Pitt hires women’s lacrosse coach for new program that starts in 2021-22
Pitt has taken the next — and perhaps most important — step toward starting its women lacrosse program: naming a coach.
Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke announced Friday the hiring of Emily Boissonneault, who has been with the James Madison lacrosse program since 2015, serving as associate head coach for the past year. A native of Ontario, she also is an assistant coach with the Team Canada U19 National Team.
JMU has reached four consecutive NCAA championships, winning the national title last year. Boissonneault helped lead the Dukes to a 62-22 record, including 22-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association. JMU won each of the past three CAA championships and was 5-3 in NCAA Tournament play over the past four seasons.
Last season, James Madison was 16-4, including 6-0 in the CAA. JMU finished 15th in the final IWLCA Coaches Poll.
Pitt will play its inaugural season against NCAA Division I competition during the 2021-22 academic year. Pitt is jumping into the ACC, perhaps the toughest conference for women’s lacrosse in the nation. An ACC program has played in the NCAA women’s lacrosse national championship game in each of the past eight seasons.
Lacrosse is the first varsity sport added at Pitt since softball began in 1997-98.
“It takes a special individual to build a program from scratch,” Lyke said in a statement. “You need someone who has great vision, relentless energy and confidence to build something unprecedented.
“I am excited we have found that type of person and leader in Emily Boissonneault. She brings to Pitt an excellent pedigree as a coach and player and knows what it takes to compete against the premier lacrosse conference in the country.
“Emily’s experience helping to bring a national championship to James Madison University will be invaluable. Moreover, her tremendous contacts in the sport, both across the country and internationally, will be major assets in building Pitt lacrosse into a program that will make a mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
“Starting a program is a unique opportunity, and I am looking forward to getting to work and building a competitive program in the ACC, the premier lacrosse conference in the country,” Boissonneault said. “Throughout the process, it quickly became clear that Pitt was the place where I wanted to be head coach.”
Boissonneault began her collegiate coaching career at Winthrop in 2013, where she served as an assistant coach for three years. During the 2015 season, she helped coach the Eagles to a Big South championship and the first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
She still plays internationally and was a member on the 2013 and ‘17 Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup Canadian National Team and played in the 2017 World Games in Poland. Boissonneault helped guide Team Canada to the silver medals in all three tournaments, marking the best international finishes in Canada’s lacrosse history.
She also played professionally for the Boston Storm of the United Women’s Lacrosse League.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .