Lisa Sweeney, a four-time Patriot League Pitcher of the Year at Lehigh and a New Jersey native, was named as Princeton's new head softball coach on June 12, 2012.
"I'm thrilled to be joining the Princeton Athletics community, and I look forward to getting started," Sweeney said upon her hiring. "Princeton has a fantastic reputation as a university and an athletic department. It's exciting to be a part of that powerful combination and what that means to student-athletes."
In her first season, Sweeney became the winningest first-year coach in Princeton history, finishing at 27-19 and with the best record since the Tigers went 34-19 in 2006. Princeton's 12-8 Ivy League record in Sweeney's first year was the program's best since 2008, when the team went 18-2.
Sweeney, a 2009 Lehigh graduate, coached as a volunteer assistant at Lehigh in 2010 and was an assistant coach at Penn for the last two seasons.
"Lisa's accomplishments both as a player and as a student make her an ideal candidate to lead our softball program," Princeton's Ford Family Director of Athletics Gary Walters '67 said upon Sweeney's hiring. "Ours is a program that is accustomed to success, and I am confident that Lisa's track record as a player and a coach will help us retain that standard. Based on Lisa's accomplishments as a scholar-athlete, we believe she is an excellent philosophical fit and reflects the Princeton Athletics commitment to ‘Education Through Athletics.'"
Sweeney's name is listed more than a hundred times throughout the Patriot League record book, from being the only player in Patriot League history to win four Pitcher of the Year awards - as well as the 2008 Player of the Year award - to being a third-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honoree in 2008. No one in Patriot League history has won (104), shut out (31), pitched in (141), started (112), or finished (91) more games than Sweeney. She also holds the Patriot League record for strikeouts in a career (928) as well as the top three single-season totals.
Three of Sweeney's four seasons represent the top three single-season win totals in Patriot League history, and she also twice led the league in saves in a season. Her four no-hitters, including ones thrown against Harvard and Penn, both in 2007, are a Patriot League record. Among those is a perfect game, thrown against Army as a freshman in the 2006 Patriot League Tournament.
Sweeney had a record of 94-28 as a pitcher at Lehigh, while the Mountain Hawks won 155 games over her four seasons. Sweeney pitched in three NCAA regionals, and Lehigh won at least one game in each, twice winning two.
In the 2012 season, her second as an assistant coach at Penn, Sweeney worked with unanimous first-team All-Ivy League selection Alexis Borden as the Quakers won the Ivy South division.
Sweeney has provided softball instruction outside of college athletics as well, co-founding Sweeney Softball in her home area of Lumberton, N.J., where she helped develop the careers of young players in her area.
Prior to Lehigh, Sweeney pitched for Rancocas Valley Regional High School, where she threw a no-hitter in the 2005 NJSIAA Group IV championship game to cap a 31-2 senior season in which she posted a 0.15 ERA. She was a two-time Courier-Post South Jersey Player of the Year.
While pursuing her bachelor's degree in history at Lehigh, Sweeney student taught at schools both near Lehigh and in her home area. She completed a master's degree at Lehigh in secondary social studies education in 2010.