July 31, 2012

Shannon Smith Named Hofstra Women's Coach

from staff reports | Division I Coaching Carousel | Q&A: Smith 'Very Confident'

Shannon Smith, who wrapped up a decorated playing career at Northwestern just two months ago, is the new head coach of the Hofstra women's team.
© Kevin P. Tucker

Shannon Smith, the recently graduated former Northwestern women's lacrosse star, was named the head coach at Hofstra University on her native Long Island, Hofstra vice president and director of athletics Jeffrey A. Hathaway announced on Tuesday.

Smith becomes the ninth head coach in the history of the Hofstra women's lacrosse program, replacing Abby Morgan, who resigned May 1 after six seasons.

Smith is hired as a Division I head coach just two months after finishing her decorated college playing career at Northwestern. She played six games of her senior season after the former Hofstra coach Morgan resigned, including four in the NCAA tournament culminating with a national championship game win over Syracuse.

"I am extremely excited that Shannon Smith is joining the Hofstra University family as our head women's lacrosse coach," Hathaway said in a press release. "Shannon's strong ties in the Long Island lacrosse community, combined with her superior leadership ability, extremely competitive nature, and extensive playing experience at the highest level, will be a tremendous asset as we work to develop Hofstra women's lacrosse into a nationally-recognized elite program. She is very committed to academic success, understands the overall development of student-athletes during their college experience and clearly supports giving back to the community."

Just a month ago, at the Under Armour All-America lacrosse games in Baltimore, Smith told Lacrosse Magazine's Matt Forman that she had plans to coach high school on Long Island this year as her coaching career got underway. Smith, a star at West Babylon High, coached the North team in the Under Armour All-American women's game.

"I am extremely thankful to Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz and Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeff Hathaway for giving me the opportunity to lead the Hofstra women's lacrosse program," Smith said. "Hofstra is a phenomenal institution that strives for excellence in academics and athletics and I look forward to helping provide our student-athletics with a great experience in the classroom, on the playing field and in the community.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be put in a position to return home to Long Island and build a program that will be very competitive and successful in the near future. The lacrosse facilities and resources in place at Hofstra are amongst the best in the nation and combined with the great academic climate and beautiful campus I am confident the future is bright for the Hofstra women's lacrosse program.

"I can't thank Dr. Phillips [Dr. James Phillips, Northwestern University's Director of Athletics & Recreation] and Kelly [Kelly Amonte Hiller, Northwestern University's Head Women's Lacrosse Coach] enough for their support and guidance over the last four-plus years," continued Smith. "The entire Northwestern family has been very supportive of the women's lacrosse program there and it certainly assisted in my development as a player, person and coach."

Smith recently completed a four-year playing career at Northwestern. Among her many highlights included winning three NCAA titles, earning three first team All-American honors (2010, 2011, 2012) and capturing the 2011 Tewaaraton (presented annually to the NCAA women's and men's lacrosse player of the year) and lacrosse Honda (recognized as the top collegiate female athlete in her sport, and the award is considered by many as one of the highest honors a female college athlete can receive in the nation) Awards.

Smith is very adept at the business side of lacrosse as well. Since 2009, she has served as a director with Long Island Top Guns girls lacrosse club. Smith has assisted with every aspect of the club and helped organize and coach a training program for over 300 players. From managing the business side of the club to coaching teams, Smith has played a vital role in the development of one of the top club programs in the area. Through her work with Long Island Top Guns, Smith manages a total of four camps, while overseeing a staff of over 20 people.

"After speaking with numerous highly-respected coaches, athletic administrators and others associated with the women's lacrosse world about our search for a new head coach, it became evident to me that Shannon possesses outstanding credibility and credentials in the sport and is the perfect fit for Hofstra University," Hathaway said.

