The number 100 has a special aura around it when it is applied to sports.
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team has won more than 100 consecutive games, and there’s that iconic picture of NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain after he scored 100 points in a single game.
Regardless of what feat the number is attached to, it’s special simply because the number is not often seen.
On March 17, the Rowan women’s lacrosse team defeated Denison University, 16-7. While that score wasn’t even close to cracking triple digits, the rout did give head coach Lindsay Delaney her 100th career win.
“I think that we play a really competitive schedule, so having 100 career wins in nine seasons and five games is great,” Delaney said. “It was an exciting moment for the girls, it was exciting for me as well obviously, but it was really exciting for the program. It was a good day.”
Delaney has clearly had an impact on the women’s lacrosse program, but it hasn’t always been as a coach. She began her career at Rowan as a player for both lacrosse and the field hockey team.
Delaney lettered four years on the lacrosse team and was one of the captains her senior season. She was selected to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Metro All-Region first team twice and was also named the Women’s Lacrosse Club of South Jersey Division III Defensive Player of the Year in 2003.
Delaney also played three years for the Profs’ field hockey under then-head coach Penny Kempf. During her senior season, Rowan won the NCAA Division III Championship and was undefeated with a 21-0 record.
After her playing career, Delaney took on the role of assistant coach for the lacrosse team.
“I rolled into being the assistant coach for Mary [Marino] for three years,” Delaney said. “When she retired I applied for the head-coaching position. I’ve been here ever since.”
But that wasn’t always the plan, according to Delaney.
She said that she always wanted to coach, but never thought that it would come at the collegiate level, let alone for the university at which she starred.
Before that, though, she spent time at another familiar place: Collingswood High School.
“I went there and I did exactly what I thought I was going to do—teach and coach field hockey,” Delaney said. “Mary [Marino] offered me an opportunity to coach lacrosse here [Rowan] and I loved it. Once that happened, I realized I love this level of competition more. I miss the classroom, but this is just a different type of classroom and a different form of teaching.”
She acknowledged that it was a risk when she got the head coaching job since she had no experience as a head coach and that there were plenty of capable candidates.
But Delaney said that she knew what the team needed and how close they were to being consistently successful.
She also had played under two highly successful coaches in Kempf and Marino.
“I’ve only [been coached by] Penny and Mary, so this is biased, but Penny is the best at breaking a skill-set down and teaching it so small and then building it up,” Delaney said. “She’s a small-concept coach and I think that’s what we needed in lacrosse. I learned to evaluate what skill-set players were missing through Penny and Mary. Also just learning how to keep them to a high expectation. The girls wanted that level of expectation and they just kept rising to the challenge.”
Since her hiring in 2008, the teams have made the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament five times under Delaney and the NCAA Division III tournament thrice. They have also been a model of consistency, winning at least 10 games in all but one season.
However, that doesn’t mean that the coach hasn’t second guessed herself at points in her career.
“After every loss, you’re like ‘Oh my God, I’m terrible, I’m clearly failing at all levels,’” Delaney said. “Some moments you think about if you’re doing your best for the players and then you realize that you are.”
On Wednesday the lacrosse team earned an important, yet slightly less momentous, 16-5 win against Neumann University. For Delaney, it’s just one step closer to win No. 200.
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