On Sunday, Boston College women’s lacrosse head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein took home her and the program’s first national championship - putting the young coach in elite company in the history of BC athletics.
Walker-Weinstein became the first woman to lead a BC team to a NCAA championship, and the lacrosse team was the first women’s team (and any non-men’s hockey team) to win a NCAA title at Boston College.
The two other coaches who lifted NCAA championship trophies for BC are both true luminaries in BC history: Snooks Kelley, who won the 1949 men’s hockey title, and of course, Jerry York, who won titles in 2001, 2008, 2010, and 2012.
Given that Kelley has BC’s rink named after him, and York is a Hockey Hall of Famer, Walker-Weinstein is already in elite company.
If you want to add a bit of an asterisk to the conversation, we can also throw in Frank Leahy, head coach of the 1940 Boston College football team, which staked a disputed claim to the national championship after finishing 11-0 and winning the Sugar Bowl.
Beyond her national title, though, Walker-Weinstein is poised to cement her own unique place in BC history, should the program continue on its current trajectory - and with Walker-Weinstein still under age 40 and with a team producing multiple superstars, there’s no reason to think they can’t.
Walker-Weinstein was associate coach at BC when the team made its first ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2011. She took over as head coach for the 2013 season and has made the tournament each and every year since (except for the canceled 2020 tournament), with four Final Four appearances along the way.
This record - one national title, four Final Fours, and eight NCAA tournament appearances - is already rarified air in BC history.
Jerry York has 12 Frozen Four appearances as BC men’s hockey coach, Snooks had 9, and Len Ceglarski had 4. Katie King Crowley has six Frozen Four appearances leading the women’s hockey team. Eddie Pellagrini steered BC to three College World Series appearances in the 60s. Alison Foley took BC to one NCAA College Cup during her time as women’s soccer coach.
Beyond this, there’s not much historical company for what Walker-Weinstein has already accomplished at BC. (Aside from sailing, though sailing is not an NCAA sport; that said Greg Wilkinson also deserves recognition as one of the best coaches in BC history, steering the ship (so to speak) to multiple national and regional sailing championships.)
Now is the time to savor and reflect upon BC’s journey to the top - but when the focus starts turning toward next year and the years to come, Walker-Weinstein has a chance to not only solidify BC’s status as a national lacrosse powerhouse, but also to write herself a unique legacy in BC athletics history.