The University at Albany and Boston University have each hired a women’s lacrosse head coach this month, while several other Division-I programs are undergoing national searches to find their own.
Albany, who won nine of its final 11 games in 2018, announced Katie Rowan as the next leader of the Great Danes program on Thursday. Prior to that, the BU Terriers announced that they hired Lauren Morton as the next overseer of their own program; she’s the fifth head coach in the school’s history.
Rowan previously coached at Wagner, where she led the Seahawks to an NCAA Tournament berth in 2018 after a double-OT road victory against Bryant in the NEC title game. Wagner went on to win its first-ever NCAA Tournament game against Mercer in the play-in.
She’ll replace Jessica Davos, who served as Albany’s interim head coach for the 2018 season. The previous head coach, John Battaglia, left the program unexpectedly in January. Davos is not currently listed on the team’s website and it is unclear if she will be retained as part of Rowan’s staff.
The hire to coach Albany is a homecoming of sorts for Rowan, who grew up in Delmar, a suburb just a few miles from the campus. During her collegiate career, Rowan played for Gary Gait at Syracuse. She graduated in 2008 with 396 career points. At the time, she was the second-leading scorer in NCAA D-I women’s lacrosse history.
Rowan will be tasked with taking the Great Danes back to the NCAA Tournament. The roster has a ton of young talent — led by Kendra Harbinger on offense and Jordyn Marr (daughter of Scott) on defense — but plays in the same America East Conference as Stony Brook, winners of six consecutive league titles. Albany earned at-large bids into the NCAA field in 2015 and 2017.
Boston University hired Morton after the departure of Liz Robertshaw, who had been at the helm of the Terriers program for 12 seasons.
Morton, an alumna of the BU program, previously was associate head coach at Duke University. Prior to that, she was an assistant at Boston University. In her four seasons as a player, she won four straight America East titles.
The Terriers went 10-8 in the Patriot League in 2018 and will look to break into the upper echelon of the conference. Navy and Loyola have both demonstrated themselves as national powers in women’s lacrosse. Boston University lost to those two conference foes by a combined score of 56-23 in three games this year.
Among four schools that still have vacancies, Vanderbilt’s departing coach was the longest-tenured. Cathy Swezey was head coach of the Commodores for 21 seasons, including a trip to the Final Four in 2004. Vanderbilt has struggled in recent seasons though, as the team only went 3-6 in Big East play in 2018.
Wagner is also left with a coaching vacancy after Rowan accepted the Albany job. Given the school’s proximity to Long Island, look for the Seahawks to target someone who can tap into that recruitment hot-bed.
Harvard only went 6-9 overall in 2018 and decided not to bring head coach Lisa Miller back for next season. The Crimson are expected to make their hire toward the end of July, according to a source.
At Drexel, the Dragons failed to make the CAA postseason for the second straight year and head coach Hannah Wszalek will not be coming back.
Notre Dame, Binghamton, Bucknell and Robert Morris all have listed openings for assistant women’s lacrosse coach positions on the NCAA job openings website.