On Saturday, Sept. 23, 2016, the Loyola University Marylandwomen’s lacrosse program retired Diane Geppi-Aikens’ No. 20 jersey to honor thelegacy of an extraordinary player, coach, mentor and friend.
“Retiring this jersey proves that our mother had a profoundimpact on the lives of others and the sport which we all love,” Shannon Aikens,Diane’s youngest daughter, said. “My sister, Jessica, passed on a quote by KaluNdukwe Kalu stating ‘the things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone,but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.’
“Thank you to Loyola, the athletic department, the coachesand all of you for the constant support of our family and helping to continuethe legacy of a wonderful woman. We are forever grateful.”
Geppi-Aikens was a courageous, enthusiastic, compassionate,approachable inspiration to all who knew her. Throughout her 15 seasons as ahead coach of the women’s lacrosse program, Geppi-Aikens led her teams to 10NCAA Tournaments, including seven national semifinals and one NCAA title game.She was named the National Coach of the Year on three occasions and wasinducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in October 2015.
In 1995, Geppi-Aikens started getting seizures and wasdiagnosed with brain cancer. She went on to have three brain surgeries, but inDecember 2002, her cancer became terminal. Even though she was partiallyparalyzed, she continued to coach, including coaching her last year from awheelchair while leading her team to a No. 1 ranking in the country.
Of her four children, three attended Loyola, includingJessica ’10 and Shannon ’16 who were members of the women’s lacrosse programthroughout their collegiate careers. During her senior season, in 2016, Shannonwore No. 20 to become the last Greyhound to ever wear Geppi-Aikens’ No. 20jersey.