By Jensyn Hartzell
The court and gymnasium inside the Cain Athletic Center was renamed on April 24, 2021 to honor former coach and professor Penny J. Fall.
According to iBerkshires, a local news station based out of North Adams, Ma., Fall earned her bachelor’s degree from Sargent College at Boston University. She was valedictorian of her class. She then earned her master’s degree from Boston College in 1967.
Fall began working at Washington College in 1969 until 2001, according to the Washington College News. She is credited as being the “architect of women’s intercollegiate athletics at the College” due to the fact that she installed 10 varsity women’s teams when there were none when she started working.
According to the Athey Athletics Club website, Fall was recorded as coaching the softball, volleyball, tennis, and cheerleading team at WC. Aside from coaching, Fall was known to be involved with recruiting women’s athletes, raising money to obtain proper equipment, and helping drive teams to away games.
According to the WC Athletics website, Fall is credited with providing a second indoor batting cage in the Johnson Fitness Center, the sound system for the softball field, softball field renovations, court maintenance for the volleyball and basketball teams, and partially paying for a large ceiling fan in the gymnasium.
She was also a professor on campus, teaching a course in physical education, according to the Washington College News.
Fall was inducted into the WC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997 for her work and achievements on campus.
According to the Kent County News, she attempted to positively impact the Chestertown community as well. She was the first female member of the Kent-Queen Anne’s Rescue Squad in 1980.
The College has also created the Penny J. Fall Award, which, according to their website, is given to “the female athlete who most successfully continues the tradition and legacy set by Penny Fall,” and is chosen for “her leadership on campus and her ability to conceive, organize, and execute academic and extracurricular activities that have benefited the entire WC community.”
The most recent recipient in 2021 was former women’s volleyball player Isabella Sansanelli ’21.
Photo courtesy of Elm File Archives