Ingrassia, a Lehigh University Board of Trustees member, first learned of the need to endow the coaching position from Joseph Sterrett ’76 ’78G ’03P ’05P ’07P ’09P, Murray H. Goodman Dean of Athletics, who spoke at the April 2018 board meeting.
“Joe talked about the possibilities of using philanthropy to help the sports program. When he mentioned the soccer program, it was kind of like a light went off in my head. It is something that I have had a lot of passion about. I always enjoyed being a soccer coach,” said Ingrassia, CEO of Clever Devices Ltd., adding that Elizabeth was immediately on board with the idea. “It was a great time of my life. A great way to bond with my kids and get to know their friends as well. It was an immensely rewarding experience.”
Recalling all of the years their children played soccer and four other sports, McCaul, CEO, Promontory Europe, Promontory Financial Group, remarked, “Playing sports was a huge foundation for them. It formed the basis for many friendships, for physical development, and for learning team dynamics. It was a big part of their social life. Having their dad as their coach will carry with them their whole lives.”
The endowed fund adds permanent resources to the athletics department that already contributes significantly to the overall financial costs of providing a high quality, developmental student-athlete experience.
“Our trustees are ultimately charged with the responsibility for guiding this institution. Having a trustee invest in the people or the educators who go by the title of ‘coach’ says a lot about the importance of sports at Lehigh and sports as a partner in the educational process,” said Sterrett. “It provides evidence to students, alumni, and the recruiting world that coaches are having an educational impact and are valued by the university.”
Just as endowed chair positions are proven to attract and retain great academic faculty, endowed coaching positions attract and retain great athletic faculty and staff. The Ingrassia gift can also make available other resources that can be used to hire additional staff, recruit soccer scholar-athletes, and purchase performance-building and student-development technology.
As Lehigh’s 15th head soccer coach, Koski will enter his 28th season in fall 2019 with the most wins of any soccer coach in program history with a career record of 233-202-64. During his tenure, he has guided the Mountain Hawks to two Patriot League Tournament championships (2000, 2015), a Patriot League regular-season championship in 2006, and four NCAA tournament appearances. He has helped develop four All-Americans, 22 First Team All-Region selections, 45 First Team All-Patriot League selections, and 45 Second Team honorees. In addition, four players, Andrew Mittendorf ’99, Kevin Jackson ’00, Adam Williamson ’06, and Adam Welch ’10, were drafted by Major League Soccer franchises.
Koski’s success relies on maintaining stability and consistency in what the program offers. Targeted recruiting efforts, experienced and caring staff, and the development of scholar-athletes to their full potential are at the core of the team’s advancement.
“We want to make sure that when we bring student-athletes into this program they are going to experience a very exceptional four years. In order for them to do that, we have to do right by them by making sure that we are coaching, developing, leading, and mentoring them well. That is something that I feel very strongly about. That is all part of our mission and vision, and I want that to be continued without compromise,” said Koski.