Harvard Athletics Creates The Ragatz Family Harvard Women’s Coach of Excellence

Harvard Athletics Creates The Ragatz Family Harvard Women’s Coach of Excellence

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard Athletics has announced the creation of The Ragatz Family Harvard Women's Coach of Excellence, adding to a rich tradition of head coach distinctions.

Endowed by Kendra and Erik Ragatz, this title is to be awarded to an outstanding coach of a women's team at the discretion of The John D. Nichols '53 Family Director of Athletics. Criteria for selection may include coaching tenure at Harvard, overall contribution to the Athletics Department, team performance, student-athlete satisfaction and development, leadership within their sport (or at Harvard), and other criteria related to excellence in coaching at Harvard.

Of her inspiration for the endowment, Ragatz said, "As a student at Harvard, I found the university's commitment to athletics to be a vital contributor to the balance and character development of students at the school. Title IX played a key role in opening up opportunities for women on and off the playing field. My family is grateful to support women's athletics and most importantly, to honor those charged with guiding the athletic pursuits and character development of Harvard's female athletes."

The Ragatz Family Harvard Women's Coach of Excellence is Harvard Athletics' 26th endowment. The Coach of Excellence title will be carried in addition to other coaching titles the individual may have. Income from this fund may assist with professional development and general program support, among other expenses.

"I am grateful to Kendra and her husband Erik for establishing this endowment to recognize the leaders of our women's programs," Bob Scalise said. "Our coaches serve as valuable teachers and mentors to our student-athletes, and it is important that we celebrate the vital role they play as part of the overall Harvard College experience."

Kendra Harris Ragatz '95 was a three-year letterwinner for the women's tennis program, while also serving as the team's captain as a junior. She helped the team to two Ivy League Championships in 1992 and 1995, with the Crimson posting unblemished 7-0 marks in Ancient Eight competition. Ragatz is a General Partner and the Chief Operating Officer of Aspect Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm in Palo Alto, CA. She is an active proponent of women's athletics, both externally and at Harvard, and also champions mentoring opportunities with women in her professional field. 

The success of Harvard Athletics is built on a foundation of coaching excellence. Exemplary coaches are skillful stewards of the long tradition that is Harvard Athletics. Their teaching and mentorship of Harvard's athletes results in skilled players who graduate with friendships and experiences that last a lifetime. The quality of Harvard's coaches is a key factor in a student's decision to participate in Harvard Athletics. The quality of athletes, in turn, helps attract the best coaches, reinforcing a self-perpetuating cycle of excellence.