Penny Kempf tabbed for NFHCA Hall of Fame

Aug 12, 2020 | 2020-2021, Division III, News

BROCKPORT, N.Y. — The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) is honored to announce that Penny Kempf, former head coach and current associate athletic director at Rowan University, will be inducted to the NFHCA Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020.

Kempf remains the winningest coach in Rowan University field hockey history, compiling a school-record 253 wins in 17 years as the program’s leader. In 2002, she led the Profs to the NCAA Division III National Championship and was honored as the NFHCA National Coach of the Year.

Since stepping down as head coach after the 2014 season, Kempf has served Rowan’s student-athletes as associate athletic director and senior woman administrator.

“Penny’s career speaks for itself — an NCAA National Championship, an incredible winning percentage, and multiple coach-of-the-year accolades. Beyond her success on the field, Penny has given back to the sport through her service, at the NCAA and the NFHCA,” noted NFHCA first vice-president and chair of the NFHCA Awards and Hall of Fame Committee, Chrissy Summers. “Our Association is privileged to be able to pay back her years of service to us, to field hockey, and to women in sport, by honoring her this year.”

“I am truly appreciative and deeply grateful to be receiving such an amazing honor,” remarked Kempf. “I have watched many successful and phenomenal coaches be inducted into the NFHCA Hall of Fame and to be joining such an incredible group is truly humbling. I am thankful for the journey and all the people that have impacted my career and life.”

Winning Ways

During Kempf’s tenure as head coach, Rowan made 12 trips to the NCAA Tournament — advancing to the NCAA semifinals three times and the quarterfinals once — and were crowned New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) champions six times.

Kempf, who led Rowan to 17-consecutive winning seasons, saw 27 of her student-athletes earn All-American honors and 53 earn All-Region recognition, while a total of 77 Profs were named All-Conference performers in the NJAC.

With a career record of 253-81, she currently ranks 18th in career winning percentage (.775) for all NCAA divisions, and is ninth among Division III coaches, while also ranking 28th all-time for Division III victories.

Then and Now

As a player, Kempf earned All-American honors in field hockey at The College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College) and was a two-time All-American in lacrosse. She was a member of one national championship field hockey team and three national championship lacrosse teams. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in health and physical education in 1988. Kempf was inducted into the TCNJ’s Athletic Hall of Fame four times as a member of a “team of distinction.”

Prior to her career at Rowan, Kempf served as a graduate assistant coach in field hockey and lacrosse at West Chester University, while earning her master’s degree in physical education.

Kempf set the standard in her first season with the Profs in 1998, leading Rowan to its first NCAA semifinal appearance and a third-place finish. That team also posted an 8-0 conference record en route to winning the NJAC title. That year, Kempf was honored as the Coach of the Year in the South Atlantic Region as well as in the conference. From there, her teams would go on to secure 10 NCAA first-round victories in 12 appearances.

During Rowan’s national championship run in 2002, the team posted a 21-0 record, setting the school mark for wins in a season, secured an NJAC title, swept the coach-of-the-year honors, winning national, regional, and conference awards.

Kempf has served the sport of field hockey as a member and chair of the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Committee, member and chair of the South Atlantic Committee, and member of NFHCA All-American South Atlantic Region selection committee.

As Rowan’s associate athletic director, she has been an advocate for all student-athletes, establishing a leadership development group for female student-athletes, creating a Diversity Equity Inclusion Committee for Rowan’s athletic department, and becoming a Division III LBGTQ facilitator in the OneTeam Program.

The Hall

Kempf will be officially inducted into the NFHCA Hall of Fame at the next in-person NFHCA Awards Dinner.

The NFHCA Hall of Fame was established in 1999 to honor exceptional field hockey coaches, administrators, and umpires for their success on and off the field. The class of 2020 will be the 21st cohort to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.