Leone is in his ninth season as the head coach of the women's soccer program (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard University and Bob Scalise, the John D. Nichols '53 Family Director of Athletics, have announced the 21st endowment of a Harvard coaching position: The Branca Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Soccer.
Made possible through the generosity of Nicholas Branca '90 and his wife Stacy, the endowment will enable the women's soccer program to continue its rich history of success.
"I'm delighted that Nick and Stacy Branca have endowed our women's soccer head coach position," Scalise said. "We were at the forefront of the women's soccer movement and elevated Harvard's team to varsity in 1977. Our teams from the beginning have consistently pursued excellence and have made an impact on both the national and Ivy League level. This gift will enable us to have outstanding leadership for our program."
Nick and Stacy Branca were both student-athletes, with Nick competing in water polo at Harvard and Stacy as a women's soccer player for Dartmouth. Their respective experiences as Ivy League collegiate athletes were invaluable, and the Brancas are pleased to be in a position to help Harvard Athletics provide a similar experience for current and future student-athletes.
"Athletics was an important part of my Harvard experience in many ways. I was able to challenge myself and compete at a high level as a player and captain of the varsity water polo team. Some of my strongest friendships were formed in the pool," said Nick Branca.
"It is great that Harvard offers its students so many ways to be involved with athletics and so many opportunities to learn the valuable lessons that being part of a team and competing can teach. I am proud that Harvard has such a broad offering of athletic programs. I am also thankful to have had the chance to participate in the JV (now Club) Sports and House Intramural programs as well as write sports articles for the Harvard Crimson."
The Harvard women's soccer program has won 12 Ivy League championships, including five since 2008. The Crimson teams have produced 21 All-Americans and five Academic All-Americans, and 91 student-athletes have garnered first-team All-Ivy recognition.
"We are so grateful for this generous gift; I know Nick loves Harvard and as a former captain and varsity water polo player he understands how important it is to give back to our athletic programs," said head coach Ray Leone.
"To have this honor bestowed upon our program is a testament to the fine and outstanding young women that have been a part of Harvard women's soccer, and it will help our program continue to flourish. I am honored to be The Branca Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Soccer."
The Branca Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Soccer is the fourth women's head coaching position to be endowed and second in 2015.