June 19, 2013

Florida Tech Selects Desrosiers to Lead Women's Lacrosse Program

from Press Release

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Florida Tech Athletics Director Bill Jurgens named Corinne Desrosiers, former head coach at NCAA Division II Merrimack College, the Panthers' first head women's lacrosse coach on Wednesday. She will have one year to recruit in preparation for the inaugural 2014-15 season.

"The University is excited about the addition of women's lacrosse and the hiring of Coach Desrosiers," Jurgens said. "She has strong experience at the Division II level and developing student-athletes. I am confident that under Coach Desrosiers' leadership, we will be a strong contender at the national level."

Desrosiers, formerly Corinne Baker, spent the last six seasons leading the Merrimack Warriors in arguably the toughest conference in Division II, the Northeast-10 Conference. Taking over the reins in 2008, Desrosiers led her Warriors to an 8-6 record, a 7-3 conference mark and a conference tournament berth. Her teams reached the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament five straight years from 2008-12.

In 2010, her squad set a school record in wins after finishing the season with a 12-3 record and a No. 9 national ranking. She was named WomensLacrosse.com Division II National Coach of the Year following the season. Her team also won 12 games in 2011 and was ranked nationally from 2010-12.

"I am honored that Florida Tech has bestowed their faith in me to begin what will be a fantastic addition to an already successful athletic department," Desrosiers said of being handed the program's key. "The growth in women's lacrosse nationwide is very exciting and the new teams springing up in the South are rising to prominence extremely quickly given the various resources and support applied to them in their beginning stages. Florida Tech has provided me and my family with a challenging new adventure to raise the bar of lacrosse in the South Region and we are thrilled to become part of the Panther family."

Under Desrosiers watch, Merrimack compiled a 52-44 overall record and a 42-25 conference record from 2008-13. Her wins total was the most of any Merrimack women's lacrosse coach since the program's inaugural season in 1998-99.

"I believe [Florida Tech] will create its own success story given its academic integrity, location and support from the entire community," Desrosiers said. "I am more than happy to bring in the first group of women's lacrosse players to wear the Florida Tech uniform to play against already known powers inside the Sunshine State Conference of Rollins and Florida Southern along with fellow newcomers Saint Leo and Tampa. The most exciting part of all this is that we truly get to start from scratch and put a personal stamp on what Florida Tech women's lacrosse is going to be: an established tradition of success."

During her six seasons at Merrimack, Desrosiers recruited, developed and coached several players who excelled both on the field and in the classroom. Her 2012 team was named to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Association Academic Squad with a combined 3.2 cumulative grade point average. In 2010, Desrosiers' squad received the inaugural Northeast-10 Academic Excellence Award as the top program within the conference for overall GPA.

She graduated several All-Americans, including three during the 2010 season, while also developing several all-academic, all-region and all-conference student-athletes. One of her three All-Americans in 2010 was also named the Unsung Hero of Division II by WomensLacrosse.com.

She was also the director of student-athlete welfare at Merrimack from August 2011 to June 2013. She oversaw 400 student-athletes, focusing on the student-athlete experience, academic success and progression, and retention along with transition efforts.

"I am going to be looking for an athlete with a high academic standard, one that will flourish given the curriculum here," Desrosiers said. "With a new program, my lacrosse focus will be honing in on the most athletic individuals that we can find to round out our core and gather a few position-specific players to tie the ends of the field together. Since everyone will be a new face to our team, it provides us a unique opportunity to recruit an array of talented players and develop them together for our first season in the spring of 2015.

"As a coach at the Division II level, I believe our focus needs to truly be on the well-rounded student-athlete. We have a commitment to family, academics and our sport. However, I would not be in this game if winning on the field was not also important. I will try to bring an environment of energy and focus to this program from day one for all of our young women to thrive in. I get to help write the first chapter in the book of women's lacrosse at Florida Tech, and I can't think of anything more exciting than that."

Prior to Merrimack, Desrosiers was an assistant coach for Division III lacrosse and field hockey at University of New England at Biddeford in Maine beginning in August 2006. Her duties included scouting, recruiting and organizing the program in-season and out-of-season. Following her season there, Desrosiers spent one season as the assistant coach for Northeast-10 rival Bryant University.

A 2006 graduate of Bridgewater State College, Desrosiers owns the school record for draw controls in a game, season and career. She was a two-time captain and 2006 Prague Cup selection. While at Bridgewater State, she was the head coach of the Bridgewater Youth Lacrosse Team from 2004-06.

With the addition of women's lacrosse, FIT now offers 22 varsity sports. Eleven of those sports have been added since Dr. Anthony J. Catanese was named the institution's president in 2002.

Currently, the Sunshine State Conference does not sponsor women's lacrosse, however, it anticipates adding the sport within the next few years. FIT competes in the SSC in 16 sports and men's lacrosse will be the 17th sport starting in spring 2014.

Read about what Desrosiers' peers said about her coaching success and new position with the Florida Tech Panthers below.

Jen Fox, Former Merrimack women's lacrosse player

"Corinne is one of the most dedicated and passionate coaches I have ever worked with. Her drive, energy and love for the game of lacrosse is something that never goes unnoticed. She is truly a leader who brings out the best in people both on and off the field. Her spirit and hardworking nature are both contagious and reflect through her teams. Corinne is the type of coach who is always engaged with her team and is full of life. She honestly pours her heart and soul into her coaching because coaching to her is her life and she loves it. I am certain that Corinne will bring her positive energy, knowledge of the game and competitive drive to Florida Tech. She knows how to build a successful team as well as a positive experience within her team culture."

Mike Morgan, Merrimack head men's lacrosse coach

"[Corinne] brings a great energy and passion for the game. Having been around the game at the college level for seven years now, she has the knowledge to coach young players and develop them over four years. She is a real student of the game and the players will take to her preparedness. Her personality is contagious and recruits will be excited about the opportunity to play for her.[Corinne] will bring the experience of running a successful program in one of the top women's lacrosse conferences in the country. Corinne will know what it takes to be successful at the Division II level and will work hard for a new team to get them there."

Dean O'Keefe, Merrimack senior associate athletic director

"Corinne built a nationally ranked program at Merrimack that consistently battled at the top of the best NCAA Division II women's lacrosse conference in the country. There is no question she will bring her passion, energy and coaching ability to engineer a successful launch of a team to watch at Florida Tech. The growth in popularity of lacrosse nationwide is amazing, and Florida Tech is incredibly fortunate to have Corinne lead its entry into the exciting sport of NCAA women's lacrosse."

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