Mindy McCord named first USF Women’s Lacrosse head coach
TAMPA, MAY 31, 2022 – University of South Florida Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly today announced his selection of eight-time conference coach of the year honoree Mindy McCord as the first head coach of the USF women’s lacrosse program.
A highly-accomplished program leader with a 240-118 (.670) career record in 21 seasons as a lacrosse head coach, ranking among the top 20 active coaches in the nation, McCord leaves a Jacksonville University program she built from the ground up and led to national prominence, posting a 170-62 (.733) record over the first 13 years of the program’s existence while also helping to design and fundraise for a lacrosse facility that ranks among the nation’s best.
As a women’s lacrosse and field hockey head coach, McCord has accumulated 326 total wins in two sports at all levels and has established herself as an active advocate of lacrosse nationally while previously launching collegiate lacrosse programs at Virginia Tech and Jacksonville. Her teams have earned conference championships in 13 seasons and twice earned runner-up finishes in lacrosse during her career and she has recruited and developed 13 All-Americans and 26 all-region selections. McCord’s teams have earned a combined 21 conference regular season and tournament titles (eight each in the ASUN), 11 straight completed seasons with a conference championship (since 2011), and eight NCAA Lacrosse Tournament appearances reaching the Sweet 16 twice.
"We are absolutely thrilled to name a leader of Mindy McCord's proven capabilities and passion for the sport as the first head coach in USF women's lacrosse history," Kelly said. "Not only does she have tremendous experience building a program from the ground up and leading it to multiple conference titles and national prominence, but also has done it in the state of Florida.”
McCord is coming off a 2022 season in which she led the Dolphins to their fourth straight ASUN regular-season title (eighth overall), the program’s eighth ASUN Tournament title and led the nation in scoring for seventh time averaging 17.21 goals per game. Under her direction, the Dolphins have compiled 18 NCAA statistical championships and one individual statistical title (Rachel Hannon, Draw Control – 2012), and have set the standard for offensive success, leading the nation in scoring on six occasions and setting the NCAA record for scoring offense twice (2012 and 2018).
"Student-athletes and fans gravitate to her up-tempo, high-scoring style of play that has seen many of her teams rank among the highest-scoring in the nation,” Kelly said. “She combines with that the vision and drive to build a highly-successful program, a passionate investment in the welfare of student-athletes, and a strong desire and skill set to connect with her community that we feel is the perfect combination to launch our program."
McCord’s student-athletes also excel off the field. Her women’s lacrosse program was the most academically successful program at JU in 2021 and 2022, posting team grade-point averages of 3.76 and 3.70, respectively. Women’s lacrosse student-athletes earned 2022 Jacksonville University graduation awards for the No. 1 student in nursing, the No. 1 student in the Davis College of Business, and the No. 1 graduate student. In 2014, the program finished with the third-highest team GPA in NCAA Division I lacrosse and has been awarded both JU’s community service and school spirit awards multiple times while developing a team culture known for its infectious spirit and commitment to service.
"I want to thank Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly and Deputy Athletics Director Kris Pierce for inviting me to interview and offering me the opportunity to be the first USF Division I lacrosse coach ever,” McCord said. “I am honored to serve #TeamUSF. It’s a very special day for me and my family. For 20 years, I have been coaching and helping grow the sport of lacrosse in the state of Florida. It’s been a fun, faith-filled, family journey that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Now, with the positive culture infused by Mr. Kelly and his staff at USF, we get to go all out and reach for the highest of heights with Tampa’s first D1 lacrosse team!
“I am incredibly humbled to take the reins at USF. Trust me, it had to be the most perfect of opportunities to cause me to leave such a strong labor of love that JU was in my life. I will forever treasure my relationships at JU and will always remember the incredible success we built from 2010 through last season. I am grateful to so many friends and supporters at JU who supported our program’s journey there."
