WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Alexis Venechanos begins her first year as head coach of the Otterbein Women's Lacrosse program in 2019-20 after being officially hired in late July. She arrived to Otterbein following a nine-year stint as the head coach at Ohio State from 2010-19.
Venechanos (pronounced ven-eh-CHAH-nohs) is just the second head coach in the history of Otterbein women’s lacrosse, which launched in 2012 and now readies for its ninth year of existence.
“Alexis is a proven competitor that has achieved at the highest levels,” Stewart said. “Her success can be attributed to positive team cultures she has implemented within each of her programs, as well as the value she places on the student-athlete experience. I am excited for our student-athletes to work and grow with Alexis as she takes the lead of our program.”
Ohio State compiled an 86-73 mark under Venechanos, making a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances (2014, 2015) and also finishing as the Big Ten runner-up in 2015. The Buckeyes ranked in the national top-25 poll almost every season throughout her nine-year tenure, reaching as high as No. 8 during the 2016 run.
“Otterbein has great people, and you can tell they share a lot of love and pride for the school," Venchanos said. "I’m very grateful and humbled to be part of some positive momentum that the athletic department has created, both at the conference and national scenes. I will strive to keep growing the traditions and success."
Venechanos transitioned to OSU after a four-year stint as head coach at Massachusetts, which followed three years as an assistant at Northwestern and a standout playing career for Maryland. That stretch included four national titles, two as a coach and two as a student-athlete.
She inherited a UMass program that had not made the NCAA Tournament in over 20 years and, within three seasons, took the Minutewomen back to the postseason. The program ultimately secured two NCAA berths, two Atlantic 10 Tournament crowns, an A-10 regular-season title and three appearances in the A-10 Tournament championship game during her four years.
Prior to that, Venechanos served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Northwestern and was part of a multitude of success. The Wildcats went 56-4 across three years, winning back-to-back NCAA Championships (2005, 2006) and boasting the nation’s top defense.
“I got into coaching lacrosse for the opportunity to build relationships and mentor,” Venechanos explained. “The college athlete experience is such a special one because you only have four years. You see a lot of growth in a person during this time and the ways in which competition can instill various lessons. The four years I had were some of the best in my life, so it has always remained my goal to give that experience to others."
Venechanos was a decorated three-year starting goalie for Maryland, which claimed consecutive NCAA titles in 2000 and 2001 to begin her stay. The Terrapins were a perfect 22-0 during her first year as a starter, won three ACC trophies and then made the NCAA Semifinals in 2003 when Venechanos culminated as a first team All-American and National Goalkeeper of the Year. She played the second half of that senior season with a torn ACL.
“We want to be a program of strong character and good people, which relates to being good teammates,” Venechanos said. “When you combine that trust with hard work, it allows you to be courageous on the field and take aggressive chances. Building through relationships and putting the team first helps the other aspects take care of themselves.”
Venechanos also holds experience as head coach of the Canadian National Team from 2012-13, leading the country to its best finish in history with a silver medal at the Women’s Lacrosse World Cup in Oshawa. She planned and directed the player pool, tryouts, scouting and support staff.
Venechanos holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Maryland. She and her wife, Sarah Taylor, a professor at nearby Ohio Wesleyan, currently reside in Columbus with their three daughters; Olympia, along with twins Theodora and Cecilia.