Women’s track and field head coach Sandy Ford-Centonze dies

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 12/16/19 10:36am


Ford-Centonze first came to Dartmouth in 1992.

Source: Courtesy of the Dartmouth Athletics Department

Sandy Ford-Centonze, the longtime head coach of the Dartmouth women’s track and field team, died of cancer on Saturday morning. She was 59.

In her 28 seasons at Dartmouth, Ford-Centonze led the team to a number of successes and coached some of the Big Green’s most accomplished athletes.

In 2014, the Big Green finished in seventh place at the NCAA Indoor National Championship, a program-best for Dartmouth and the highest finish of any Ivy League men’s or women’s track team. Two years later, two of Ford-Centonze’s former athletes — Abbey D’Agostino ’14 and Alexi Pappas ’12 — qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

Ford-Centonze began her coaching career at Appalachian State University, her alma mater, and then spent six years at the University of Vermont before coming to Dartmouth in 1992. She was named New England Coach of the Year for outdoor track in 1988 and 1989. After the Big Green’s successful 2014 season, Ford-Centonze was elected by her fellow coaches as secretary of the annual convention of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. 

"Sandy was a wonderful colleague but most importantly she was a great mentor and coach to hundreds of Dartmouth track and field student athletes,” said Dartmouth athletics director Harry Sheehy in a statement. “The department and Dartmouth community will miss her greatly. Our sincere condolences go out to all Sandy's loved ones."

In a Facebook post, Ford-Centonze’s sister, Shawna Ford Harper, wrote that Ford-Centonze was “a fierce friend and a compassionate colleague.”

“As a coach, she touched countless lives by mentoring, coaching, and cheering her athletes and other young people on, on the track and in life,” Harper wrote. 

Calling hours will be on Wednesday at Ricker Funeral Home in Lebanon from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a public memorial service will be held on Jan. 4 in Rollins Chapel. Ford-Centonze is survived by her sons Christian and Antonio. 

A full obituary will be published in the near future. If you would like to share a memory, please contact editor@thedartmouth.com.

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