North Carolina women’s lacrosse head coach Jenny Levy often says, “The game has no memory.”
Levy was named to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame on May 26 as part of the class of 2021, forever enshrining her legacy as one of the greats of the game for which she says has no memory.
This accolade just adds to the illustrious career, both as a player and coach, that Levy has had.
Levy played on the women’s lacrosse team at the University of Virginia from 1988-1992, winning the national championship in 1991. She was a two-time All-American during her time at Virginia and was named the NCAA Attacker of the Year in 1992.
At UVA, Levy played under Jane Miller, who she will now join as a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame — Miller was inducted as a player in 2003. Levy has surpassed her college coach in win total, more than doubling Miller's 144 wins as a head coach.
After a short stint as an assistant coach for the field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams at Georgetown University, Levy was named the first-ever head coach of the UNC women’s lacrosse program in October 1994.
Twenty-seven years later, Levy has led the Tar Heels to 22 NCAA Tournament bids, 12 NCAA Tournament semifinal appearances, six ACC titles as well as two national championships in 2013 and 2016. She has amassed a 373-118 record during her time leading the team in Carolina Blue, winning over 75 percent of the games she has coached in.
Levy won’t be the only UNC coach to have been an active Hall of Famer while leading their team. Among those select few is recently retired men’s basketball coach Roy Williams, who coached 14 seasons as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Like Williams, Levy will try to sustain her dominance while adding more championships onto her already lauded career.
But Levy was able to accomplish something that Williams never did — building a dynasty from the ground up.
Only one other coach currently at UNC can say that they led a program from its inception and went on to have similar success, and that’s legendary women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance. Levy still has another few hundred games to win if she wants to catch up to Dorrance, who has over 1,000 combined wins from coaching the men’s and women’s teams. However, Levy's ability to build a dynasty is still just as impressive as Dorrance's, and this past season is as great of an example as any.
Twenty-straight wins (27 including last year's shortened season), an ACC Championship, two Tewaaraton finalists and an NCAA Tournament semifinal appearance. Levy and the Tar Heels dominated all season, winning eight games against top-10 foes and 18 games against ranked opponents. The team also outscored opponents 328-138 — or by about nine goals per game — allowing just 6.57 goals per game all season.
In addition to dominating the NCAA the past few seasons, Levy also heads the USA women’s lacrosse team. A former member of the national team in the 1990s, Levy was named head coach in 2017.
Ahead of the 2022 World Championships, the tryout camp roster for the USA team is littered with players that Levy has had to plan for as well as players that she has coached in Chapel Hill. Twelve of the 61 players – roughly one out of every five – have played at North Carolina under Levy. Engineering dominant players that can compete both on the domestic and the international level is something that makes Levy as great of a coach as she is.
Levy is a lacrosse legend, and although she says this game has no memory, she’s sure to be remembered long after she’s retired from coaching.