A Path Paved for Women’s Sports Excellence

STANFORD, Calif. - When Paul Violich, '57, was a men's swimming, water polo and rugby student-athlete at Stanford, women's sports didn't exist on The Farm. It would be another 15 years before the institution of Title IX. Now, Violich, through a generous gift, has endowed a third head coaching position to support a women's varsity program.

Stanford Athletics announced on Wednesday that Jessica Allister will become the inaugural Paul A. Violich Director of Softball.

"Endowments to establish head coaching positions provide a permanent source of support for our sports programs," said Bernard Muir, the Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics. "Paul has been a driven and devoted supporter of women's sports and our female Cardinal competitors. We remain incredibly grateful for his leadership and vision for the future of women's college athletics."

Paul obtained his bachelor's degree in history from Stanford in 1957. After graduating, he enlisted and joined the Navy SEALs. He later returned to the Farm to earn an MBA in 1962. Violich has five children. Three of them have participated in Division I collegiate athletics, including a son who played lacrosse at Dartmouth College and two daughters who played soccer and lacrosse at California. In addition to Paul's generous gifts to Stanford Athletics, including the Paul A. Violich Director of Women's Swimming and the Paul A. Violich Women's Lacrosse Head Coach, Violich has also endowed athletics scholarships for women at Cal.

"My daughter's participation in athletics at a high level has motivated me to provide other young women with the same opportunity. Athletics has given them confidence and made them competitive, which have been important traits to prepare them for their futures," said Paul Violich. "Athletics has also taught them not to be disappointed by failure and to understand that regardless of the outcome, to never give up. Further, I am encouraged by the exponential growth and recognition of women's sports at all levels of which the Stanford softball student-athletes are just one example."

Under Allister's tutelage, the Cardinal made its third appearance at the 2023 Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City and first since 2004. Achieving its fifth-best win total in school history and best finish since a 48-11 campaign in 2009, the Cardinal remained a top-10 fixture all season and was ranked as high as No. 3 in several final polls. Stanford compiled a 21-game winning streak from Feb. 12-March 17, second only to winning 28 in a row from Feb. 7-March 23 in 2009. "I am truly honored to be named the Paul A. Violich Director of Softball," said Allister, who was later named National Coach of the Year by Extra Inning Softball and owns a 198-114 overall record in six seasons on The Farm. "Paul's support of Stanford Softball solidifies the importance of women's sports excellence and the future of our game, our program, and most importantly, our student-athletes. Go Card!"