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Josie Harper Receives NACWAA Lifetime Achievement Award

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By Dartmouth

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In recognition of her outstanding achievement and dedication to the advancement of women’s athletics, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) announced former Dartmouth Director of Athletics and Recreation Josie Harper one of the Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, as released by the organization Tuesday.

Harper and Dr. Peggy Green of Fayetteville State, who is also being honored by NACWAA, will be celebrated on Oct. 12 at the Nike Lifetime Achievement and Presidential Leadership Awards Luncheon in Tampa, Florida. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed annually to administrators who have dedicated their professional careers to advancing women in sport, rendered meritorious service and retired from or are no longer directly involved in the profession. Honorees are nominated by their peers and selected by past NACWAA Lifetime Achievement winners.

Dartmouth’s seventh Director of Athletics and Recreation, Harper was the first woman to hold this position at any of the Ivy League Schools, serving in the role from July of 2002 until June of 2009.

At the time of her retirement, Harper had been a member of the Dartmouth athletics department for nearly 27 years, having served as the women’s lacrosse head coach for 11 seasons before being appointed Director of Athletics. 

This is not the first time that Harper has been recognized for her achievements. She was named the Division I-AA Administrator of the Year in 2000 and was honored as the ECAC Female Athletic Administrator of the Year the following year. 

In 2005, she was the recipient of the Katherine Ley Award, presented by the ECAC in recognition of her leadership and advocacy for women coaches and administrators. Then, in November of 2006, she was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. In all, she has been inducted into five halls of fame for her success in the sport of lacrosse.

Harper joined the Dartmouth athletics staff in 1981 when she was hired as the women’s lacrosse head coach. In 11 seasons at the helm, she led her teams to an overall record of 88-69 and 37-28 in the Ivy League. Harper led the team to its first Ivy League Championships in 1986 and 1987, the ECAC Championship in 1988 and the NCAA Tournament in 1983. 

Not only was Harper a respected collegiate coach, but she was also prominent on the national and international levels as well. In 1986, she coached the U.S. World Cup team, and in 1982 she assisted with the U.S. team that won the world championship in England.

In 1987, Harper assumed additional responsibilities as Assistant Director of Athletics before being promoted to Associate Director of Athletics in 1990. She relinquished her coaching duties in 1992 to focus on her full-time administrative role, and in June 1999 was promoted to Senior Associate Director of Athletics. Three years later she earned her appointment as Director of Athletics and Recreation.