April 3, 2009

Gettysburg's Cantele Earns National Award

from press releases

WILMINGTON, N.C. - As a player, a coach, and an administrator, Carol Cantele has touched the lives of countless people in and out of the Gettysburg College athletics community over the last three decades, and  recently,  her dedication and passion were recognized by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) with the Judith M. Sweet Commitment Award, given to those individuals who have provided outstanding leadership and commitment to colleagues and student-athletes in intercollegiate athletics.

The Judith M. Sweet Commitment Award is presented annually to recognize athletics administrators who are committed to providing high level service, guidance and inspiration to colleagues within intercollegiate athletics.  Nominees include administrators below the senior ranking level that many times work behind the scenes in intercollegiate athletics departments, conference offices and/or organizations and who provide outstanding service and dedication in making a difference above and beyond the call of duty every day. 

"I am very honored to receive this special recognition by the NACWAA organization," said Cantele, "and would sincerely like to thank my colleague, Susan Fumagalli, who took the time to nominate one of her peers."

Cantele exemplifies the definition of the award and continues to be a driving force behind Gettysburg's athletics success. As a coach, she has molded the women's lacrosse team into one of the premier programs in the nation. The Bullets continually rank among the top teams in Division III and have won more conference championships than any other team in the Centennial Conference. Cantele has been honored as regional and national coach of the year several times during her tenure.  In her 17 seasons at the helm, Gettysburg is 223-76, including a 9-0 start to 2009.

Cantele was also the Bullets head field hockey coach from 1993-2002 before leaving the position to concentrate on women's lacrosse and her position as Senior Women's Administrator. As the field hockey coach, she won a record 121 games and led Gettysburg to five conference championships. 

Under her tutelage, 31 Gettysburg student-athletes have garnered All-American honors in field hockey and women's lacrosse, with three being named national players of the year. Many of those individuals have taken the lessons learned from Cantele and become coaches themselves, including Washington (Md.) College's Julika Blankenship and current Gettysburg assistant Katie Hagan.

"She challenges the players to think about the game every day, and in doing so each player pushes the envelope every time they step on the field," said Hagan. "Every time they play she expects them to be better. She has these high expectations because she sees that each individual is capable of more. Coach Cantele is the first one to hold us accountable and the first one to praise when we accomplish our task."

"Coach Cantele is always coming up with creative ways to keep the team fresh and always thinking about how we can be better," added Hagan. "Her passion is why this program continues to thrive.  She doesn't know how to settle.  I am so very fortunate to be a part of this program again."

Off the field, Cantele is constantly seeking ways to improve the student-athlete experience through her positions as Assistant Director of Athletics and Senior Women's Administrator. She instituted "best practices" that aid in the development of student-athletes into exceptional leaders who make an impact throughout campus. One program she implemented focuses on developing team captains, which builds upon the strengths of the individual to better the team.

Cantele also serves as the advisor to the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and helped put together the Student-Athlete/Faculty Appreciation Day to celebrate the accomplishments of Gettysburg student-athletes as well as recognize the guidance and leadership distributed by members of the faculty.

"Carol has worked tirelessly, much of the time behind the scenes, with our Student Athlete Advisory Committee," said Gettysburg Director of Athletics David Wright. "When Carol assumed responsibility for the SAAC, there was very little interest from our students - that has changed."

In addition to her work at Gettysburg, Cantele has shared her knowledge and experiences at a number of national and regional conventions. This past January, she and her staff were presenters at the US Lacrosse Convention where they focused on building and developing practices and drills to enhance learned skills, constructing a positive and competitive team environment and assembling purposeful practices that have form, shape, and style. 

Cantele has worked hard to advance the cause of women's athletics over the course of her career, including presenting at the Snell-Shillingford Symposium, which is designed to encourage female student-athletes to find creative ways to pursue their passion for athletics after graduation.

"Through her energy and passion for Gettysburg College and our athletic program, the students have become highly engaged and have taken the program to incredible heights," said Wright. "She mentors athletes across all teams and takes them to local conferences, regional symposiums, and national forums. Gettysburg College student-athletes have "hands on" experience when they graduate thanks to Carol's great work. "

A 1983 graduate of Gettysburg, Cantele was a member of both the Bullets field hockey and women's lacrosse teams. She helped the field hockey team to a conference championship and a pair of national tournament appearances, including winning the 1980 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Division III championship. Cantele also helped the 1981 lacrosse team to its first and only Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) title and a fifth-place showing in the AIAW Tournament.

Always mindful of her roots, Cantele is quick to reference the people that have helped her along the way in her career, including former Gettysburg coach and administrator Lois Bowers and former Plymouth State University field hockey coach Dot Diehl.

"I have been blessed to be associated with countless strong and passionate mentors in my life and my career, which have influenced me beyond words," cited Cantele.

Judith M. Sweet, former President of NACWAA, served as Director of Athletics at the University of California at San Diego for 24 years where she mentored many young men and women into careers as athletics administrators.  She served as the first female President of the NCAA in 1991. After retiring from UC San Diego, she was selected as the first female Senior Vice President and Senior Woman Administrator at the NCAA.  Sweet has received many awards and honors in her career for her commitment and dedication to mentoring, education, professional development and leadership in intercollegiate athletics.

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