Youngstown State Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo announced on Monday that Theresa Walton, formerly an assistant coach at VCU, has been named the first Women's Lacrosse Head Coach in school history.
Walton, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., spent the past two seasons focusing on the defensive unit, goalkeepers and serving as the recruiting coordinator for Head Coach Jen O'Brien at VCU. The newly-formed program posted seven victories in each of Walton's two seasons with school.
"I am beyond grateful to be the very first head women's lacrosse coach at Youngstown State University," Walton said. "I would like to especially thank Elaine Jacobs along with the entire search committee for this exciting opportunity to build a strong program here at YSU. Their representation of Penguin Pride was evident throughout this process and I cannot wait to make women's lacrosse a contributing team to the University, athletic department, and community as a whole. Go Guins!"
In 2019, VCU was 7-11 and went 4-5 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Rams' defense caused 187 turnovers in the 18 games. Individually, nine players caused at nine turnovers.
In 2018, VCU finished the year 7-11 overall with a 5-4 Atlantic 10 record. The team earned its first Atlantic 10 Championship berth by defeating seven-time defending conference champion UMass in the regular season, halting their NCAA record 61-game conference winning streak.
Walton led a defensive unit that helped propel the team to its first winning record in conference and included the program's first wins over Davidson and UMass. The defense held opponents to single-digit goals four times in 2018, which also featured two overtime wins. The defense forced a school-record 192 turnovers with eight Rams causing at least 10 turnovers for the campaign.
"We are thrilled to have Theresa as our first-ever women's lacrosse head coach," Strollo said. "She has a great lacrosse background and will be someone who can come in and build our program from the outset. Her enthusiasm is something that will be a great asset as we grow the program."
Walton joined VCU after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Mount Olive. In her first two years at Mount Olive, the Trojans had an overall record of 27-9. In 2015, Walton helped guide Mount Olive to the Conference Carolinas Women's Lacrosse Championship as the team was ranked No. 9 in the year-end Nike/LaxMagazine Division II Women's Lacrosse Top 20 Poll, the highest ranking in program history.
Prior to arriving at Mount Olive, Walton served as an assistant coach at Alma College (Mich.), where she helped the team to a 16-3 mark. Alma posted a record of 7-8 the year prior to Walton's arrival.
Walton earned her bachelor's degree in communications at Canisius College (N.Y.) and helped lead the Griffins to back-to-back Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference women's lacrosse titles, including the first title in school history. Walton earned MAAC All-Tournament honors during Canisius' first title run. She tallied 42 goals and eight assists for 50 points during her career.
She is a graduate of Nottingham High School where she earned Academic All-America and OSHL All-League honors.