The Ohio State women’s lacrosse program has found its director of operations in Stephani Schmidt, head coach Amy Bokker announced on Monday (June 24). Schmidt returns to the Buckeyes after playing on the team for the first two seasons in school history and serving as defensive coordinator from 1997 to 2001.
“We are very excited to welcome alumna Stephani Brezowski Schmidt home to Ohio State lacrosse,” said Bokker. “From the minute I met Stephani, I could tell how special Buckeye Lacrosse is to her. She is passionate, experienced and loyal to Buckeye Nation. Stephani was glowingly recommended by Buckeye alums and we are looking forward to continuing to connect the program, past and present. Her experience starting a program at Otterbein will help make her administrative role as a director of operations seamless.”
Most recently, Schmidt served as the head coach of the Otterbein Cardinals for eight seasons. Schmidt first joined the Otterbein staff in 2010 before establishing the women’s lacrosse program in the spring of 2012. The Cardinals quickly improved under Schmidt, moving from five wins in 2012 to eight wins in 2013, followed by a 12-5 campaign in 2014. She was voted by her peers as the inaugural Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Coach of the Year in 2014.
“I could not be more excited to be returning to Ohio State. First, I would like to thank Otterbein University for allowing me to get their women’s lacrosse program started. I loved being a part of the Otterbein community and will miss our staff and the wonderful student-athletes I worked with over the past eight years,” Schmidt said.
A 1997 graduate of Ohio State, Schmidt earned her bachelor’s degree in education. While an undergraduate, she was a two-year varsity member of the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team, including the team’s inaugural 1996 season. She served as captain her senior season. She also played on three United States Women’s Lacrosse Association Great Lakes I national tournament teams, as well as two seasons of club lacrosse at Ohio State.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to return to my alma mater as the Director of Operations for women’s lacrosse. I love this university and the women’s lacrosse program, and I am truly grateful to head coach Amy Bokker and deputy director of athletics Janine Oman for the chance to work with the Buckeyes. I can’t wait to work alongside the talented and hardworking staff that has not only proven themselves to be successful, but one that is very well respected among the lacrosse community. The Ohio State athletic department provides a student-athlete experience that is second to none, and I look forward to supporting the team in any way to establish ourselves as one of the elite programs in the nation.”
Schmidt came to Otterbein from Denison University where she served as head women’s lacrosse coach and associate professor from 2001 to 2010. She guided the Big Red to the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) championships and into the NCAA Division III tournament in 2001 and 2006. In 2006, she was named West Region Coach of the Year by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association and was also named coach of the year in the NCAC. Her teams finished first in the NCAC in six of 10 seasons, compiling a 49-16 record in conference play over her career at Denison.
A native of Hopatcong, N. J., Schmidt and her husband, Rory, reside in Westerville with their daughter, Finley.