|In terms of athletic competition during Slaats’ 26 years at the helm of the program, the Foresters have reached unprecedented levels of success while maintaining and advancing the ideals and philosophies of NCAA Division III athletics. Last year alone, Lake Forest was honored to have 20 of 23 varsity sports qualify to compete in their conference or association tournament/meet. Forester teams posted a combined .625 overall winning percentage with a .737 mark in conference play to go with three league/association titles and six runner-up finishes. Forester student-athletes were named all-conference 60 times and established or tied nearly 80 school records. They were also successful in the classroom with an average team grade point average of 3.24 and a school record 154 academic all-conference honorees and 82 A-Team members (all A’s in spring and/or fall semesters in 2017). In addition, hockey player Kayla Griffith ’18 become the fifth Forester in the last six years to advance to the conference round of the NCAA Woman of the Year program.|
Jackie Slaats currently serves as the director of athletics and senior advisor to the president at Lake Forest College. In her role as director of athletics, she provides leadership and oversight for 23 intercollegiate varsity athletic programs, along with a wide array of club sport, intramural, and physical education/fitness-related programming. As senior advisor to the president, she is as a member of the College’s senior staff, provides oversight and direction for the Career Advancement Center, and is involved with a variety of college-wide planning and fundraising initiatives.
One of the first things Slaats did as director of athletics in 1992 was to hang a sign in the Sports Center that reads, “Lake Forest College: A Tradition of Excellence.” Since that day, she has strived to uphold and enhance this tradition through classroom, competition, community, and more recently career related excellence. The results of her vision and leadership can be seen throughout the entire Athletic Department, College, and local community. Highlights of her career include the creation of the F.A.N. Club (Forester Athletic Network) and Fanatics, the College’s booster/spirit organizations; implementation of the Forester Game Plan, a four-year career program that connects student-athletes with alumni and friends of the College to help prepare them for life after Lake Forest; the addition of nine varsity sports (men’s and women’s cross country, women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor distance track); and partnerships with several local community organizations. In addition, she has overseen several significant improvements made to Lake Forest College athletic facilities, including the $17-million expansion of the Sports and Recreation Center in 2011, completion of the $4.5-million Home Ice Advantage Campaign renovations from 2012-17, and installation of new synthetic turf at Farwell Field in 2017. The Princeton Review ranked Lake Forest College 18th in the country for “Best Athletic Facilities” in 2016.
In addition to her accomplishments as an administrator, Slaats enjoyed an extremely successful coaching career at Lake Forest – first as the head women’s basketball and volleyball coach from 1986-92 and then as director of athletics and head women’s basketball coach from 1992-2008. In 22 seasons at the helm of the Forester basketball program, her teams posted an impressive 386-133 win-loss record, claimed six conference titles, and earned the program’s first ever national tournament bid. Her .743 career winning percentage ranks among the top 30 in NCAA Division III women’s basketball history today. She also coached the volleyball program to a 100-84 record in the six seasons prior to becoming director of athletics.
In honor of her numerous coaching and administrative accomplishments; Slaats was inducted into the Lake Forest College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008, the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014 and, as a Cuba City, Wisconsin, native, the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012.
A sought-after speaker on a variety of athletic related topics, including coaching, recruiting, leadership, and Title IX and gender equity, Slaats is a member of NACDA, NACWAA, and NADIIIA. She has also recently served as president of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association and as a member of the NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Committee.
Slaats earned her undergraduate degree from Iowa State University in 1986, where she played four years of basketball for the Cyclones, and her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1992.