Josh Hexter enters his sixth season at the helm of the Elon University women’s lacrosse program in 2019 after building the program from the ground up since being tabbed the first head coach in program history by Elon Director of Athletics Dave Blank on April 28, 2012.
With vast improvement each of the first four seasons of competition since the first campaign in 2014, the 2017 campaign saw Elon reach new heights with the program’s first appearances in a conference tournament title game and the NCAA Tournament. Throughout the year, Elon earned a 13-7 record that included wins over No. 13 Virginia, No. 19 Virginia Tech and No. 17 Towson in the CAA Semifinals. With a 4-2 record in CAA action, the Phoenix won its first conference tournament game with a thrilling 10-9 victory in overtime over Towson on its home field, Johnny Unitas Stadium in Maryland. Earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Phoenix took on No. 13 Virginia and though it fell 11-9, Elon battled back from a deep early deficit to come within striking distance midway through the second half. At the start of the season, Elon opened with a 4-0 record for the second season in a row and opened the year with six wins in seven games for the best seven-game stretch in program history. Though it dropped its opening two CAA regular season games, Elon answered nicely in winning each of its next five games to reach the CAA Finals, marking the most consecutive wins to date for the program.
Though Hexter's Phoenix regressed in 2018 with a 4-11 record against nine nationally-ranked opponents, Stephanie Asher earned First Team All-CAA honors and Alexis Zadjura Second Team All-CAA honors for the third-straight campaign. Additionally, Asher was named a Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List honoree for the second-straight season. Along the way, Elon battled NCAA Tournament teams Virginia, Stanford, Virginia Tech and Towson to go with national semifinalist North Carolina and national champion James Madison. In May, the program reached its third-straight CAA Tournament, but fell 9-7 to No. 6 Towson in the semifinals.
In 2016, Elon posted a 10-7 record with its first-ever win over a nationally-ranked opponent when Elon defeated No. 10 Duke on Feb. 25 by the score of 7-6 in Durham, N.C. The Phoenix opened the season with a 4-0 record, which set a new high mark for best starts to a season. Finishing with 10 wins on the year, some good fortune could’ve added up to a total of 15 wins on the season with the Phoenix dropping four two-goal games and one one-goal game on the campaign that ended with an 8-6 loss to second-seeded Towson in the CAA Semifinals in Philadelphia.
Elon’s second year of competition in 2015 ended with Hexter guiding the Phoenix to an even 8-8 record with wins over three programs that claimed wins over the Phoenix in 2014. During the year, Elon picked up its first CAA win on April 12, an 8-7 win over William & Mary at Rhodes Stadium. At season’s end, Stephanie Asher was named the CAA Rookie of the Year while also being picked a Second Team All-CAA and CAA All-Rookie Team honoree after scoring 44 goals. That mark stood as a program record until she shattered it with 58 goals in 2017.
In Elon’s first season of competition in 2014, Elon posted an 8-9 record with a 4-1 mark in Atlantic Sun action while finishing second in the regular season standings. The Phoenix also posted a perfect 5-0 record at home during the year. For his efforts, Hexter was named A-Sun Coach of the Year while a total of seven players earned all-conference honors, including Sloane Kessler’s A-Sun Freshman of the Year award.
The inaugural 2014 season opened on Feb. 7, where Elon traveled to No. 6 Duke. With Hexter’s guidance, the Phoenix won its first-ever game on March 1, a 16-7 triumph over St. Francis at Rhodes Stadium.
Hexter began his time at Elon in 2012 following the conclusion of his eighth season with the Duke women’s lacrosse program. He joined the Blue Devil staff prior to the 2005 season and was promoted to associate head coach in 2010.
Duke amassed a 119-42 record during Hexter’s tenure, averaging nearly 15 wins per season. With Hexter on staff, the Blue Devils won three ACC regular season championships, as well as an ACC Tournament title, while also reaching five national semifinals (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011). In his eight seasons, Duke finished among the Top 5 seven times.
Under Hexter’s guidance, the Duke offense consistently ranked as one of the best in the country. In Hexter’s eight seasons with the Blue Devils, Duke scored 2,020 goals – averaging more than 14 per contest – a jump of nearly four goals per game from the nine seasons prior to his arrival. In addition, the 2009 squad set program single-season highs for goals (313), assists (150) and points (463).
While at Duke, the Blue Devils had a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, an honor annually presented to the best NCAA Division I men’s and women’s lacrosse player. In 2005, Duke’s Katie Chrest won the Tewaaraton and was a finalist a year later.
Prior to arriving at Duke, Hexter served as the head women's lacrosse coach at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Mass. While at Bridgewater State, the program totaled a 72-42 record and made a trip to the New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance (NEWLA) title game in six consecutive seasons. He led the team to two conference championships during this time. In 2003, Bridgewater made the program's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Prior to coaching at Bridgewater, Hexter coached the New England III Team in the National Tournament and in the Bay State Games. He also served as an assistant women's lacrosse coach at The College of the Holy Cross from 1996-97.
A 1995 graduate of Assumption College, he was a four-year standout defenseman on the lacrosse team, earning team captain and NECLA All-Star honors during his senior campaign. In 1995, Hexter became the first player in Assumption history to earn a spot in the East-West New England All-Star Game.
Hexter and his wife, Courtney, reside in Durham with their sons - Evan, Christopher and Nicholas - and their dog, Rosie.