Smith's immense experience at the highest level of lacrosse continues with her extensive US Lacrosse career. Just this past weekend, she was named to the roster for the 2012-14 U.S. women's national senior team. This group will serve as the training team pool for the team that will defend Team USA's 2009 gold medal at the 2013 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Cup in Oshawa, Ontario. Smith also was part of the 2011-12 U.S. women's national training team and the 2007 U.S. women's national under-19 team. As a member of the U-19 squad, she helped lead the team to the Gold Medal at the 2007 World Cup.

A key player on three teams that captured NCAA titles at Northwestern (2009, 2011, 2012), Smith was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 and 2012 Championships. During her career, she scored 58 points in the NCAA Tournament to rank second all-time in that category.

Smith is not defined solely by her postseason honors and awards, though, as she totaled 254 goals, 108 assists and 362 points during her career. Her goals total ranks first all-time in program history, while she is second all-time in points and third in assists. Her 86 goals in 2011 are a single-season record for the Northwestern program. In addition, she ranks eighth all-time in NCAA Division I women's lacrosse in points and ninth in goals.

She played in 91 games during her career at Northwestern, adding 118 draw controls, 85 ground balls and 28 caused turnovers. Smith had 19 game-winning goals during her career and her 2011 season was her most prolific with 86 goals, 42 assists, 128 points, 39 draw controls, 25 ground balls and eight caused turnovers.

Smith has done charitable work in the Long Island community as well. She is actively involved with the Friends of Jacyln Foundation and Our Lady of Grace Garden. She also helped lead a group of counselors at the South Bay Elementary School (West Babylon, New York) Lacrosse Camp to raise $6,500 towards the reconstruction of the school after a fire.

A native of West Babylon, N.Y., Smith attended West Babylon High where she was a six-time letter-winner and was a member of the varsity squad starting in seventh grade. Smith was one of the top scholastic lacrosse players to ever come out of Long Island as she had 729 points on 505 goals and 224 assists during her career. Both the points and goals totals are New York state records as is her 129 goals in 2006.

Smith received her bachelor of science in liberal arts, with a major in economics and minor in business institutions program, from Northwestern.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT SHANNON SMITH...

"Shannon is not just one of the most accomplished women's lacrosse players in recent memory, she also has a track-record of world-class performance both academically and in the community. Hofstra has selected an exceptional leader for their program, a great example of the culture of success that Kelly Amonte Hiller has built at Northwestern." -- Dr. James Phillips, Northwestern University's Director of Athletics & Recreation.

"I give Hofstra a lot of credit for seeing in Shannon what we have witnessed for four years at Northwestern. In addition to leaving Northwestern as one of the most accomplished athletes in our program's history, Shannon excelled in the classroom; and will be a tremendous leader for Hofstra Lacrosse, as she was for Northwestern. - Northwestern coach Kelly Amonte Hiller

"Shannon has been a tremendous player, competitor and leader at the collegiate level for the past four years. Her pedigree as a player speaks for itself, but Shannon's understanding of the game and her competitive nature will no doubt translate to coaching at this level. Her ability to relate to her players and recruit, especially on Long Island, will revitalize all of the players as well as the program as a whole. I look forward to watching her develop Hofstra's program in the coming years." - Team USA coach Ricky Fried

"We are very excited that Shannon Smith will be the next head women's lacrosse coach at Hofstra University. Her success on the field will without a doubt lead into a very long and successful coaching career. At Northwestern, she was the coach on the field, and we are all excited to support her as she begins to patrol the sidelines at James M. Shuart Stadium. Shannon has been successful at everything she has done thus far, and we are now looking forward to seeing the "Shannon Smith Era" begin at Hofstra." - Hofstra men's coach Seth Tierney

"Shannon's skills as a player were extraordinary. Her knowledge of the game, passion for the sport, leadership and hard work were equally as impressive. Shannon was able to communicate and share her understanding of the game with her teammates every day, both on and off the field. I am confident that as the head coach at Hofstra, Shannon will pass along to the team her knowledge and passion for the game and will instill the same qualities that she exemplified to allow her players to achieve great success as student-athletes." - Alex Frank, assistant women's lacrosse coach at Boston College and 2012 graduate of Northwestern


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