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Coastal Carolina University

No Program
P.O. Box 261954 Conway, SC 29528
Division 1 South Carolina Southeast
Public Medium National competitor

Coaches

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Rachel Shuck Whitten

Rachel Shuck Whitten was named the third head women's lacrosse coach in program history in August 2021.


Whitten takes over the Coastal Carolina program after nine years and seven seasons at the helm of the Furman women’s lacrosse program, starting the program as the first head coach in May 2012.


In seven years of NCAA Division I play at Furman, Whitten amassed a 68-49 record and guided the Paladins to six Southern Conference (SoCon) semifinal appearances, while playing in three SoCon championship games in 2018, 2019, and 2021.


The Annapolis, Md. native coached 21 All-SoCon performers during her tenure at Furman, eight of which were named to the SoCon All-Freshman team.


Furman swept the SoCon awards in 2021 as Hannah Demis was named the SoCon Offensive Player of the Year, Avery Whitehead was tabbed the SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, and Meagan Beal picked up SoCon Freshman of the Year honors. Whitten was also honored as the SoCon Coach of the Year for the first time in her career.


In all, the Paladins placed nine on the All-SoCon teams in 2021, going 12-5 overall and 4-0 in league play to win the SoCon regular-season championship title. Furman advanced to the 2021 SoCon Tournament championship match before falling to Mercer in the title match 14-13.


In 2019, Whitten’s team won 11 games and went 4-1 in conference play before advancing to the SoCon Championship Tournament finals for the second-straight season.


Prior to a down year in 2018, in which the Paladins still reached the SoCon Championship Tournament championship match, Whitten’s squads posted back-to-back 12-7 win seasons in 2016 and 2017.


In 2015, the program’s first in competition, Britt Douglass earned ASUN Freshman of the Year honors, as Whitten guided the team to a 9-8 overall record, including a 4-3 mark in conference play.


Before starting the program at Furman, Whitten spent six seasons at the University of Denver, serving as an assistant coach from 2007-11 before being promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2012 season.


During her tenure at Denver, the Pioneers amassed a 71-36 (.664) record, won three Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) regular-season championships, and ranked among the nation's top 20 teams three times.


In 2012, Denver posted a 12-3 record and 6-1 mark against MPSF opponents, leading the nation with 12.6 caused turnovers per game and ranking 10th nationally in scoring offense (13.93 goals per game), while posting the nation's 11th-best scoring margin at 4.2. The team's 12-game winning streak was the longest in Denver women's lacrosse history.


The Pioneers concluded the 2010 season with a 13-5 record and went a perfect 6-0 in league play. Denver advanced to the finals of the MPSF Tournament but was edged by Stanford, 11-10, in double overtime, to finish the season ranked 20th nationally. Pioneers Ali Flury, Natasha Davies, and Lexi Sanders were named to the IWLCA All-West Region second team, while Flury earned All-American accolades.


The 2008 squad also went undefeated in MPSF play, earning a final ranking of 15th nationally.


In Whitten's first two seasons at Denver, the Pioneers posted a combined 29-9 record, including a perfect 10-0 slate in regular-season league play.


A two-time All-American at Loyola University in Baltimore, Md., Whitten helped the Greyhounds advance to three straight NCAA Tournaments from 2002-04, including an appearance in the 2003 NCAA Final Four. Loyola ranked among the nation's top five teams in her first three seasons, finishing the 2003 campaign as the top-ranked team in the country.


Whitten, who is fourth all-time at Loyola with 120 career assists, was nominated as a junior and senior for the Tewaaraton Award, which is presented annually to the NCAA women's lacrosse player of the year. She currently ranks ninth in program history for assists in a season with 38 in 2003 and is tied for seventh for ground balls in a season with 63 in 2003.


A 2004 graduate of Loyola with a bachelor's degree in business administration, she is married to Marty Whitten of Verailles, Mo., and the couple has two children, Aleni Lou and James Cole.

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Erin Fitzgerald

Erin Fitzgerald was named the associate head coach for the women's lacrosse program on Sept. 1, 2021. She joins head coach Rachel Shuck Whitten after four years on staff with her at Furman.


