Carol Cantele

Head women’s lacrosse coach Carol Cantele (’83). third from left, poses with fellow staff members from Gettysburg College following her induction into the IWLCA Hall of Fame on Nov. 18.

DALLAS, Texas – Gettysburg College head women’s lacrosse coach Carol Cantele ’83 has spent more than three decades blazing a trail through the lacrosse world, guiding young women to reach their dreams both on and off the field on play. On Nov. 18, that passion for influencing and leading others was put on full display as Cantele was inducted into the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Hall of Fame in conjunction with the IWLCA Convention at the Hilton Anatole.

Cantele was one of three new inductees in the IWLCA’s fourth Hall of Fame class, joining former coaches Janet Smith and Sue Stahl. Combined, the three women won a total of 10 national titles and coached dozens of national players of the year, All-Americans, and U.S. women’s national team members.

“The combined resume of the honorees in this class is impressive and inspiring,” said Liz Grote, IWLCA President. “I think it’s important for our members to be able to see what a ‘hall of fame’ caliber career looks like and hear about the type of impact these coaches have had on their players and their peers.”

“It is an incredible honor to join some absolute legends in the IWLCA Hall of Honor,” noted Cantele. “Most of all it is a testament to the countless people that play a HUGE role in the program’s success – the talented student-athletes, the loyal and devoted coaches, the parents and alumni, and of course the athletics staff.”

Cantele has spent most of the last four decades proudly wearing the orange and blue, first as a student-athlete in lacrosse and field hockey and later as the coach of both sports. She helped the field hockey team win the institution’s first-ever national championship in 1980.

“During Carol’s time as a student-athlete at Gettysburg College, she was influenced by trailblazers in the industry, the likes of her coach Lois Bowers and Grace Kenney,” said former Director of Athletics David Wright, who worked with Cantele from 1993 to 2018. “Carol took from them and learned from them, and has a great desire to influence the young ladies she now coaches to be trailblazers in their own right. To me that is extraordinary for anyone to have that kind of impact.”

Since taking over Gettysburg’s helm from her former mentor Lois Bowers in 1993, the former Carol Daly has developed the Bullets into one of the premier lacrosse programs in the nation. The team has won nearly 80 percent of its contests over the last three decades with Cantele compiling a record of 427-111.

The Bullets have been to the NCAA Division III playoffs 19 times since 2000, including a stretch of 18 consecutive appearances from 2002-19. In 2011, Gettysburg claimed the program’s first NCAA Division III title by defeating Bowdoin 16-5 in the title game. The Bullets repeated as national champions in 2018 and 2019, beating The College of New Jersey and Middlebury College, respectively. Cantele led Gettysburg to the first of its conference record 12 Centennial Conference championships in 2000.

Even while reaching the pinnacle of her profession, Cantele remained grounded in her roots as an educator and guide. She has mentored many student-athletes and assistant coaches who have remained linked to the lacrosse world, including more than a few that have faced off with their former coach from the opposing sideline.

“It’s challenging coaching against Carol,” said Muhlenberg College Head Coach and former Gettysburg lacrosse captain Kristen Stuckel ’95. “It’s a bittersweet thing to coach against one of your mentors. I think what makes a great mentor is it’s somebody that will not give you the answers, but will help you find your own answers and that’s what she does. She listens, she supports, she inspires, she speaks with action, and those are all great things she continues to give to lacrosse and to everybody’s lives that she’s touched.”

Cantele has been named IWLCA Division III Coach of the Year four times (2006, 2011, 2017, 2018) and Metro Region Coach of the Year 10 times. Her players dot the national lists on an annual basis with 64 All-America citations from the IWLCA and Inside Lacrosse over the last 29 years. Additionally, eight Bullets have been named IWLCA Division III Player of the Year at their respective positions. In 2018, Steph Colson ’18 was lauded as the inaugural NCAA Division III Player of the Year. Cantele has also coached 112 all-region selections, 15 conference players of the year, 156 all-conference honorees, three Academic All-Americans, and two Elite 89 Award winners.

“I envy anybody that gets the opportunity to work with her,” said former All-American Katie Hagan ’07, who also coached with Cantele as an assistant and against Cantele as the former head coach at Ursinus College. “I think that anybody that gets to play for her is lucky beyond years, and it’s probably not until later that they even realize how lucky they are.”

Cantele, who also serves as Gettysburg’s Senior Woman Administrator and Assistant Director of Athletics, compiled a school-record 121 coaching victories and five conference championships in 10 seasons with the Bullets’ field hockey program. Barb Jordan has coached alongside Cantele as an assistant lacrosse coach since succeeding her at the field hockey helm in 2002.

“She just takes little pieces of everything that she’s learned and puts it into her coaching and brings out the best in all those around her,” noted Jordan. “The word that comes to mind is belief. She believes in them, in the team, in each individual with all her heart and in turn, I think they believe in her.”

Prior to arriving in Gettysburg, Cantele was the head coach at Plymouth State University where she went 24-23 with the lacrosse team. In 33 years as a head coach, she has accumulated 451 victories, leaving her third all-time behind Hall of Famers Sharon Pfluger (541) and Cindy Timchal (535) among NCAA coaches.

Her commitment to the sport has been recognized many times in her three-plus decades. In 2009, she was awarded the Judith M. Sweet Commitment Award by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA), given to those individuals who have provided outstanding leadership and commitment to colleagues and student-athletes in intercollegiate athletics. In the fall of 2016, she was given the Diane Geppi-Aikens Memorial Award, one of the highest honors given by the IWLCA. The award recognizes lifetime achievement to the women’s college game.

Cantele also served as head coach of the U.S. Developmental Team and she served as an assistant coach with Team USA during its run to the gold medal at the 2013 World Cup.

Despite everything she’s accomplished, Cantele has always been quick to thank the efforts of those that have made her successes possible. Many of those people made the trip to Texas to see their friend and mentor take the stage at the Hall of Fame, including Jordan, assistant coach Charlotte Cunningham, and Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Mattia. Dave Wright also made the trip along with his wife Cindy Wright, who is the Director of Student Success and Well-Being at Gettysburg. Cantele’s sister, Kim Daly, and husband, Mike Cantele ’88, who is the Bullets’ head athletic trainer, were also present, along with a number of former players and coaches.

“Truly this was the BEST part as this honor is all of theirs as well,” stated Cantele. “Having my ‘people’ in attendance allowed me the opportunity to thank them in front of our professional organization as they are all truly the ROCK STARS of our program. We have had an amazing run together and they have played a massive role in shaping me into the coach that I am today.”

Since arriving on the Gettysburg campus in the fall of 1979, Cantele has managed to lift the identity of the institution in each endeavor she undertakes, whether it was as a sweeper on the 1980 field hockey national championship team, as the head coach of a national champion lacrosse team, or as an administrator seeking to promote better well-being for the student-athletes. She has created an unparalleled legacy at Gettysburg, one that has been cemented in history within the IWLCA Hall of Fame.

“Carol Cantele is a Gettysburg College hero and I am so proud to know her,” stated former College President Janet Riggs ’77. “I’m so proud of everything she’s accomplished here at Gettysburg College, and so grateful for all that she has done for our students and our college. I want to offer her a tremendous congratulations on her induction into the Hall of Fame.”

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