Blogs and Commentary

posted 06.21.2011 at 8.05 p.m. by Clare Lochary

Cal Hires Virginia Alum Ginger Miles

In the fourth Division I women's lacrosse hire of the offseason, Cal has tabbed Ginger Miles, a two-year head coach at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) College and a former goalkeeper for Virginia. The Bears have had a rough year with the cancellation and revival of the women’s varsity lacrosse program. Miles replaces four-year head coach Theresa Sherry, who was outspoken about her displeasure with the Cal administration’s treatment of women’s lacrosse.

Miles went 32-6 in her two seasons with the Stags, and won an NCAA championship as a player in 2004. Here are a few more interesting facts about Miles:

  1. She wrote one of my favorite lax blogs ever during the 2009 season when she was a volunteer assistant with the Cavaliers. Player and/or coach blogs are a mixed bag – they’re often stiff because the person wants to be 100 percent positive and therefore never says anything interesting, or you can tell the person who’s writing it just doesn’t want the assignment, and the lack of fun bleeds through to the writing. Miles had a nice, light touch with the Cavs’ blog when she did it. (Honorable mentions in this category include Christie Kaestner for Duke in 2011 and Danny Nathan for Cornell men in 2008.)

  2. Of the four Division I women's head coaching hires in this offseason, none have been current Division I coaches or assistants. Stony Brook hired Joe Spallina, a Division II coach. Bucknell hired Randall Goldsborough, who has Division I experience but came most recently from the prep level at Sidwell Friends (D.C.). Detroit Mercy went with another Division II coach, Laura Maness from Lake Erie (Ohio) College. Miles has Division I roots, but most immediately, she was a Division III head coach. There’s a saying in journalism. “One’s an accident, two’s a coincidence, three’s a trend.” What’s four – a tradition? Anyway, it’s a quirk that seems to defy the usual career path of Division I coaches, who typically spend a few years as an assistant at a Division I program, get a head job and then try to “trade up” to larger schools and/or better-funded programs.

  3. With her hire at Cal, Miles becomes the third active African-American head coach in Division I, after Elaine Davis (also a Virginia alum) at UC-Davis and Karen Healy at Bryant University. Miles is also the fifth-ever African-American Division I women's head coach in history. (The other two are Jessica Morgan, who spent two years at the helm of Howard University, the only historically black college with a varsity lacrosse program, and is now an assistant at her alma mater Virginia, and the great, awesome, amazing Hall of Famer Tina Sloan-Green.)

    Out of 91 programs, three African-American coaches are not that much, but women's lacrosse is beating the pants off the men's lacrosse in terms of diversity. Rick Sowell, recently hired away from Stony Brook University to take the helm at Navy, is the only African-American head coach, now or ever, in Division I men’s lacrosse.