WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—Williams College President Adam Falk and Dean of the Faculty Bill Wagner announced today that Lisa Melendy, former head coach of women’s soccer and currently interim athletic director, has been named chair and director of physical education, athletics, and recreation effective April 4. She succeeds Harry Sheehy, who had served as director for a decade before leaving last summer for a position at Dartmouth.
“Amid an exceptional candidate pool, Lisa stood out for her demonstrated leadership at Williams, as well as for her commitment to student athletes and her deep understanding of the role of athletics in a liberal arts college,” Falk said. “We’re tremendously excited that Lisa has accepted our invitation to lead the college’s athletic program, embracing its commitment to excellence, equity, and broad participation.”
|Melendy coached 19
one Rhodes Scholar
Melendy, who compiled an impressive record of 195-55-21 (.758) in her 17 years as the women’s soccer coach, served as associate athletic director from 1998 to 2009. She served as acting athletic director in 2006-2007 and assistant athletic director from 1988 to 1998. Melendy said she was delighted to take on this new leadership role at Williams.
“I'm honored to have been named athletic director,” Melendy said. “We benefit at Williams from having uniquely strong athletic traditions and a department whose members are committed to enhancing the education of all Williams students. Being asked to lead that important effort is both humbling and exciting.”
Hired as head coach in 1985, Melendy, 51, was named regional coach of the year three times and New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) coach of the year twice, and her teams recorded 13 consecutive seasons of double-digit wins. Under Melendy, the Ephs won the 1989 Northeast Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title and the 1990 and 1997 ECAC-New England titles, and her teams made seven NCAA tournament appearances, making it to the semifinals in 1999. Melendy has also served as assistant coach of women’s lacrosse and a women’s squash coach at Williams.
As athletic director, Melendy is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the college’s intercollegiate athletics and providing leadership across all endeavors of the athletics program, including club and intramural sports, physical education classes, fitness and recreation programs, and sports medicine. The athletic director also has oversight of all college-owned athletic facilities.
A leader within the NCAA, Melendy is a member of its Division III Strategic Planning and Finance Committee and its Student Athlete Affairs Advisory Committee, and she is a member (and former chair) of the NESCAC subcommittee on diversity. She has participated on various other national and regional committees over the years, including the NCAA Women’s Division III Golf Championships Committee, the NCAA Women’s National Soccer Committee, and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Regional All-American Committee.
On campus, Melendy is a member of the Faculty Compensation Committee, Queer Advisory Group, and Weston Field Building Committee, and her long history of service includes participation in the Advisory Group on Admission and Financial Aid, Women’s Faculty Committee, Claiming Williams Steering Committee, Honor and Discipline Committee, and the Committee on Undergraduate Life. For eight years Lisa served as an adviser to first-year students.
A member of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators, Melendy coached lacrosse at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Smith College before coming to Williams, and she was an assistant soccer coach at Amherst College, Keene State College, and Smith. She earned an A.B. from Smith in 1982 and an M.S. in sport management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1985. She has taken graduate courses in politics and education at Columbia University, and studied in the University of Massachusetts’ social justice department during a sabbatical in 2005.
The Williams athletic program emphasizes participation, and approximately 44 percent of all students take part in intercollegiate sports (36 percent at the varsity level).
There are 32 varsity intercollegiate teams (16 men’s and 16 women’s), 10 junior varsity teams, 20 club teams, and a comprehensive intramural program. The athletic program has won the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Directors’ Cup for Division III 14 times since 1996, and every year since 1999.