Carolyn A. Court

Tribute to retiring faculty member Carolyn A. Court, associate professor of physical education and head coach of women’s cross country and track and field, by her colleague Suzanne R. Coffey, associate professor of physical education and director of athletics


Carolyn has served this college admirably for more than a quarter of a century. Her teams have won countless honors over the years. She has mentored, coached and nurtured generations of women athletes to whom she remains connected.

They are now doctors, researchers and teachers. Carolyn’s impact on more than 2,000 track and cross country alumni is measured in their athletic and academic accomplishments, in their success after Bates and in their loyalty to the College and to Carolyn as their lifelong mentor.

I had the privilege recently of sitting in as Carolyn was interviewed about her decades of service to Bates. Let me tell you what an honor it is to be a witness to this kind of personal accounting of a colleague’s career.

Her love of this institution and its people is evident in all the ways in which she tells her story. Her dedication to women students is expressed in her passion for her work and in her affection for so many current and former team members.

Carolyn came to Bates in 1979, when Title IX was in its infancy. Carolyn was then and is now both a role model and a talented coach. Beginning with the 1979 cross country and indoor track seasons, Carolyn established instant and lasting success.

During Carolyn’s tenure, 15 track and cross country athletes won a combined 27 All-America awards. In 1995, Carolyn was named Coach of the Year in New England Division III. Her cross country teams have twice advanced to the NCAA championship. And last year, in a fitting tribute to Carolyn’s consistent and remarkable success, her indoor track team finished third at the NCAA championships in March and just two months later her outdoor track team finished eighth.

Carolyn has always focused her attention on the student-athlete as a whole person. She has been equally attentive to each individual’s development as a scholar, a citizen and an athlete. Of the 26 women who have won the Milton Lindholm Scholar-Athlete Award for the highest grade average among graduating athletes, 14 of them have competed on Carolyn’s teams.

She was an accomplished athlete herself. Carolyn was a two-time high school state champion and a collegiate All-American. She is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University and Pennsylvania State University. She was inducted into the SCSU Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Wethersfield High School Hall of Fame at its inaugural ceremony in 2001.

Carolyn was selected to the Olympic Festival coaching staff in 1993 and selected to manage the 1994 U.S. Women’s World Cup Team. She will again be on the USA Track and Field staff this summer serving as the assistant manager, helping to coach the 60 athletes who will compete at the World Youth Championships in Morocco in July.

Carolyn’s tenure as a faculty member and her success as a coach has spanned the most critical years of development in collegiate women’s athletics. She has helped to guide the growth of our own program with ever-optimistic vision, a steady hand and a truly big heart.

Carolyn: Though we know you won’t be far away, we will miss your everyday presence on the track and in the gym. We wish you continued success and connection. For years to come, we will be measuring cross country and track accomplishments by the standards you set. Congratulations and best wishes.