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Princeton's Chris Sailer

Sailer, Miller, DenHartog Honored by Tewaaraton Foundation

April 16, 2024
Press Release
Gregory A. Shemitz

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Tewaaraton Foundation is pleased to announce the 2024 Tewaaraton Spirit and Legends honorees. The 16th Spirit of Tewaaraton recipient is former Princeton coach Chris Sailer, and the 2024 Tewaaraton Legends are former Hobart College star Bill Miller and former Harvard University star Francesca DenHartog.

The Spirit of Tewaaraton is presented to an individual who has contributed to the sport of lacrosse in a way that reflects the spirit of the values and mission of the Tewaaraton Award. The Tewaaraton Legends Award annually honors recipients who played college lacrosse prior to 2001, the first year in which the Tewaaraton Award was presented.

“The Spirit and Legends Awards are vital parts of our program: honoring the history and heritage of lacrosse is central to the mission of the Tewaaraton Foundation,” said Andy Phillips, President of the Tewaaraton Foundation. “Chris Sailer has meant so much to the game of lacrosse, and Bill Miller and Francesca DenHartog are truly legends of the sport, so we’re proud to be able to recognize these icons.”

At Harvard, Francesca DenHartog (Weston, Mass.) was co-captain in 1983 and received All-American (1982, 1983) and All-Ivy (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983) honors. The 1981 and 1982 Ivy League Player of the Year, DenHartog was voted to the Ivy League Silver Anniversary Women’s Lacrosse Team in 1999.

DenHartog had an extensive Team USA career as well, playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team First Team (1982, 1988, 1989); Reserve Team (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987); U.S. World Cup Team (1982, 1986, 1989); and the U.S. Touring Team (1984, 1987). As a club player, DenHartog was a 14-year participant (New England I, Philadelphia I, Hampshire Club) and received the Beth Allen Award in 1998. Also in 1998, DenHartog was inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame, while in 2000 she was inducted into the USA Lacrosse New England Chapter Lacrosse Hall of Fame and in 2010 she entered the USA Lacrosse National Hall of Fame.

“It was such an honor to be Francesca’s teammate,” said Harvard Athletics Hall of Famer Maureen Austin. “She is a remarkable person, a gifted athlete, and was a truly creative force. There are great players who master the way the game is played, and then there are great players who change the way the game is played and take it to a higher level. Francesca changed women’s lacrosse and we are grateful.”

Hobart College’s Bill Miller was a four-time All-American, earning first-team honors in 1989, 1990 and 1991. Additionally, he was a two-time winner of both the USILA's National Division III Player of the Year award and National Attackman of the Year (1990, 1991) award. Miller helped lead Hobart to four straight NCAA Division III Championships during his career, finishing as the Statesmen’s all-time leader in goals (173) and second in career assists (145) and career points (318).

Miller led Hobart in assists during all four of his seasons, pacing the team in points three straight years, and finishing as the top goal-scorer during his sophomore and senior campaigns. During the 1988 NCAA Championship run, Miller broke the NCAA Tournament record for assists with seven in a 19-6 rout of Roanoke in the semifinals. He finished the 1988 NCAA Tournament with a record 17 assists in three games. Miller also tied the NCAA Tournament record for most points with 23.

Miller's consistent excellence was rewarded with a lengthy list of awards at Hobart's annual Block H Dinner. He earned the Lacrosse Rookie Award in 1988, and in each of the next two seasons Miller took home the William H. Dobbin '40 Memorial Award as the team's offensive MVP. As a senior, he was presented with the Judge Kane Memorial Award as the team's MVP and the Francis L. "Babe" Kraus '24 Memorial Award as Hobart's most outstanding senior athlete.

Playing professionally in the NLL for the Philadelphia Wings from 1991-1998, Miller was MVP of the 1998 NLL Championship Game and finished his pro career as a three-time champion. He was also a two-time member of the U.S. Men's National Team, helping Team USA to world championships in 1994 and 1998.

In 1997, Miller was inducted into the Hobart College Athletic Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the USA Lacrosse Philadelphia/Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter Hall of Fame in 2002 and the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame with the Class of 2013.

“I feel so lucky to have been Bill Miller's coach,” said B.J. O’Hara, Hobart head coach from 1990-2001. “An individual and talented player like Billy doesn't come along very often in a coach's career. He was so highly skilled and athletic, but more importantly, he was a wonderful teammate and an outstanding leader. I congratulate him for this outstanding and well-deserved award."

Spending 36 seasons as Princeton’s head coach, Chris Sailer won three NCAA championships and 16 Ivy League titles, and led the Tigers to 11 national semifinals. She retired in 2022 as the fifth-winningest coach all-time in women's lacrosse with 433 wins, and first all-time in wins by a head coach at one Division I program.

Under Sailer’s guidance, the Tigers played in 12 straight NCAA Tournaments from 1998-2009. When Princeton won back-to-back national titles in 2002 and 2003, it became just the second team in NCAA women’s lacrosse history to win consecutive NCAA championships.

In addition to earning three national coach of the year awards as well as the IWLCA’s Diane Geppi-Aikens Memorial Award in 2008, Sailer was inducted into the USA Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2008 and the IWLCA Hall of Fame in 2022. In 2017, USA Lacrosse dedicated the Chris Sailer Trail at its headquarters. She has coached five Tewaaraton finalists, including 2003 Tewaaraton Trophy winner Rachael Becker.

“Chris Sailer is a championship human as much as she has been a championship competitor and leader on the field,” said Theresa Sherry, a two-time NCAA champion for Princeton and a Tewaaraton Award Finalist in 2004. “Her support throughout the journeys of hundreds of women during our time at Princeton has become impactful for an exponentially greater number of people because of what she empowered all of us to do out in the world. I am incredibly grateful for the positive force she was in my life, during my four years at Princeton and even more so for her support in the years since I last wore a black and orange jersey.”

Tewaaraton Legend recipients are chosen on the basis that their collegiate performance would have earned them a Tewaaraton Trophy, had the award existed when they played. The previous Legends Award winners are Syracuse’s Jim Brown (2011), Cornell’s Eamon McEneaney (2012), Johns Hopkins’ Joe Cowan (2013), Navy’s Jimmy Lewis (2014), Syracuse’s Brad Kotz (2015), Maryland’s Frank Urso (2016), Penn State’s Candace Finn Rocha (2016), Army’s Peter Cramblet (2017), Virginia’s Cherie Greer (2017), Johns Hopkins’ Larry Quinn (2018), Temple’s Mandee Moore O’Leary (2018), North Carolina’s Tom Sears (2019), University of Delaware’s Karen Borbee (2019), Johns Hopkins’ Dave Pietramala (2022), Northwestern’s Kelly Amonte Hiller (2022), Maryland’s Doug Schreiber (2023) and Temple’s Kathleen Geiger (2023).

Past Spirit of Tewaaraton recipients include Dick Edell, Diane Geppi-Aikens, Sid Jamieson, A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard, Roy Simmons Jr., Richie Moran, Bob Scott, Brendan Looney, Oren Lyons, Tina Sloan Green, George Boiardi, Welles Crowther, Feffie Barnhill, Bill Belichick and Alf Jacques.

All three recipients will receive their awards at the Tewaaraton Award Ceremony May 30, 2024, in Washington, D.C.