Sherryta Freeman took over as Lafayette College’s director of athletics in February 2018. Her first year has brought little change to a Division 1 program whose teams not only can’t win, they often don’t even compete.
Ms. Freeman came in with great credentials: she’s a Dartmouth College graduate, with administrative experience at her alma mater, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania.
The new AD introduced her “Creating a Championship Culture” five-year plan in September, a plan long on slogans but short on substance, at least on substance made available to the Lafayette community.
A turnaround can’t be expected in a year, or even a few years. However, without changes in the coaching staff, a turnover will never happen. Meanwhile, Freeman continues to report to the same administrator her predecessor did. Her authority to make changes isn’t known, but most of the coaching staff that has been losing on College Hill remains.
This is not a program that needs tinkering. It needs to be razed and rebuilt.
In her first year, Freeman chose a promising candidate to coach men’s lacrosse, a program that has been futile for nearly a century. That position was vacant after the previous coach resigned.
She also removed the coach of volleyball (women, there is no men’s team), the team sport that garners perhaps the least attention of any at Lafayette.
Meanwhile, other long-time coaches with losing records remain. Perhaps 2019 will be the year of real change.
The three programs that really matter are football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. Other programs have fans and supporters, but the Big Three set the tone, and they are floundering.
Football Head Coach John Garrett has gone 6-16 in two years, and though he took over a woeful program, many fans have lost patience, based on the attendance and attitude at the 34-3 home loss to rival Lehigh University. His third year will be critical in determining whether his vision will succeed. Lafayette’s record has improved under Garrett, but the team’s offense has been a failure.
The Lafayette community is showing a little more patience with women’s basketball Head Coach Kia Damon (17-30 with the Leopards). Damon came in after the unexplained departure of Theresa Grentz. The women’s team is tied for last place in the Patriot League at 1-5, and is 6-11 overall for 2018-19.
Meanwhile, the men’s team meanders on, tied for last place in the league at 2-4, and 5-12 overall, including a win over little Rosemont College, a Division 3 program. Head Coach Fran O’Hanlon is 317-381 lifetime. Getting to 10 wins versus Division 1 programs may again be a struggle, for the fourth straight season.
The Championship Culture is nowhere in sight.