Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Athletics
Siegel Ctr - 1200 W. Broad St - P.O. Box 8430 Richmond, VA 232843013
Division 1 Virginia Northeast
Public Very Large National competitor

Coaches

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Jen Kasper O'Brien

Ever since she stepped into the lacrosse coaching world, Jen O’Brien had the goal of one day starting her own program. With lacrosse being one of the fastest growing sports in the country, she knew that it would happen eventually, but the right timing had to be in place.


That timing came in the form of VCU, where O’Brien is the first head coach in program history. The program began intercollegiate play in 2015-16 the right way under O’Brien’s guidance, as the program won it's inaugeral game 21-9 over Gardner-Webb on Feb. 14, 2016. Both Sky Hyatt and Molly Barcikowski earned A-10 All-Rookie honors under her guidance as well.


“Starting the program on the right track from day one was our goal and that’s what we’re getting with Jen. We’re excited to have a proven winner to build the foundation of our women’s lacrosse program,” McLaughlin said. “She brings a tremendous amount of energy to VCU and has a outstanding track record as a coach as well as a player. She also has great ties to the Maryland region, which is known nationally as a hotbed for lacrosse."


O’Brien comes to VCU after spending the past five seasons as an assistant coach at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. In charge of the Blue Jays offense, she helped JHU rank in the top-40 nationally in goals per game over the past five seasons. Along the way, the Blue Jays racked up 43 wins in one of the toughest conferences in the country, the American Lacrosse Conference.


Prior to her time at Hopkins, O’Brien spent one year at Stanford, serving as the co-head coach and helped guide the Cardinal to a 12-8 record and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament Championship.


“It is an absolute honor to be selected as the first coach to lead the VCU women's lacrosse program. I am so appreciative of Director of Athletics, Ed McLaughlin, and the confidence he has shown in me. I would also like to thank the Search Committee and entire VCU family for allowing me to immediately feel at home,” O’Brien said. “I could not be more excited to represent VCU and it's tremendous athletic tradition while establishing a women's lacrosse tradition of our own! It is an exciting time for both VCU Athletics and women's lacrosse and I look forward to successfully contributing to both."


The Eldersburg, Md. native had a stellar four-year playing career at UMBC, where she was a four-year starter, two-time captain and twice earned Second Team All-America East honors. She finished her career with 86 goals and 56 assists for 142 points and, as a senior, led the team in assists (18) and points (44). Her 56 assists ranked fourth in school history when she graduated.


O’Brien and her husband, Steve, reside in Richmond with their two children, Elle and Quinn.

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Caroline Fitzgerald

Former All-American and professional lacrosse player Caroline Fitzgerald joined the VCU Lacrosse program as an assistant coach in the summer of 2019.


Fitzgerald, a Women's Professional Lacrosse League player and former Florida standout, spent the 2019 season as an assistant coach at Arizona State. Prior to her time with the Sun Devils, she was also an assistant coach at Drexel. During both of her previous stints as an assistant, Fitzgerald was primarily focused on assisting in defensive strategies, developing practice plans and assisting in game planning.


"We are thrilled to welcome Caroline to Ram Nation. Caroline brings exceptional playing and coaching experience to our program as well as an extreme passion and knowledge of the sport. Caroline had the opportunity to be a part of the fifth year of Florida's lacrosse program as a freshman and as we enter our fifth year, and a new era of VCU Lacrosse, we will rely on Caroline's experience. It is evident in speaking with Caroline and her peers that she is a great tactical coach and tremendous mentor for her student-athletes," VCU Head Coach Jen O'Brien said.


At Florida, Fitzgerald was a two-time Big East Defender of the Year and helped lead the Gators to three Big East Championships. She started all 82 of her games at UF, the second most in program history. As a senior, she captained the team to a 17-3 record and earned IWLCA All-America Second Team honors as well as IWLCA First team All-Region honors. She ended her Gator career as the program leader in ground balls with 152 and caused turnovers with 87. She garnered three IWLCA First Team All-Region honors during her career and was a two-time Tewaaraton nominee.


In 2017, Fitzgerald was drafted by the Long Island Sound of the United Women's Lacrosse League and helped the team capture the league title. She was then drafted by the New York Fight of the Women's Professional Lacrosse League in its Inaugural Draft and was selected as a WPLL All-Star in 2018 as a defender.

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Liz French

Liz French enters first season as an Assistant Coach in 2016-17. French has been a member of the lacrosse staff as both a volunteer coach and a graduate assistant and helped the program launch its inaugural season in 2015-16. A native of Sykesville, Maryland, Liz French attended Shippensburg University and received her degree in Accounting in 2014.


During her undergraduate studies, she was a member of the Shippensburg women’s lacrosse team, a lacrosse representative for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and president of Tau Kappa Women’s Athletic Honors Sorority. She received first-team all-conference honors her four years at Shippensburg and was selected to participate in the IWLCA DII North/South Senior All-Star game in 2014.


During her career, French posted numbers that rank among SU's all-time statistical leaders in groundballs (158), draw controls (167) and caused turnovers (63). She started all 67 games for the Raiders since 2011, adding 11 goals and five assists during that stretch.


"We could not be more excited to have Liz join us full time after working with our program for the past two years as both a volunteer and graduate assistant. She has certainly shown she has the passion, loyalty and work ethic to positively affect our team and the department. Liz was instrumental in transitioning our program to the Division I level and we are appreciative of her past and future efforts," said O’Brien.

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