Tar Heel fans like to quip that UNC can stand for the University of National Championships, as North Carolina is synonymous with athletic excellence across the spectrum of sports. The Heels have won 47 national championships, spread across seven different programs. Many schools would like to have just one. But with so much top quality across programs and throughout history, what does it take to be considered the best coach at Carolina, regardless of sport?
Win 23 national championships like women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance?
Establish a blue blood dynasty and fundamentally change the way a state behaves like Dean Smith?
Honor your mentor’s legacy and exceed his tally of national championships like Roy Williams?
All of these are good shouts, but we need to take a serious look at what Jenny Levy is doing with the women’s lacrosse team. On the heels of her third national championship on Sunday afternoon, Coach Levy is separating herself from Division I contemporaries that can claim 300+ wins and multiple national titles (apart from former Maryland and current Navy coach Cindy Timchal, whose Terps went on a ridiculous run, winning 8 national titles, most of them won before Levy began UNC’s program in 1996). Levy is still young (particularly by coaching standards) and could helm her program for decades to come.
Rising popularity in women’s sports will only help raise Coach Levy’s profile. The national championship against Boston College was broadcast on ESPN and played in front of a sold out 8,500-seat stadium. Her home games, which used to be played on Fetzer Field surrounded by a track, are now at the beautiful 5,025-seat Dorrance Field.
Coach Levy will be hard-pressed to catch up to Anson Dorrance for the total number of national championships, but when she calls time on her North Carolina career many years from now, don’t be surprised if she is considered the best coach in UNC history.