Easy come, easy go.
The Quakers are sending assistant coach Lisa Sweeney of the softball team to take a head coaching position at Princeton, while taking a former head basketball coach on as an assistant, Jason Polykoff of the Friends’ Central School.
Sweeney spent one year coaching at her alma mater, Lehigh, before spending two seasons as an assistant and pitching coach at Penn. In her second season, she worked with unanimous All-Ivy selection and Rookie of the Year Alexis Borden, who helped to lead the Red and Blue to a record-breaking season.
The 2012 squad posted a 33-17 record (15-5 Ivy) and won the South Division for the first time since 2007. The Quakers scored 213 runs over 50 games, which was the highest rate among any team in the Ivy League. Penn also led the league in on-base percentage and finished second in batting average. Due in large part to Borden’s success, the Quakers also had the second-best team earned run average (2.28), second only to league winner Harvard (1.84).
In her college career, Sweeney was one of the most successful pitchers in Patriot League history. To date no one in league history has won (104), shut out (31), pitched in (141), started (112) or finished (91) more games than she has. Sweeney also holds the league record for strikeouts in a career with 928.
Polykoff, by contrast, will be transitioning from having a head coaching role at a local high school to an assistant position at the Division-1 level. Polykoff was brought on to replace former assistant Mike Martin, who was recently named head coach at Brown.
Polykoff spent five seasons as the head coach at Friends’ Central, a local Pennsylvania school, where he went 113-28 in that time and 22-5 in the 2011-12 season. He led the Phoenix to two Friends Schools League championships (2010 and 2011). He also earned four consecutive Pennsylvania Independent Schools Tournament titles from 2009-12. The squad’s top player, Amile Jefferson, committed to play at Duke last month.
“Having an opportunity to coach at Penn was essentially a dream come true,” Polykoff said in a press conference. “If you combine the history of Penn basketball, with the Big 5 and the Palestra, it was too good of a situation to pass up. Also to have the opportunity to work with coaches Jerome Allen and Dan Leibovitz, two great coaches and even better people, I knew I was going to learn a lot and advance as a coach.”
Polykoff was acquainted with Allen before his appointment as new assistant, as two of Allen’s children attend Friends’ Central. He coached Allen’s son, Jerome, a 6-foot-2 sophomore forward for the Phoenix, and Allen’s daughter Taylor was in one of Polykoff’s math classes.