Diplomats Attend Annual Snell-Shillingford Symposium

Diplomats Attend Annual Snell-Shillingford Symposium

SWARTHMORE, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall women's lacrosse player Paige Moriarty '18, women's rower Emilie MacDonald '18, softball head coach Brooke Kalman, and assistant women's lacrosse coach Brooke Sabol joined 50 other female members of the Centennial Conference for the 19th annual Snell-Shillingford Coaching Symposium, hosted by Swarthmore this past weekend. 

The Snell-Shillingford Symposium was started in 1999 by then Bryn Mawr athletic director Jen Shillingford. Female athlete representatives and coaches from the Centennial Conference converge to participate in sessions designed to empower women in the coaching profession and to encourage them to take up the legacy of those who have gone before them.

Moriarty and MacDonald were given the opportunity to attend the symposium based on their desire to enter the field of coaching/sports administration after graduation. 

The three-day symposium offered an in-depth look for female athletes into the field of coaching. Moriarty remarked that one of the talks that stood out to her was the "Many Hats of Coaching," given by Gettysburg volleyball head coach, Leah Bernier.

"The bottom line was to understand that a coach's time spent on the field is a very minimal feature in comparison to everything else that they do", recalled Moriarty. "They have to serve as a counselor, a travel agent, specializing in media, and film production. I learned that a successful coach is someone who exhibits these qualities and therefore will benefit each and every player."

Kalman (Gettysburg '14), attended the symposium once as a player, twice as a mentor, and now as a speaker, described how being part of the symposium in different roles has helped her throughout her career. 

"Going as a student helped have the tools to go into interviews and better present my resume," explained Kalman, who is in her first season as the Diplomats' head coach. "Going back as a mentor was important because that was when I was preparing to apply for head coaching jobs and gain valuable insight into the process."

Even now as a head coach, Kalman is still gaining skills and insight from the experience.

"I enjoyed going back this year because there were new materials being presented and it re-energized me for this season," said Kalman. "Fellow coaches discussed the importance of building a coaching philosophy and it reminded me to go back and examine my own philosophy for my first year here."

The symposium is meant to help launch female athletes into the professional world of sports, whether it be coaching, management, or administration. It is a chance for female members of the Centennial Conference to get together and discuss the state of the industry. As someone who hopes to go into coaching after graduation, Moriarty could see the benefits of being part of an event like this.  

"We dissected obstacles that coaches and players face on a frequent basis and also discussed how to build relationships between players, as well as players and their coach," said Moriarty. "The most beneficial aspect of the symposium was listening to coaches share their timeline of experiences from applying to positions, getting accepted and how they carried out that role."

Keynote speakers such as Ellen Staurowsky, professor of sports management at Drexel University with a focus on Title IX and gender equity in sports, helped to emphasize the legacy of women like Eleanor Snell and Jen Shillingford and how far women's athletics has come.

"Speakers at the symposium relayed statistics that showed there are not many women still in the field of coaching or administration and it empowers these young women to know that they can be the change," said Kalman.

Next year marks the 20th anniversay of the event with a legacy left behind by Eleanor Frost Snell and Jen Shillingford which F&M carries on.