Harvard Athletics Announces Inaugural Recipients of Coach of Excellence Awards

Harvard Athletics Announces Inaugural Recipients of Coach of Excellence Awards

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard Athletics is proud to announce that three of its head coaches have received an inaugural Coach of Excellence award today. Head coach of softball Jenny Allard has been named the Ragatz Family Harvard Women's Coach of Excellence, while Brian Baise, head coach of men's volleyball, and Ted Minnis, The Friends of Harvard Water Polo Head Coach, are co-recipients of the James Herscot '58 Coach of Excellence award.

These head coaches have each distinguished themselves throughout their tenures at Harvard, and all three of their teams experienced a remarkable level of success last year. During the fall 2017 season, men's water polo won the Northeast Water Polo Conference Championship for the second consecutive year and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to USC. Last winter, men's volleyball won its first EIVA Championship title and made its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history, where they lost to eventual champion UCLA in four sets. In spring 2018, softball beat Dartmouth to clinch its eighth Ivy League Championship in program history, and advanced to play Georgia and Cal in the round of 64 at the NCAA Tournament.

"I am proud of Jenny, Brian, and Ted for their leadership as mentors and educators, helping their athletes excel in the classroom, in competition, and in the larger Harvard community," stated Bob Scalise, the John D. Nichols '53 Family Director of Athletics. "In addition, I am grateful to Jim Herscot '58 and Kendra Ragatz '95 for establishing these two Coach of Excellence Awards that enable us to recognize outstanding members of our Department."

These Coach of Excellence Awards are the latest additions to a growing list of endowed positions in Harvard Athletics. Criteria for selection includes coaching tenure at Harvard, overall contribution to the Athletics Department, team performance, student-athlete experience and development, leadership within their sport (or at Harvard), and other criteria related to excellence in coaching at Harvard. The Coach of Excellence title will be carried in addition to other coaching titles the individual may have. Income from this fund will assist with professional development and general program support, among other expenses.

Over the course of her decorated, 24-year coaching career at Harvard, Jenny Allard has led the softball program to a 610-454 overall record, including a remarkable .721 winning percentage within the Ivy League. She is also a model Department citizen, having served on almost all of the Harvard Athletics leadership committees over her career. She is currently a member the Faculty Standing Committee and four other department advisory groups.

In his ten years at the helm of men's volleyball, Brian Baise has led the program to a 115-97 record and six appearances in the EIVA Tournament over the last seven seasons. He was recently named the 2018 HRFWA Friend of the Year in recognition of his program's accomplishments and his tremendous efforts to build a loyal following of men's volleyball alumni. Brian also serves as a member of the Harvard Athletics Academic Integration Committee.

As the Friends of Harvard Water Polo Head Coach, Ted Minnis has the honor of coaching both the men's and women's teams each year. His nine-year tenure has brought notable success to both programs, including a top-three finish in the conference standings over the last three seasons on the men's side while posting two seasons of 20-plus wins with the women's program. In addition to his coaching duties, Ted also serves as a co-chair of the Harvard Athletics Coach Development Committee and is a member of the Athletics Policy Committee.