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UPDATED: Minutewomen find replacement for Venechanos


UMass Media Relations

It’s been a summer of change for the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team.

Eight days removed from Alexis Venechanos’ departure from UMass, former Connecticut coach Angela McMahon accepted a position to lead the Atlantic 10  champion Minutewomen.

“I am thrilled and honored to return to the University of Massachusetts,” McMahon said. “I would like to thank Athletic Director John McCutcheon and Associate Athletic Director Dan Markowski for giving me this amazing opportunity to lead the women’s lacrosse program. I would also like to thank UConn Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway for my wonderful experience at Connecticut.”

Venechanos’ decision to leave UMass came on July 1 when Buckeyes’ Athletic Director Gene Smith created a national coaching search, which led to McCutcheon deciding on McMahon to coach the Minutewomen. 

“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,” Venechanos said on UMass Athleticsto UMass media relations following her departure. “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.”The four-year coach for the Maroon and White will go out on a high note, as her squad successfully retained the A-10 championship back in late April.

Venechanos will be the second head coach in program history for the Buckeyes, replacing Sue Stimmel who resigned from her position in May. She will enter into a program that went 9-7 during the 2010 spring season and faltered in the ALC tournament in with a first round loss to Penn State.

Despite being a new coach, McMahon is no stranger to UMass, as she served as an associate coach under Venechanos in 2007 and 2008.

“We are excited to have Angela rejoin the UMass women’s lacrosse program as our new head coach,” UMass Athletic Director John McCutcheon told UMass Athletics. “She was an important piece in building the UMass program during her time here setting the stage for the last two Atlantic 10 titles and NCAA tournament berth.”

Despite serving UMass as an associate coach in the past, McMahon led two other squads as head coach. Her first head coaching position was at Bentley in 2006.

McMahon didn’t bring the Falcons any championships, but did lead them to a 7-8 record and a fourth place finish in the Northeast 10 conference. Furthermore, McMahon served as a member of the Division II North Regional Lacrosse Committee.

After working as an associate coach for the Minutewomen, McMahon accepted the head coaching position for the Huskies.

She improved the UConn program by a considerable margin. Before she joined prior to the 2009 season, the Huskies had a 1-15 record. McMahon followed her first season (3-13) with an improved 9-8 record. It was UConn’s first winning season since 2007.

UMass’ new coach finished her tenure with the Huskies going 12-21 overall and 4-11 in the Big East.

McMahon also succeeded as a player. While she began her career as a Minutewoman, she transferred to Northwestern in 2001 and in her three years, recorded 44 goals and 23 assists.  

Her skills as a Wildcat helped push the squad to the NCAA QQuarterfinals, a feat previously recorded before NU reclaimed varsity status in 2002. The Western Mass., native attacker helped lay the foundation for the Wildcats’ four consecutive national championships.

Similar to McMahon, Venechanos also had the responsibility of reversing a team’s losing ways.

When Venechanos first joined the Minutewomen program in 2006, she inherited a team that wasn’t used to winning. Before her arrival, UMass had not been a part of the NCAA tournament for nearly a quarter century. Her leadership changed this, as she brought the Minutewomen two consecutive NCAA tournament berths.

During her tenure as head coach, Venechanos led UMass to a pair of A-10 championships (2009, 2010), in three final appearances, and an A-10 regular season title (2009). Her total record for the Minutewomen concluded at 36-38, with an 18-10 A-10 regular season record, and a 5-1 record in the A-10 tournament.

As a player, she also contributed to a winning team.

Venechanos started her collegiate lacrosse work at Maryland, where she played goalkeeper for the Terrapins. Not only did she earn All-American honors and national accolades, but Venechanos earned two consecutive national championships with a team that went 83-15 during her tenure in the net.

The Yorktown native went on to be the first assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Northwestern. From 2004-06, Venechanos helped lead the Wildcats to two of their five consecutive national championships.

While at NU, Venechanos focused primarily on assisting the defenders and goalkeepers. Her help proved its worth in 2005, when Wildcat goalkeeper Ashley Gersuk earned national awards including American Lacrosse Conference Goalie of the Year.

 Herb Scribner can be reached at hscribne@student.umass.edu.

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