athletics director at Capital University in Ohio. At the time, she was one of only two women athletics administrators heading both men's and women's athletics.

The ECAC's membership includes 324 Divisions I, II and III colleges and universities from Maine to North Carolina. The conference provides services including administration of 111 championships and events in 35 men's and women's sports, assigning officials in 15 sports, coordinating awards and administration of affiliate organizations, conventions, meetings, marketing, officiating, playing leagues, public relations and special events. The ECAC serves as the primary conference for selected members in the sports of men's and women's ice hockey, men's lacrosse, men's gymnastics, wrestling, fencing and rowing.

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Last Updated: 12/17/08