By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/5/11
Old Dominion University women’s lacrosse head coach Sue Stahl – a coaching legend from Philadelphia and a US Lacrosse Hall of Famer – announced her retirement Thursday after 21 seasons at the helm of the Lady Monarchs program.
“I am very proud of the student-athletes, not only for their performances on the field, but also academically,” said Stahl, an Upper Darby High and Ursinus College alum who later helped Temple win three national championships as an assistant. “I’ve had an unbridled passion for coaching and my 21 years as the coach of the women’s lacrosse team for Old Dominion University has been outstanding. I wish everyone well and I’m looking forward to my retirement.”
The winningest lacrosse coach in school history with 142 career wins, Stahl leaves behind a storied legacy, not only at ODU, but on the national scene as well.
Stahl led the Lady Monarchs to three Colonial Athletic Association regular-season championships (1993, 1995, 2003) and a tournament championship in 1995. Among the student-athletes she coached were 1993 CAA Player of the Year, Barb DiArcangelo (Phoenixville High grad), 2001 CAA Rookie of the Year Suzanne Wosczyna (Phoenixville), who ranks 13th in the NCAA in career points with 325.
Stahl was the head coach of the United States National Lacrosse Team from 1988-2005, winning four World Cup Lacrosse Championships (1988, 1993, 1997 and 2001) and earning runner-up honors in 2005. She also was an assistant coach under Tina Sloan-Green at Temple and helped the Owls win national titles in 1982 (AIAW), 1984 and 1988 (both NCAA).
Stahl was recognized on the All-Century Women’s Lacrosse team in 1999, perhaps the biggest honor anyone could receive, but it is just one of many coaching distinctions that she has earned throughout her career. Five times, in 1995, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2009, Stahl was named the CAA Coach of the Year and in 1997 she was awarded the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Association Coach of the Year honor.
At Upper Darby, Stahl starred in field hockey, basketball and lacrosse. She continued playing all three sports at Ursinus, along with softball, and was a member of the U.S. national teams in field hockey and lacrosse in the mid-1960s.
Before continuing her coaching career on the college level, Stahl taught physical education and health, and coached field hockey, basketball and lacrosse at Lansdowne-Aldan (now Penn Wood). She was named to the Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1998 and both the Virginia Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the U.S. Lacrosse National Hall of Fame in 1999.
Additionally, she was inducted into the Delco Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and was named the Bob Finucane Memorial Achievement Award winner in 2011. She received the Diane Geppi-Aikens Award from the IWLCA for lifetime achievement and commitment to the sport and the Nancy Chance Award by U.S. Lacrosse in 2005.
Stahl said in an exclusive interview with Phillylacrosse.com that she first learned to play lacrosse at Drexel Hill Junior High. She began coaching lacrosse at Ursinus in the 1970s and later accepted a position as assistant coach under Sloan-Green in 1981.
Her stint at Temple saw the Owls become the NCAA’s premier program, using mostly players from the Philly area.
“The girls were mostly local and some were from New Jersey,” she said. “They worked very hard and were great competitors. They never backed down and faced every challenge.”
Stahl first saw the World Cup in 1986 when it was held at Swarthmore. She happily accepted the position as head coach two years later and held it for four terms of four years after that.
She said it was a tough decision to retire, but felt the timing was right. She also praised the many women she saw graduate at ODU.
“It was my time,” she said. “My husband retired in April and I had been thinking about it. I have a great group of seniors for next year and they should do really well, but I wanted to retire when I still felt great.
“I certainly had the passion for coaching college age players. It’s a wonderful age to work with and to see a young lady graduate after four years. I enjoyed seeing the players mature as students and people. It was fun to be a part of it.”
A national search for a head coach will begin immediately.