Campus News

Memorial Message from President Mills about Coach Sally LaPointe

Story posted May 08, 2007

To Members of the Bowdoin Community,

It is with deep sadness that I write to tell you of the death of Sally LaPointe, coach in the Department of Athletics Emerita and a teacher, role model, and friend to countless women at Bowdoin. Sally was 73.

Sally joined the Bowdoin coaching staff in l972, the first female coach at the newly co-educational Bowdoin. It was her responsibility to supervise the entire women's athletic program, which at that time included field hockey, basketball, squash, tennis, volleyball, and badminton. A native of Swampscott, Mass., Sally graduated from the Northhampton (Mass.) School for Girls and attended Connecticut College for Women, where she majored in art. During her secondary school and college days, she was active in field hockey, basketball, softball, and golf. She earned her bachelor of science degree in education at the University of Southern Maine.

Before coming to Bowdoin, Sally directed the girls' athletic program at the Berkshire Country Day School In Lenox, Mass., and assisted for several years in the girls' physical education program at Brunswick Junior High School.

Sally’s Bowdoin career began with the field hockey team in the fall of 1972. She led that program for a remarkable 20 years, accumulating 131 victories and winning the MAIAW (Maine Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) Championship in 1976 and 1977, and finishing as a finalist in 1981, 1983, and 1984. Passionately devoted to her sport, Sally was a member of the NCAA Field Hockey Committee, and from 1981 to 1986 served as chair. In 1978 she was selected by the U.S. Field Hockey Association to serve as a coach at the National Team Development Camp. In the spring of 1974, Sally founded Bowdoin’s women’s lacrosse program, and coached the squad for 19 years. She compiled a 103-83-5 mark and won the NIAC (Northeast Independent Athletic Conference) Championship in 1986, guiding her team to a perfect 15-0 record. Additionally, Sally coached the women’s basketball team for the program’s inaugural season in 1974-75, and was the long-time women’s coach in the squash program with Ed Reid.

Sally was a remarkable pioneer at Bowdoin, which today is widely recognized for the achievements of our female scholar-athletes. All four of the programs that Sally helped establish have developed into nationally recognized contenders.

Just last year, Sally and her husband, Mort, were both inducted into Bowdoin’s Athletic Hall of Honor. At the time, it was said of Sally that: “In a history-rich athletic program with such a great number of long-tenured and remarkably successful coaches, it is fair to say that no other individual has made their mark on so many programs in such a profound way as Sally LaPointe.”

Bowdoin is a greater place today because of Sally LaPointe’s contributions. I know that each of you joins me in extending Bowdoin's condolences to Mort and to the entire LaPointe family, along with deep appreciation for Sally’s service to our College.

Sincerely yours,

Barry Mills

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