Rutgers University Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs named Melissa Lehman as Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach on June 17, 2019. A New Jersey native who has served as associate head coach and assistant coach at Penn for the past 10 seasons and helped the Quakers to 10 NCAA Tournament berths and eight Ivy League titles, she becomes the seventh head coach in the program’s 43-year history.
“Melissa brings a record of experience and accomplishment that has positioned her to bring great success to our Scarlet Knight program,” said Hobbs. “Her reputation for developing student-athletes, both academically and athletically, is well known. With the Gary and Barbara Rodkin Academic Success Center rising, women’s lacrosse will have a best-in-class facility to cultivate recruits and advance the program. Melissa has the vision and enthusiasm necessary to realize the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead for the Scarlet Knights. We are very excited to welcome her into the Rutgers Athletics family.”
“I am beyond excited to join the Rutgers family as the women’s lacrosse head coach,” said Lehman. “I want to thank Pat Hobbs, Sarah Baumgartner, Kate Hickey and the entire search committee for believing in me and sharing in my vision for leading this program into the future. This is an exciting time for Rutgers Athletics, as the university continues to enhance the student-athlete experience with the new world-class facilities and holistic programming. I could feel the passion and support for this program as soon as I stepped on campus, and am eager to begin working alongside the talented coaches, administrators and staff across the department. On a personal level, I can’t wait to get back to my home state to start building this Big Ten program into a national competitor.
“I would also like to thank my mentor, Karin Corbett, for everything she has done for me in my time as both a player and coach at the University of Pennsylvania. Karin's guidance and the support from the entire Penn community have prepared me for this next step in my coaching career. I am the coach I am today because of them and am forever grateful.”
Working under the former National Coach of the Year, Lehman focused on the midfield and defense. During her tenure, 10 midfielders and defenders earned All-America honors, while combining for 25 All-Region selections. In addition, 35 Penn middies and defenders captured All-Ivy League accolades. She also managed the team’s mentor program, facilitating relationships between current players and alumnae.
Lehman was instrumental, both as a coach and player, in helping Penn make 13 consecutive NCAA Championship appearances, the fifth-longest streak in the nation. An All-America midfielder and two-time All-Ivy selection from 2005-08, she captained the Quakers' 2008 team that advanced to the NCAA national final. Penn won back-to-back Ivy titles in 2007 and 2008 and twice advanced to NCAA Championship Weekend.
In total, Lehman accumulated 11 Ivy League Championships and 14 NCAA Championship berths during her tenure in University City. She was named the IWLCA Division I Assistant Coach of the Year in 2014.
A Newark Star-Ledger First Team All-State selection at Shore Regional High School, where she also starred in soccer and basketball, Lehman was a First Team All-American on the lacrosse field before attending Penn. After earning an economics degree in 2008, she spent the 2009 season as an assistant at Brown University before returning to her alma mater.