Alumna Hired as Head Coach for Women’s Lacrosse

Posted: July 24, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Former Patriot Lauren Rywak, BA English ’02, was hired as the head coach for women’s lacrosse, Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics Tom O’Connor announced.

Rywak played at Mason from 1998 to 2001 before making a successful transition into head coaching at Iona College, where she earned Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Coach of the Year honors last season.

“I am honored to accept the position as head women’s lacrosse coach and return to my alma mater,” Rywak said. “George Mason athletics gave so much to me as a player, and I am excited to come back as a professional and continue the strong traditions established. I appreciate this amazing opportunity that Tom O’Connor has given me. I am looking forward to working with the team to guide these student-athletes through their collegiate careers both in the classroom and on the field.”

“We are excited about landing someone of her impeccable credentials,” O’Connor said. “Having coached internationally in England, starting a Division I program from the ground up, and finding success in the first five years is impressive. She is also very familiar with the landscape of lacrosse in Virginia, having played at Mason and coached at W.T. Woodson High School [in Fairfax, Va.]. I admire her enthusiasm for the game and for George Mason University, which should prove invaluable to our student-athletes.”

Rywak was hired as the first women’s lacrosse head coach at Iona on Sept. 3, 2003. Upon her hiring at the age of 23, she held the distinction of being the youngest NCAA Division I head coach in any sport.

The Gaels quickly improved in their first few years of existence. In the inaugural 2005 campaign, Iona went 3-13, and the following season Rywak guided the team to a 5-11 mark. In 2007, Rywak led the Gaels to their first winning season with an 8-7 record. She followed up that success with a 2008 campaign that saw Iona earn its first berth in the MAAC Championship Tournament after a fourth-place finish in the conference standings.

In addition to the success on the field, Iona’s student-athletes also performed in the classroom under Rywak’s tutelage. Iona tied Marist with the most student-athletes on the 2008 MAAC All-Academic Team, with 14 of 25 athletes named to the squad.

Beginning in high school, Rywak coached at various programs, camps and clinics. She served as the W.T. Woodson High School girl’s lacrosse junior varsity team head coach, as well as the defensive coach for the varsity squad that won the Virginia State Championship in 2002.

Rywak came to Iona after coaching at the English Lacrosse Association in Westmindlands, England, for one year.

A native of Suffern, N.Y., Rywak played four years for the Patriots as a defender. She was co-captain during her senior year in 2001, making 15 starts and finishing the season with 27 ground balls, 12 caused turnovers and seven draw controls.

Rywak helped Mason achieve its first winning season in the history of the program during her freshman year in 1998. The Patriots were nationally ranked during each of Rywak’s final three seasons on the team, finishing 14th in 1999, 19th in 2000 and 18th in 2001.

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