McCord continued the JU program’s success in 2022 as the Dolphins posted a 14-5 record (5-0, ASUN), won both conference regular season and tournament titles, and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the second straight year with a 20-8 defeat of Stanford. The Dolphins led the nation in shots with 704, finished first in scoring offense, third in points per game, and second in scoring margin. The Dolphins garnered two USA Lacrosse Magazine All-American Honorable Mentions (Molly Brock and Sarah Elms), two IWLCA All-Region selections (Brock and Elms), the ASUN Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year (Paige Pagano), the ASUN Midfielder of the Year (Molly Brock), six ASUN All-Conference First Team honorees, ASUN tournament MVP (Pagano), three ASUN All-Freshman team selections and five ASUN All-Academic Team selections.
During her career, McCord has guided 13 ASUN Player of the Year selections (5 players of the year, six defensive players of the year, four freshmen of the year, and one midfielder of the year), 81 ASUN All-Conference picks (41 first team), one ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Ali Hoffman, 2013 & 2014), 31 ASUN All-Academic Team selections and 35 IWLCA Academic Honor Roll selections. Her teams have earned eight IWLCA Academic Honor Squad recognitions, including Merit Squad in 2013.
“If the positive attitude at USF isn’t enough, Tampa Bay is full of winning attitudes with world champions seemingly around every corner,” McCord said of her move to the Bay area. “This is an opportunity that will allow our program to go all the way. Nowhere else is there this much support for student-athletes and their quality of life! The university is growing rapidly too. There’s a reason for all this growth. There’s every reason for top prospects to come to Tampa Bay and join this program. Everything is in place for USF to become one of the greatest programs in the country. The plan we have for a state-of-the-art stadium and facility is unparalleled. The commitment to success is the same.”
A 1993 graduate of Lynchburg College, earning a psychology degree and cum laude honors, McCord earned a master’s in counselor education from Virginia Tech in 1995. In 2015, she was inducted into the Lynchburg College Hall of Fame where she was a team captain and four-year lacrosse starter, earning rookie of the year, all-conference, regional All-American, and North/South Senior All-Star Game honors and went on to play in Australia while studying abroad.
McCord’s coaching career began while studying for her master’s degree at Virginia Tech, where she coached the women’s lacrosse club team for two years, helping them to earn Division I status in the ACC.
Her NCAA coaching career began as a 23-year-old head coach at prestigious Oberlin College in Ohio. As one of the NCAA’s youngest head coaches, she won consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference lacrosse titles in 1997 and 1998, including an undefeated conference record (11-0) in 1997 that led to NCAC Coach of the Year honors.
She moved to McDaniel College, formerly Western Maryland, as head field hockey and lacrosse coach in her hometown of Westminster, Md. McCord won the school’s first and only conference title in field hockey, where she remains second all-time with 61 victories and has the school’s best winning percentage (.656). In the 2002 season, McCord was named Centennial Conference Coach of the year in field hockey. She also rebuilt the lacrosse program at McDaniel, helping the Green Terror to a 10-6 record in 2002 and establishing recruiting in-roads that have led to McDaniel becoming a consistent top-25 program.
McCord moved to Florida in 2004 and took over a fledgling program at Nease High School (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) in 2006. The program had won only three games in its first three seasons, but, in her first season, Nease won four games and earned a top-20 ranking in the State of Florida. Nease went on to win consecutive district titles, and back-to-back No. 8 rankings in Florida in 2007 and 2008 as well as a No. 16 ranking in the southern United States in 2008. For her efforts, she was named by her peers as US Lacrosse-Orlando’s Coach of the Year.
McCord co-founded with her husband, Paul, a national travel lacrosse club called Lax Maniax Elite, which has helped more than 275 young women from Florida go on to play lacrosse in college and has boasted 22 high school all-Americans. The program won the 2007 and 2008 Southeastern Lacrosse championships and is recognized as the leading national club in the south.
For the past four years, McCord has served as a Division I representative to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) and has served the last four years on the Division I Ranking Committee.
Born in Westminster, Md., McCord attended Westminster High School where she played field hockey, lacrosse, and ran track, earning honors in all three sports. In her senior year, she founded and implemented the first lacrosse club in Carroll County, Md., for middle and high school girls. Her husband, Paul, coached at JU for 10 seasons (2010-19) and works for Legacy Global Sports. Their daughter, Taylor, played lacrosse at Jacksonville University and earned a bachelor’s degree in 2015, an MBA in 2016, and currently works for Black Knight Financial. The couple also has a young son, LJ, born in 2015.