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Lenoir-Rhyne Hires McHale to Lead Women’s Lacrosse

Vice President for Athletics Kim Pate has announced the hiring of Shannon McHale as the head women’s lacrosse coach. McHale brings 27 years of coaching experience and was most recently the head coach at Colorado Mesa for three years before coming to Lenoir-Rhyne.

“I am excited to announce the hiring of Coach Shannon McHale,” said Pate. “She brings extensive experience and a proven record of achievement on and off the field. She embodies everything we value in support of the student-athlete experience and will invest in developing and preparing her players to be successful both in their sport and in life. Coach McHale will be an excellent addition to our staff. I am thrilled to welcome her to the Bear family.”

“I am looking forward to joining both the Lenoir-Rhyne family and the Hickory community,” stated McHale. “I would like to thank Kim Pate and President Fred Whitt for the opportunity and belief in me to elevate the LR women’s lacrosse program. I can tell LR is a special place and I’m excited to get started”

In total, McHale has 23 years of head coaching experience at Divisions II and III and spent four seasons (2017-20) as an assistant coach at Division II Florida Southern. McHale, who started her head coaching career at SUNY Potsdam from 1996-2001, owns a career record of 196-158 and is coming off a three-year stint at Colorado Mesa where she went 31-17.

At Colorado Mesa, McHale led the Mavericks to a share of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship this past spring with a 9-1 mark in league play and an 11-6 overall record. CMU topped No. 4 Regis 14-13 in overtime to help earn the first RMAC Championship in program history. In her three years, the Mavericks went 26-4 in RMAC play, winning .867 percent of league games. Prior to her arrival, CMU never finished above third place in the conference and McHale guided the program to a pair of second place finishes to go with the league championship. Additionally, McHale coached Kelsey Viger to just the third IWLCA All-American in program history. In 2022, the Mavericks won the RMAC Midfielder of the Year, Defender of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors under McHale.

McHale also is on the IWLCA Division II Board of Directors and the NCAA Division II Women’s Lacrosse National Committee as well as being the Midwest Region’s Chair.

McHale went to CMU after spending 2018-20 as an assistant coach at perennial powerhouse Florida Southern. In her three seasons, the Mocs finished as Division II national runner up, had six players earn IWLCA All-America honors and won 18 straight games en route to the national title game.

McHale spent 20 seasons as a highly successful Division III coach at SUNY Potsdam, St. John Fisher and Ithaca. She won her first of three Empire 8 Coach of the Year honors at St. John Fisher in 2007 when the Cardinals won a program record 14 games and she led the team to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and 98 wins over a 10-year span. McHale’s 2009 squad defeated The College of Wooster 17-12 in the NCAA Tournament, the first NCAA postseason win in St. John Fisher history.

McHale then went on to Ithaca College and posted a 48-24 mark over her four years with a .667 winning percentage and was the Empire 8 Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2013. McHale led the Bombers to 13 wins in her first season (2012), the most for the program since winning 14 in 2003.

McHale is a 1992 graduate of SUNY Brockport where she was a three-year letter-winner in soccer and first-team all-state in 1990. She was the SUNYAC West Division Player of the Year in 1990 and was a first-team all-SUNYAC performer in 1989. She was inducted into the institution’s Hall of Fame in 1997.

She earned her master’s degree in exercise and sport sciences and sport psychology from Ithaca in 2005. She also served as an assistant coach for the Swiss National Team at last summer’s World Lacrosse Championship.