Saints' Jenkins Marks Milestones
Thursday, June 12, 2008
St. Stephen's/St. Agnes Coach Kathy Jenkins recorded her 500th career victory last month during the Saints' run to another Virginia Independent Schools title, a milestone achievement for a coach who has become a respected presence in the Washington area, across the country and on the international lacrosse stage.
When the Saints defeated Episcopal, 19-3, in the VIS semifinals, Jenkins was presented with flowers and balloons, and her players put on T-shirts celebrating victory No. 500, a culmination of 32 years guiding one of the nation's elite lacrosse programs. The following day, the Saints capped a 26-0 season with a win over Collegiate of Richmond in the final. They ended the season ranked No. 1 in The Post's Top 10.
Jenkins's success at the Alexandria school is unrivaled in this region. Her teams have won 20 league titles, including the past 14 straight Independent School League crowns, and gone undefeated five times. Her career record is 501-41-9.
"One of the reasons for Kathy's wonderful success is that she works 24-7, 365 days a year," said Maggie Vaughan, who played for Jenkins from 1984 to '86 and was a two-year all-American at Harvard. "She never stops learning. She calls college coaches, former players. If she sees something [new] on TV, she asks somebody. She still goes to clinics to this day. She is a wonderful ambassador for the game."
Jenkins was recognized for her 500th win during the U.S. Lacrosse Women's Division National Tournament in Baltimore last month. Both she and Phyllis Kilgore, the longtime Radnor (Pa.) High coach who also earned her 500th win this season, were on the field coaching in the tournament's all-star game for high school seniors. Jenkins is a member of the U.S. National Lacrosse Hall of Fame's Potomac and Virginia chapters, and is a lock to be inducted into the National Hall of Fame in Baltimore once her coaching career is finished.
Jenkins, 57, came to all-girls St. Agnes School as a physical education teacher in 1971 (it merged with St. Stephen's in 1991). She started the girls' lacrosse program, along with Alix Fellows, in 1976. Fellows, 74, is still involved with the team.
Jenkins never played lacrosse as a girl. She grew up playing basketball in Erie, Pa., formerly coached the Saints' varsity basketball team and continues to coach the middle school teams.
"I knew some drills to do from basketball and Alix knew the catch-and-throw drills and that's how we started the program." Jenkins said.
Over the years, Jenkins has sent hundreds of players on to college lacrosse teams. Nine of her seniors from this year's squad will play at Division I schools next year, and 10 players from the 2007 team were freshmen on Division I rosters this spring.
"They bought into the Saints program and the attitude that I brought into it," Jenkins said. "Basic skills -- good throwing and catching, good stick skills, good defensive positioning and good team offense."
Saints All-Met Kelly Austin, one of the nation's most-recruited juniors, has known Jenkins since she started at St. Stephen's/St. Agnes as a kindergartener. Jenkins also coached Austin as a middle school basketball player.
"I grew up with a lot of respect for her," Austin said. "She teaches you. We learn how to be great lacrosse players and how to be a great person, with sportsmanship. It's an honor to play for her. She coaches in life and sports."