Laurie Feit-Melnick, Rhode Island – 2011
Remembering her early years as a junior at Farmingdale HS in New York, Laurie recalls a meeting with her father and the principal as she fought for “an opportunity to compete” on the only existing sport team – boys cross country. She also initiated the first cross country program for girls at Farmingdale HS.
Graduating from Rutgers University in 1988, Laurie coached at Miami of Ohio (while getting a MS) and then coached and taught physical education and health at the high school level in New Jersey. Laurie considers herself fortunate that at the age of 27 in 1992, she was hired as head coach of the Women’s Cross Country / Track & Field team at the University of Rhode Island. Since that time she has been Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year 9 times and URI women’s Coach of the Year 4 times.
Laurie strongly believes “it is important for our women’s teams to give back to the community and continue to mentor our young children.”
Her URI teams have helped to facilitate a 5k Women’s Road Race in Providence with the profits going to the Ronald McDonald House of Providence. Her teams also participate in a track & field portion of clinics free to children aged 5-12 as part of the celebration of Girls and Women in Sport Day. In April, 2011, she participated as a panelist at an NCAA seminar for middle and high school athletes and their families in Providence. Laurie was the only female on the panel and is hopeful that in the future there will be many more women panelists.