Rutgers announced the hiring of Melissa Lehman as the new women’s lacrosse head coach on Monday afternoon. The New Jersey native was a First Team All-American at Shore Regional high school before helping Penn secure multiple Ivy League titles and reach the NCAA final as a player in the mid-2000’s. She earned All-America and All-Ivy League status at Penn before serving as an assistant and associate head coach for the Quakers over the past decade. Penn has made 13 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, the fifth longest streak in the country. During Lehman’s time as a player and coach at Penn, they won 11 Ivy League titles.
“Melissa brings a record of experience and accomplishment that has positioned her to bring great success to our Scarlet Knight program,” said Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs. “Her reputation for developing student-athletes, both academically and athletically, is well known. With the Gary and Barbara Rodkin Academic Success Center rising, women’s lacrosse will have a best-in-class facility to cultivate recruits and advance the program. Melissa has the vision and enthusiasm necessary to realize the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead for the Scarlet Knights. We are very excited to welcome her into the Rutgers Athletics family.”
Lehman takes over the program after former head coach and star player for Rutgers lacrosse, Laura Brand Sias, stepped down this past spring after 17 seasons at the helm.
”I am beyond excited to join the Rutgers family as the women’s lacrosse head coach,” said Lehman. “I want to thank Pat Hobbs, Sarah Baumgartner, Kate Hickey and the entire search committee for believing in me and sharing in my vision for leading this program into the future. This is an exciting time for Rutgers Athletics, as the university continues to enhance the student-athlete experience with the new world-class facilities and holistic programming. I could feel the passion and support for this program as soon as I stepped on campus, and am eager to begin working alongside the talented coaches, administrators and staff across the department. On a personal level, I can’t wait to get back to my home state to start building this Big Ten program into a national competitor.”
Lehman played and coached under Karin Corbett at Penn, a one-time national coach of the year and one of the most successful coaches in the nation.
”I would also like to thank my mentor, Karin Corbett, for everything she has done for me in my time as both a player and coach at the University of Pennsylvania. Karin’s guidance and the support from the entire Penn community have prepared me for this next step in my coaching career. I am the coach I am today because of them and am forever grateful.”
This seems like another strong hire for Hobbs, as he continues to make over the non-revenue sports within the athletic department during his tenure. Lehman is name that is well known around local lacrosse circles and she succeeded at the highest level as a player, in addition to building a solid coaching resume at one of the most respected and successful women’s lacrosse programs in Division I. Taking over Rutgers is a tremendous opportunity for Lehman and she’ll bring instant credibility to the program across the state. She seems poised to excel as a head coach and help Rutgers climb up the Big Ten ladder.