Nancy V. Chance won 14 varsity college letters in field hockey, basketball, badminton, softball and tennis, and also played with the Philadelphia and Baltimore Lacrosse Associations.
Nancy V. Chance won 14 varsity college letters in field hockey, basketball, badminton, softball and tennis, and also played with the Philadelphia and Baltimore Lacrosse Associations. (Handout)

Nancy V. Chance, a four-time All-America lacrosse player who founded the Eagle Sports Co. and was head coach at Swarthmore and Goucher colleges, died Jan. 23 of dementia at her Timonium home.

She was 90.


“You name it and Nancy played it,” said Joe Finn, archivist at Sparks-based US Lacrosse.

A naturally gifted athlete, the former Nancy Vadner was born in Daytona Beach, Fla., and when she was 2, moved with her family to Bala Cynwyd, Pa. She was the daughter of Lawrence Samuel Vadner, a businessman, and Eleanor Taylor Vadner, a homemaker.

As a youth, she piled up awards in swimming, tennis and basketball, and was an outstanding athlete at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pa., where she was a member in 1946 of its all-star team, earned seven varsity letters, and was named Outstanding Female Athlete at her 1947 graduation.

A 1945 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer described Ms. Chance as an “all-around athlete.”

After graduating from Lower Merion, she attended the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Mass., for a year, where she was captain of the varsity field hockey team, a member of the varsity basketball team, and a member of the Athletic Association Officers.

She attended the University of Utah for a year and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1951 in physical education from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., where she also had been a member of Tau Sigma Gamma sorority.

By the time Ms. Chance graduated, she had earned 14 varsity letters in field hockey, basketball, badminton, softball and tennis.

At Ursinus, she was an All-College field hockey player, a leading scorer on the basketball team, and captain of the tennis and softball teams.

“Among her proudest achievements was being chosen as one of 15 women of the USA Women’s Lacrosse Team in 1951-1954 which represented her country in international competition, and being chosen in 1953 to be a member of the USA Field Hockey Reserve Team,” wrote a daughter, Kimberly Chance, of Falls Church, Va., in a biographical profile of her mother.

During this time, she also played with the Philadelphia and Baltimore Lacrosse Associations, where she was a four-time All-American.

Robert S. Miser Jr., a member of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame who was three-time All-American at West Point and was captain of the 1960 Army team, died Jan. 21 at the age of 81.

In 1953, she married Daniel B. Chance, a Gulf Oil Co. sales engineer, and settled on Long Quarter Court in Timonium three years later. He died in 2014.

Ms. Chance was women’s lacrosse coach at Swarthmore in 1952 to 1953, and at Goucher College from 1962 to 1965. She was a lecturer and instructor at Goucher from 1961 to 1977.

She also coached the Baltimore Lacrosse Club team.

Ms. Chance had served as treasurer for the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse Association and had chaired two national USWLA tournaments, and was a nationally ranked game official for more than a decade.


In 1994, Ms. Chance established the USWLA Nancy Chance Service Award, and three years later was inducted into the Greater Baltimore Lacrosse Hall of Fame as “an outstanding player, who was also an outstanding coach or official, who contributed noteworthy service to the game of lacrosse over the years.”

In 1975, Ms. Chance founded C & C Sports, which she later changed to the Eagle Sports Co., in Timonium. The business sold imported women’s sporting goods, including “a new yellow lacrosse ball that she had designed,” her daughter said in a telephone interview.

Lois Leuba counseled numerous students with their college applications before retiring in 1989 from Sparrows Point High School.

She closed the business in the 1980s, her daughter said.

In 1985 she was inducted into the Ursinus College Hall of Fame and into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame — the highest lacrosse sports honor — for her contribution to the game as a player, coach and official.

In later years when she wasn’t playing tennis, golfing or gardening, she volunteered at St. Vincent’s Villa, a residential treatment facility for children, on Pot Springs Road in Timonium. She also volunteered at WBAL, handling consumer complaints, and taught tennis to abused and neglected children.

She was a member of the Roland Run Club, Eagle’s Nest Country Club and the Country Club of Maryland.

A world traveler, she visited England, Europe, Asia, Russia and the Caribbean with her husband and friends.

“She had a quick wit, and people described her as a ‘pistol,’ ” her daughter said. “Mom always enjoyed a harmless mischievous prank or a slightly risque joke. She was most comfortable sharing stories and enjoying a good laugh among good friends.”

Ms. Chance was a member of Towson United Methodist Church, where a memorial service was held Saturday.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by a son, Stephen D. Chance of Ashburn, Va.; another daughter, Cynthia C. Dufour of Virginia Beach, Va.; a brother, Norman Vadner of Phoenixville, Pa.; and four grandchildren.