The weekend of Oct. 7 and 8 was filled with multiple events featuring alumni and notable coaches from Brandeis Athletics' past. On top of the main ceremony, there were various alumni events, from a 5K run to a swim meet with an inter-squad competition. The men’s and women’s varsity soccer teams faced off against Carnegie Mellon University for their annual Homecoming matches. There were food trucks, a petting zoo, bouncy castles, and more. This year’s Brandeis Homecoming was especially notable for the honoring of four veteran coaches.

Denise Dallamora

As the first-ever varsity soccer women’s coach, Denise Dallamora’s impact has continued to be felt today through the program’s success. It was only five years into her career that the Judges had their first winning season, and by 1988, they had three All-Americans on the roster. In 2016, the Judges had their first Final Four appearance with multiple appearances in the tournament in past years. Between 2003 and 2019, they made the postseason 15 times. Dallamora was honored as the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Coach of the Year for her Final Four run in 2016. Current coach Mary Shimko ’14 succeeded her after being her assistant coach, continuing Dallamora’s  legacy and impact. After her integral role in the foundation of the current women’s soccer program, Dallamora has been honored in the Brandeis Hall of Fame after 40 seasons. 

Mike Coven

Looking for the opportunity to build a program at Brandeis, former men’s soccer head coach Mike Coven posted back-to-back winning seasons in his first two years coaching. In 1976, the team won the NCAA Division III soccer championship with All-American Cleveland Lewis ’79 leading the pack. For wins, Coven ranks sixth all-time in Division III and 10th for all NCAA. He led his team to the postseason in 25 of his 44 seasons, and in his last season in 2016, Coven returned to the Final Four for the first time in 32 years. He was named the New England Division III Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2015 and earned University Athletics Association Coach of the Year in 2002. These accolades led him to reach the highest honor in Brandeis Athletics, with an induction to the Hall of Fame. 

Pete Varney

Former baseball coach Pete Varney retired in 2015 after 34 years of coaching the team, and he holds career accomplishments that still stand today. He won more games than any other coach in Brandeis' history and ended his career with a record of 705-528-6. With his 700th career win, he became the fourth Division III coach in New England history to reach that milestone. The current coach, Derek Carlson ’91, played under coach Varney himself and went on to succeed him when Varney retired. A New England Division III Coach of the Year three times (’84, ’87, ’99), he coached three All-Americans and 12 professional players. These accomplishments, along with his championed work ethic, contributed to him being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. 

Bill Shipman

Finally, with a 34-year career, Coach Bill Shipman of Brandeis Fencing has made his mark on Brandeis athletics, as he helped champion a DIII program for fencing that has continued to compete against DI schools. In 1988, the women won their first UAA title and the men’s team won in 1989 over University of Pennsylvania 14-13. The competitive spirit Shipman brought and the addition of Gosman Athletic Center allowed Brandeis to host the NCAA Championships in 1994, as well as three additional occasions (’99, ’04, and ’16). In 1994, Shipman was named the United States Fencing Coaches Association National Coach of the Year. It is no surprise he has ended up inducted in such a prestigious class of the Hall of Fame to honor his accomplishments.

Overall, the Hall of Fame ceremony and induction was a success for Brandeis Athletics. Furthermore, the department far surpassed their goal of raising $100,000 and had more than 50 donors contributing each to seven programs. These iconic coaches helped usher in a new era of athletics at Brandeis, and their impact continues to be seen today.