Brown University Wins Chaffee Award for Women’s Team Sportsmanship

Brown University accepts the 2020 Chaffee Award for Team Sportsmanship (l to r): Assistant Coach Adrian Leanza, Senior Captains Scarlett Bergam, Isabel Young, and Hannah Seckendorf, Head Coach Stuart leGassick, and Executive Director & League Commissioner David Poolman (photo: Michael T. Bello)

The Brown University women’s squash team and Head Coach Stuart leGassick earned the 2020 Chaffee Award for team sportsmanship. The award winner was announced on Sunday, February 23 during the final day of the CSA National Collegiate Women’s Team Championships at Yale University. This is the third time that Brown has won this award, as they also won in 1997, 2001, and 2014.

The Bears finished the 2019-2020 season ranked twelfth in the nation. Entering Championship weekend as the 4-seed in the Kurtz Cup, Brown won their opening round match-up against 5-seed Williams College in a tight 5-4 contest, before falling to top-seeded Dartmouth College in the semifinals. Brown finished in fourth place in the Kurtz Division.

“What a wonderful group of athletes Adrian and I are privileged to work with,” says leGassick. “They played hard all season in practice and match play – and always had a positive attitude. They are thrilled to be recognized in this way”.

The Chaffee Award is given annually to a women’s team coach whose team has demonstrated the qualities of sportsmanship, teamwork, character, and improvement. Coaches discussed with their team which team they felt is deserving of this award based on those qualities. Coaches then submitted their nominations and voting took place online leading up to the Team Championships.

In 1987, the women’s squash team at Williams College donated the award in honor of the college’s former coach, Clarence C. Chaffee. Chaffee began Williams’s squash program in 1938, coached the school’s first intercollegiate team in 1939, and led the program until his retirement in 1970.

In the words of Jack Barnaby, the legendary coach of Harvard University and longtime friend and colleague of Chaffee: “If ever I had a favorite amongst my rival coaches it had to be ‘Chafe’… His love of competition, his unfailing sense of fair play, and the values he and his wife exemplified to all his players made him such a beloved coach that his fame went far and wide and still flourishes today. I know I speak for all the coaches of his era when I pay him tribute: We loved him, too.”

Bowdoin College, Middlebury College, and Stanford University were the other team finalists for the 2020 Chaffee Award.