Putnam Willetts, affectionately known as "Putty" to most, is considered to be a pioneer of women's lacrosse. She began playing lacrosse at Swarthmore (Pa.) High School in 1940 and was the captain of the 1943 team. Upon graduation from high school, she played lacrosse for the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association while attending Temple University and playing on the Owls’ field hockey, basketball, and tennis teams. Putty made the U.S. team her first year with Philadelphia, and 11 years thereafter. She was the captain of the 1955 U.S. team.
Willetts started coaching in 1947 at Swarthmore High School and started the lacrosse program at Haverford High that same year. During that time, she also started and coached the Temple University team from 1950-52, and coached the all-Philadelphia club team in 1955 and 1956. From 1957-62, she was the coach at Shipley School, before returning to Swarthmore High School from 1962-83. Through 21 years, she led the hockey team to a 155-20 record, with five undefeated seasons and three league titles. She retired from coaching in 1983, having also registered three undefeated seasons in basketball and one in lacrosse.
In 40 years of coaching, she never experienced a losing season. Willetts was inducted into seven halls of fame in her lifetime. In addition to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, some of the others included the National Field Hockey Hall of Fame, the US Lacrosse Philadelphia Chapter Hall of Fame and the Temple University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Putty passed away in June 2020. She was 94 years old.