Around Memorial Day last year, Endicott College Associate Athletic Director & Women’s Soccer Head Coach, Jodi Kenyon, took a memorable look across the pitch on an important recruiting weekend. On the other side were three of her former assistant coaches from Endicott and other institutions recruiting and coaching for their own teams, while Christine Silva ’13, her current assistant coach and former student-athlete, stood by her ready to find the next star Gulls.
It was apparent that day—and every day for those Kenyon has mentored—how much of an impact she’s had as a leader both on-and-off the pitch. And nothing gets Kenyon more excited than seeing how many people she’s positively impacted in that role. She says, “That to me is so critical, whether that’s the young women who played for me or the young women in our department right now.”
Ever since Kenyon came to Endicott in 2005, she’s made that a priority as the senior woman administrator (SWA) for the College. As the SWA, she guides Endicott women’s program coaches—both men and women—with advice from her 25 years in the profession.
“Over the course of my career as a coach and administrator, I have experienced a lot of situations, so I like to offer my suggestions to help problem-solve,” says Kenyon. “I try to do the best I can to help our women’s programs succeed.”
Leadership is also important among student-athletes—both for captains and emerging leaders—which is why Kenyon was part of the team that developed Leaders of the Endicott Athletics Department (L.E.A.D.) and its four core standards—commitment, character, effective communication, and confidence.
“It’s really great to see their commitment level,” says Kenyon. “We pretty much have 100 percent participation at every single one of those 7 a.m. meetings once a month on a Friday. We talk about building championship cultures, what our core values are, how to handle certain situations as leaders of their programs and on campus. We also talk about the core values and the decision-making that they may have to do, and how their communication directly impacts their team.”
Kenyon, who played college soccer at Adelphi University, has years of experience to draw on when she mentors young coaches and student-athletes. She originally wanted to be a physical therapist, but she fell in love with coaching as an assistant at Adelphi, where she also received a Master of Science in Athletic Administration. Following coaching at her alma mater, Kenyon was an assistant at Harvard University before becoming the head coach at the University of Vermont. But, NCAA Division I athletics weren’t for her, so she sought a new direction, which is when Endicott came into her life.
“She is a role model not only to her student-athletes, but to her colleagues as well."
Dina Gentile, who was a freshman at Adelphi while Kenyon was a senior, was Endicott’s women’s soccer coach at that time, but she also was looking for a new beginning—as a full-time professor of sport management—after starting the program here. So, she called her friend, and as they say, the rest is history.
Kenyon has led Endicott to a 197-74-29 overall record since 2005 with six NCAA Division III tournament appearances and five Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) titles. But, while her teams have done plenty of winning, the six-time coach of the year’s impact goes well beyond that, as evidenced by those who know her.
Gregg M. Kaye, CCC commissioner
“For many administrators who play important roles in virtually every capacity at each CCC institution, Jodi is the face of Endicott. She balances an amazing array of responsibilities, yet handles each and every one of them so incredibly well. Jodi is among the most valuable members of the CCC family.”
Christine Silva ’13, Endicott assistant coach & former student-athlete
“She is a role model not only to her student-athletes, but also her colleagues as well. Her leadership has led to conference championships, NCAA tournament appearances, and countless student-athletes recognized for their talent at the conference, regional, and national levels. Endicott means much more to her than her job. She truly cares about the success of each person she encounters at Endicott.”
Jodi Cipolla, Endicott field hockey coach
“We are so fortunate to have a leader like Jodi Kenyon on our campus. She is genuinely invested in the success of our department and well-being of our student-athletes. She provides support and mentorship for other coaches in the department to elevate their programs and experience that level of success as well.”
Brian Wylie, Endicott assistant vice president & director of athletics
“Jodi’s really been a strong advocate of women sports here, the importance of women in leadership roles, and she’s been a great coach. She’s been really successful.”
Dina Gentile, professor of sport management at Endicott
“She epitomizes leadership—she leads by example and leads effectively because she respects others and she knows the power and influence of intercollegiate athletics. I am so proud to call her my friend for all of these years and I admire all she has accomplished as a leader, administrator, and mentor to so many young people.”
Learn more about Kenyon and the women’s soccer team at ECGulls.com.