In a sign of the growing strength and commitment to Drexel as an athletic institution, Drexel University announced on Monday, May 8th, that Janet Burkholder had committed to endow the head women’s basketball coach position at Drexel. Moving forward, the position will be officially titled the Janet E. and Barry C. Burkholder Women’s Basketball Head Coach position.
Janet Burkholder, along with her late husband Barry, has a history of demonstrated support for Drexel athletics. Not only is the Drexel Athletics Hall of Fame named in honor of the Burkholders, but they have gone so far as to host the Dragons in their home when the team is in their area.
Barry graduated from Drexel University in 1962 with his Bachelor’s Degree, and then returned in 1970 to graduate with his MBA. His involvement at the school continued as he served as a member of Drexel’s Board of Trustees from 1998-2013. He received many awards for his commitment to the school, including Drexel’s Distinguished Alumni Award, being named to the Drexel 100, the A.J. Drexel Paul Award, the Golden Dragon Society Award in 2012 and induction to the Drexel ROTC Hall of Fame.
Janet Burkholder, who graduated from Thomas Jefferson Nursing School, was married to Barry for 58 years. She has decided to endow this gift to the Drexel athletic program in honor of Barry, who passed away in 2020.
“I am proud to be associated with Drexel and Drexel Women’s Basketball. Since I have been a part of this vibrant community, I have always been impressed with the positive and state-of-the-art improvements,” said Janet upon Drexel’s announcement of the award. “We are honored that Barry’s legacy continues at Drexel. We look forward to celebrating Drexel Women’s Basketball and to supporting student-athletes,”
In essence, here is how the endowment functions: The endowed gift will be managed by Drexel’s Investment Office, and every year, a percentage of the gift will be paid out to support the compensation for the head coach. The rest of the gift remains in Drexel’s larger investment fund. This allows for the endowment gift to grow each year, ideally gaining returns that either match or out-pace the amount of money being released each year.
It should not be glossed over just how seismic of a commitment this endowment is towards the stellar Drexel Women’s Basketball program. With this endowment, Drexel becomes the first school in the CAA to have their women’s head coach position endowed. While the Dragons have consistently been outdoing their CAA competition on the court, where they have not finished worse than fourth in the conference for almost two decades, it is important that Drexel continues growing as an athletic department to maintain an advantage off the court as well. Perhaps more impressively, Drexel now becomes the only school in The Big 5 to endow the women’s head basketball coach position. Again, this goes to show that Drexel comes into the reimagined Big 5 as one of the strongest programs on the court, behind the bench and in the bank.
Amy Mallon, the current head coach for the Women’s Basketball team, stated that she is “honored and humbled to be the first coach to benefit from this new endowment.”
Mallon, who took on the role in 2020, has led the Dragons to two consecutive regular season CAA Championships. She has her work cut out for her in the upcoming season as Keishana Washington, one of the best college basketball players in the nation last year, has graduated, and promising freshman Kylie Lavelle decided to transfer to Penn State. This means that the players with the highest average points per game will be Grace O’Neill, with just seven.