Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/10/19
From Press Release
Katie McConnell – a graduate of Holy Cross Prep in Delran, South Jersey – has been named the next head coach of the Lafayette women’s lacrosse program, Director of Athletics Sherryta Freeman announced on Monday evening.
McConnell spent the last three seasons as head coach at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York, leading the Jaspers to an 11-6 record this past spring and the team’s first postseason appearance since 2009. For her efforts, she was named the 2019 MAAC Coach of the Year and the 11 wins were tied for the most in program history.
“We are excited to welcome Katie to our Lafayette family,” Freeman said. “Her head coaching experience and success as a player and coach make her an excellent fit for our women’s lacrosse program. We are thrilled that she is on board to generate a championship culture and cultivate positive experiences for our student-athletes.”
McConnell’s six league victories were the most for Manhattan since 2005 as she flipped the script on a program that had not eclipsed the five-win mark overall since an 11-5 record in 2009 when they went 4-3 in league play. Additionally, McConnell has proven an ability to recruit top talent with the Jaspers’ Cassidy Burns being named the 2019 MAAC Rookie of the Year this past season.
“I would like to thank Sherryta Freeman, Kaitlyn McKittrick and the rest of the search committee for this incredible opportunity,” McConnell said. “From the moment I stepped on campus, I knew Lafayette College was a special place with unlimited potential for its women’s lacrosse program. I am looking forward to developing a championship culture that excels on the field, in the classroom and in the community.”
Taking over the Manhattan program in August 2016, McConnell led a programmatic effort to increase fundraising through an annual phone-a-thon, fundraising dinners, camps and clinics, and private donations. She coached six all-conference players in 2019 and her student-athletes excelled academically as well, carrying a team GPA of 3.45.
“Thanks to Kaitlyn McKittrick for a fantastic job in leading the fine work of a search committee that brought a number of talented candidates to campus,” Freeman added. “Her efforts, and the efforts of the committee, resulted in an outstanding choice to take our women’s lacrosse program to the next level.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Katie, as she’s proved herself throughout the process to be a winner and a leader at every place she’s been,” McKittrick stated. “I am excited about our team’s potential with her leadership, and confident in her ability to inspire, challenge and support our student-athletes.”
Prior to her tenure at Manhattan, McConnell spent the 2015-16 with Coastal Carolina, running the defensive side. In her lone season, she helped to lower the team’s goals-against average by more than a goal per game (9.82 in 2015 to 8.5 in 2016), leading to a semifinal appearance in the Big South Tournament.
McConnell was a four-year starter at Division II Lock Haven in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, where she won three PSAC championships and made quarterfinal, semifinal and final appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Following her playing career, she served as an assistant coach at her alma mater for three seasons before moving to Coastal Carolina.
In her three coaching seasons at Lock Haven, she made NCAA Championship game appearances in 2014 and 2015, presiding over the nation’s top-ranked defense in 2015. She was named the 2014 IWLCA Division II Assistant Coach of the Year and coached five all-americans, six all-region performers and eight all-conference players.
Outside of college athletics, McConnell is also heavily involved in a number of clubs and organizations in the New York area, fostering connections with programs such as For the Love of the Game (FLG) in Long Island, House of Sports in Westchester, Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership in Harlem and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Love Your Melon in Bronx.
McConnell is part of an athletic family with both of her brothers, Tim and Frank, and her father, Jerry, involved in football. Jerry is the Offensive Coordinator for the sprint football team at Penn, Tim is an assistant coach with special teams at Rice and Frank coaches the offensive line for the sprint football team at Penn. Tim and Frank both played Division I football at Duquesne and Sacred Heart, respectively.
McConnell takes over a Lafayette unit that finished the 2019 season with a 5-12 overall mark and a 1-8 record in Patriot League play. The Leopards last participated in the Patriot League Tournament in 2017, falling to Boston U. in the quarterfinal round.