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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Alexis Venechanos has been selected as the head coach of the Ohio State women’s lacrosse program, Gene Smith, associate vice president and director of athletics announced Thursday. Venechanos was the head coach at Massachusetts for the last four years after a three-year stint as assistant coach Northwestern and a successful playing career at Maryland.

“I would like to thank Athletic Director Gene Smith, Heather Lyke and the rest of the search committee for this incredible opportunity,” Venechanos said. “The Ohio State University has a phenomenal reputation both academically and athletically and I am honored to be named its next women’s lacrosse coach. I look forward to aiding in the tradition of success for these student-athletes on and off the field and taking this next step in my professional career with the Buckeye family.” 

A winner on every level, Venechanos (pronounced: ven-eh-CHAN-ohs) has been a part of four NCAA titles (as a player and coach) and a total of eight conference championships. She replaces Sue Stimmel, who resigned from her position in May as the only previous head coach in Buckeye program history.

“We are pleased to welcome Alexis into the Ohio State family as the next head coach of our women’s lacrosse program,” Smith said. “She has been successful at every level of her career and has demonstrated her ability to help a program reach its full potential, while developing student-athletes as both players and people.”

Venechanos inherited a UMass program in August 2006 that had not been to the NCAA tournament in over 20 years and within three seasons, took the Minutewomen back to the postseason for the first time in a quarter century. They went on to make a second-consecutive NCAA trip in 2010, punctuating a career already marked by a pair of Atlantic 10 championship tournament titles (2009, 2010), an Atlantic 10 regular-season title (2009) and three appearances in the A-10 Tournament championship game.

“Alexis did a great job in her four years as the head coach at UMass,” John McCutcheon, UMass Athletic Director, said. “She has positioned us for success in the future coming off back-to-back conference championships. We wish her well at Ohio State.”
In all, Venechanos registered an overall record of 36-38, including double-digit wins in each of the last two years, an Atlantic 10 regular-season record of 18-10 and an A-10 tournament record of 5-1.

Prior to taking over the program at UMass, Venechanos served as the first assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Northwestern for the 2004-06 seasons, helping the Wildcats to the first two of five-consecutive national championships. They posted a 56-4 record during that span, winning 93 percent of their games, including a 41-1 record in her last two years.

Venechanos primarily mentored the goalies and defense at Northwestern, placing the defensive unit among the nation’s best. In her final season in 2006, the Wildcats led the nation in scoring margin and were in the Top 5 in scoring defense, all with a rookie goalie. In the undefeated season of 2005, Venechanos tutored NU goalkeeper Ashley Gersuk as she posted the NCAA-best GAA and earned ALC Goalie of the Year honors, while helping the team become the top scoring defense and hold the largest scoring margin in the nation.

As a player, Venechanos was an All-America goalie at the University of Maryland, the winningest women’s lacrosse program of all-time, where she captured two national championships in 2000 and 2001. The Terps went 73-15, an 83 percent win mark, during her four seasons in College Park, including a 23-0 mark in 2001, Venchanos’ first as starting goalie.

As a senior captain in 2003, Venechanos was the recipient of the Ensign C. Markland Kelly Award, given to the nation’s top goalkeeper. She also was a consensus first team All-American, as well as first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and ACC Tournament MVP. Despite playing the second half of the season with a torn ACL, Venechanos posted 164 saves vs. 121 goals allowed and was in the Top 10 nationally in both save percentage (.575) and goals-against average (6.62).

The 29-year old Venechanos (born Feb. 23, 1981) is a native of Yorktown, N.Y. where she was a three-sport athlete at Yorktown High School in lacrosse, basketball and soccer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Maryland.

VENECHANOS YEAR-BY-YEAR

Year

School

Position

Record

Pct.

NCAA Tournament

Notes

2000

Maryland

Goalie

21-1

.954

NCAA Champions

 

2001

Maryland

Starting Goalie

22-0

1.000

NCAA Champions

ACC Champions

2002

Maryland

Starting Goalie

11-10

.529

NCAA Quarterfinals

ACC Champions

2003

Maryland

Starting Goalie

18-4

.818

NCAA Semifinals

ACC Champs
National Goalie of the Year

2004

Northwestern

Asst. Coach
Recruit Coord.

15-3

.833

NCAA Quarterfinals

ALC Champions

2005

Northwestern

Asst. Coach
Recruit Coord.

21-0

1.000

NCAA Champions

ALC Champions
No. 1 Def. in NCAA

2006

Northwestern

Asst. Coach
Recruit Coord.

20-1

.954

NCAA Champions

ALC Champions

2007

Massachusetts

Head Coach

8-9

.471

n/a

n/a

2008

Massachusetts

Head Coach

7-11

.389

n/a

A-10 Finalists

2009

Massachusetts

Head Coach

11-8

.579

NCAA First Round

A-10 Reg. Season Champs
A-10 Tournament Champs

2010

Massachusetts

Head Coach

10-10

.500

NCAA Play-In Game

A-10 Tournament Champs

TOTALS

           
 

@ Maryland

 

73-15

.830

Two NCAA Titles

Three Conference Titles

 

@ Northwestern

 

56-4

.933

Two NCAA Titles

Three Conference Titles

 

@ UMass

 

36-38

.483

 

Two Conference Title

 

Total

 

165-57

.763

Four NCAA Titles

Eight Conference Titles

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“I am very excited for Alexis to have the opportunity to be a head coach at a great place like Ohio State University.  She has had a lot of success as an assistant coach at Northwestern and a head coach at Massachusetts and she was a great player for us at the University of Maryland.  This is a great pick by Ohio State and she will be a great head coach.”
– Cindy Timchal, Navy head coach (former Maryland head coach)

“It was my pleasure to work with Alexis Venechanos during her time at Northwestern. Alexis is a proven coaching talent and she will bring great vision to the Ohio State women’s lacrosse program. It is an honor to have her join our conference.”
– Kelly Amonte-Hiller, Northwestern head coach

“Alexis Venechanos is a proven winner, a great motivator and has great character.  She knows what it takes to be the best and I know that she is going to do great things at Ohio State.”
– Angela McMahon, Connecticut head coach (former UMass assistant coach)

“Our team is very excited about having Alexis Venechanos as our new head coach. We know she will be a great asset to our team and that she has the ability to build the program into a successful one. We are enthusiastic about the 2010-11 campaign and many seasons to come.”
– Gabby Capuzzi, junior (Ohio State lacrosse)