Hall of Fame

Tasha Cupp

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

Tasha Cupp will go down in Harvard history as one of the softball teams most celebrated pitchers. A four-time All-Ivy selection (First Team 1998, Second Team 1995-97), Tasha was named the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year in 1998. That year, she helped her team to an undefeated 12-0 record in the Ivy League and the program’s first Ivy League championship. At the time of her induction, Tasha was ranked first all-time in wins (59), shutouts (17), and innings pitched (563.1). She finished her career with a 1.80 ERA, 475 strikeouts, and an average of 1.45 walked batters per seven innings. To this day, Tasha is in the top-10 all-time in twelve different pitching categories. In 1998, Harvard made its first appearance in the NCAA tournament after beating Holy Cross during a play-in round. Cupp led her team to an 11-2 win over Boston College before losing to Oklahoma in the regional.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I would like to thank the Harvard Varsity Club and the Selection Committee for this honor. It is an incredible privilege to be inducted alongside such an accomplished group of Harvard athletes. Congratulations to all of this year’s inductees. In considering what I wanted to say here, I had the occasion to reflect upon my four years at Harvard for the first time in a long time. One of my most poignant memories was of a game against University of Rhode Island. It was Senior Day of my senior year, sort of a gray Tuesday afternoon at the end of April. There were two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, I was on the mound, very few spectators were in the stands, everyone on the team was exhausted, and I hadn’t been particularly dominating…

That moment seemed a lot more than four years away from where I started – with my mom, grandma and uncle bringing me out to the East Coast for only the second time in my life. They helped me settle in to my little bedroom in Mower B-31, and it was with a mixture of excitement, fear, and loneliness that I watched as their plane took off for California without me on it. I felt like a lot of us did: that I’d gotten myself in to something I wasn’t quite ready for.

Shortly after that, I went to my first team meeting. There were six freshmen – Hillary Read, Mandy Wills, Heather Brown, Kara Hartl, Jenny Franzese, and me – and we very quickly became a close-knit group. All of the long treks across the river in
the early morning, the meals together, and the practices helped us bond in a way that is hard to describe. These women, and the rest of my teammates, became my surrogate family.

In our four years together, the first four years with Jenny Allard at the helm, the team accomplished some wonderful things. We surprised everyone (especially Yale) by sweeping an epic 29-inning doubleheader in New Haven our freshman year, and we beat Princeton for the first time in program history in our junior year. We got each other through long, dark nights in the ITT, Matter in the Universe tests, winter reading periods, roommate stuff, relationship issues, shaken confidence, job uncertainty, you name it. My family has always been there with unconditional love and support, which gave me the courage to go to college so far from home to begin with. They made more cross-country trips over those four years than I could ever have asked. And when they couldn’t help, my teammates always could.

Then came senior year, which seemed to crystallize that day against Rhode Island. We were exhausted because, very early that morning, we’d gotten back from a trip to Cornell – where we clinched the first Ivy championship in program history. Nobody was in the stands because there was another, more consequential doubleheader on the calendar: the first NCAA tournament games in program history.

I had become known as a strikeout pitcher, but I didn’t have strikeout stuff that day against Rhode Island. I relied on the signals my catcher, Terri Teller, called, and I used pitches Coach Allard had taught me over the course of long months of practice indoors. Behind me, everyone was making plays – Mandy and Jenny especially. With two outs and nobody on base, I uncorked a pitch and heard the crack of the bat. The ball had been lofted to left field, where my best friend, Hillary, was playing. As we watched with bated breath, she caught the final out of the game.

It was the first perfect game in Harvard Softball history. On Senior Day. Less than a day after we’d been crowned Ivy champs for the first time.

In disbelief, I ran to Terri and gave her a huge hug. I will never forget what it felt like to be standing there sharing that feeling with this group of women who guided, inspired, and comforted me through my four years at Harvard.

That feeling would not have been possible without Jenny Allard, now the unofficial dean of Ivy League softball, who challenged me to become a better player than I ever thought I could be. Or, perhaps most importantly, without my parents who gave me the incredible opportunity to go to Harvard, and who were always there for me, providing me support whenever it was needed.

Finally, thank you to my incredible partner, Tonya, for overcoming her Stanford background and providing another incredible source of love and support over the last seven wonderful years – and to our 15-month-old daughter, Maddie, who’s kept me on my toes more than any footwork drills we did back in practice. I love you both more than I can say.