Diane Whipple was an outstanding Women’s Lacrosse player and beloved coach whose career was abruptly ended in 2001 by a tragic accident at her home in San Francisco. As a player and a coach, Diane achieved many of the highest accolades and awards in the sport of lacrosse.
Diane started her playing career at Manhasset High School, where she held the right attack wing starting position for 4 years. As “the Whip”, she was known to her opponents as “too fast to catch” and “too small to have such power.” Her excellent second effort and determination to be the best stood out during practice and games. She would stay after intense 3 hour practices, shooting balls until darkness fell. She still holds the record for most career assists at Manhasset High School and was the school’s 2nd High School All-American. As a 1986 graduate, she was an integral part of the first Manhasset Girls State Championship Team as a junior in 1985.
Diane went on to play at Penn State for National Hall of Famer Susan Delaney Sheetz, and as a 4 year starter her strong efforts and teamwork assisted in bringing the team to two National Titles in 1987 and 1989 and a runner-up title in 1988. For her effort and inspirational, untiring playing ability, she was honored as Penn State’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1990 and the NCAA National Player of the Year. Diane was a two time IWLCA All-American in 1989 and 1990 and a USWLA All-American in 1989. She still ranks 13th for career points at Penn State and #7 in career goals.
As she left Penn State, Diane set her sights on becoming a member of the United States Olympic Cross Country Team. She missed her quest for the 1996 team by seconds. During this time, she continued her devotion to the sport of lacrosse as a player for the US Team against Canada in 1990 and England in 1991, and was a member of the Northern California Women’s Lacrosse Association. She started lacrosse at UC San Diego and was the first Girls’ Varsity Coach at the Menlo School, a private High School in Atherton, California. Her knowledge of the game and the clinics she ran were instrumental in advancing women’s lacrosse in California.
In October 1999, she left the Menlo School to coach the first Varsity program at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California. She was loved by her team and led St. Mary’s to an impressive 8-8 Division I record in its first year as a varsity sport. Her love of the game, expertise, and “spirited” coaching ability were evident to her players and coaching staff and were matched only by her desire to pass on her elite qualities of skill and determination to others.
Diane truly lived each day to the fullest. She made fellow teammates, staff members and former coaches laugh. The twinkle in her eye will never be forgotten, nor will her skills and ability.
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