PHILADELPHIA - Penn Athletics announced today that Mike Dowd will be resigning as head coach of women’s tennis effective December 31.
Sara Schiffman, C’06,who wasa four-year letterwinner and two-year captain of the team before serving as an assistant coach for the 2007 and 2008 seasons, has been named interim head coach through the spring semester.
“Mike Dowd has been a hard-working, dedicated coach for Penn, and we will definitely miss him,” said Penn athletics director Steve Bilsky. “The team has been extremely successful during his 12-year tenure, winning three Ivy League championships and never finishing lower than third place. We know his team will miss him, as well, and we wish Mike all the best.
“We are very pleased that Sara Schiffman has agreed to serve as interim head coach,” Bilsky continued. “She has been a tremendous asset to the team as a player and coach, and we are confident that Sara will be able to continue the excellent stewardship that Mike provided for us."
“I have made the difficult decision that I need to step down at the end of the month as head coach of women’s tennis,” said Dowd. “While I am sorry to have to leave in the middle of the academic year, I have decided that this is the best decision for Penn Athletics, the team, and me personally at this time.\
“The past several years, I have served as Director of Tennis at the Willowbrook Swim and Tennis Club in Chappaqua, New York, where my responsibilities have been growing, and will likely require a full-time commitment in the spring of 2009,” he continued. “I have felt a great deal of stress recently, and I have started to feel increasing pressure associated with my two positions. My difficulty in balancing two sets of responsibilities has left me feeling exhausted. Most important, I do not believe it would be fair to the team for me to leave in the middle of the spring semester. In that regard, I am grateful to Sara Schiffman for agreeing to step in now as interim head coach. Sara is a wonderful person, and I am certain she will lead the team to great success.
“I have been privileged to spend 12 years at the University of Pennsylvania working under the leadership of Steve Bilsky, and I am grateful for the guidance and support that Steve and others have provided to me. During my time at Penn, I was fortunate to have known and worked with many talented colleagues and team members, many of whom have become my friends, and I will greatly miss working with all of them.”
During his time with the Quakers, Dowd compiled a 175-73 overall record including a staggering 69-15 mark in Ivy League play which is tops among the Ancient Eight members during that span. He led Penn to Ivy League titles in 2001, 2002 and 2007 -- going undefeated each time -- and never had a team finish lower than third in the eight-team conference.