At Furman, Fitzgerald spent the first four years as an assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach following the 2021 season.


Fitzgerald will serve as the program’s offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator while overseeing the draw team.


A native of Mt. Sinai, N.Y., Fitzgerald helped lead the Paladins to two SoCon regular-season championships in 2019 and 2021, and appear in three consecutive SoCon Tournament championship games (2018, 2019, and 2021).


She coached seven All-SoCon performers throughout her time in Greenville, including 2021 SoCon Offensive Player of the Year Hannah Demis and SoCon Freshman of the Year Meagan Beal. Demis finished the 2021 campaign ranked fourth nationally in both assists and assists per game, and 19th in points, while Kyra LaMotte earned first-team All-SoCon accolades after ranking 15th in the nation for goals scored and 21st in goals per game.


Furman had the Southern Conference’s top-scoring offense in 2021, averaging 15.06 goals and 22.00 points per game. The Paladins set a new school record with 256 goals, surpassing the old record of 246 set in 2019. Nationally, Furman ranked 15th in scoring offense in 2021.


Fitzgerald graduated from Northwestern in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in communication studies.


She lettered four years at Northwestern from 2010-13 while helping the Wildcats advance to four NCAA Division I Final Fours and win two NCAA National Championships. She was twice named an IWLCA All-American, earning first-team honors in 2013 and second-team recognition in 2012, and was nominated for the Tewaarton Award in 2013, presented annually to the NCAA women’s lacrosse player of the year.


A two-time American Lacrosse Conference selection, Fitzgerald currently ranks eighth all-time at Northwestern with 190 goals and 10th with 216 points. She was twice named Academic All-Big Ten in 2012 and 2013.


She married Jeremy Ebert in March of 2018. The couple has a son, James Daniel.

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Samantha Giacolone

Samantha Giacolone joined the Coastal Carolina women's lacrosse coaching staff in September 2021.


Giacolone came to CCU after two years as an assistant coach under head coach Rachel Shuck Whitten with the Furman women's lacrosse program.


Furman swept the SoCon awards in 2021 as Hannah Demis was named the SoCon Offensive Player of the Year, Avery Whitehead was tabbed the SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, and Meagan Beal picked up SoCon Freshman of the Year honors.


In all, the Paladins placed nine on the All-SoCon teams in 2021, going 12-5 overall and 4-0 in league play to win the SoCon regular-season championship title. Furman advanced to the 2021 SoCon Tournament championship match before falling to Mercer in the title match 14-13.


Giacolone joined Furman’s staff after a stellar career at Notre Dame, where she graduated in May of 2019 with a degree in Psychology and minors in Business Economics and Education, Schooling and Society.


Giacolone was a four-year starter in goal at Notre Dame and finished her career as the Fighting Irish’s all-time saves leader (605) and all-time wins leader (47). Giacolone was 47-28 in goal for her career, played 4205:06 minutes, turned in a 9.52 goals against average, and a .476 save percentage, picked up 178 ground balls, and caused 30 turnovers.


She picked up plenty of accolades in her Notre Dame career, including earning IWLCA second-team All-America honors in 2019. Giacolone was a four-time ACC Academic Honor Roll honoree, a two-time All-ACC Academic Team member, a five-time ACC Defensive Player of the Week honoree, and was twice named the IWLCA National Player of the Week.


As a senior in 2019, Giacolone was also named to the Inside Lacrosse Midseason All-American second team, All-ACC first team, and IWLCA First Team All-Region, as well as being named one of the top-25 finalists for the Tewaaraton Award.


The Manorville N.Y., native, was a four-year member of Notre Dame’s Monogram club, as well as being a four-year volunteer for student welfare and development. She was a member of Rosenthal Academy, a coach for the Long Island Yellow Jackets Elite Lacrosse Club, and a director and coach of ESMSA Basketball camp.


Giacolone was also a member of the U-19 National Women’s Lacrosse team in 2014-15, representing the United States in Edinburg, Scotland.

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