Lacrosse Coach Emily Wetmore to Build Golden Tigers’ Newest Intercollegiate Sport from Scratch
When Brenau University added Horseheads, New York, native Emily Wetmore to its athletics department staff as head lacrosse coach, it gave her a blank slate for building a team – a roster with no players on it and technically no place to play.
However, Athletics Director Mike Lochstampfor says if anybody can get a Golden Tigers squad on the field in time to start intercollegiate play in February 2018, it is the the veteran coach.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have someone of Emily’s caliber be the coach of our first team,” said Lochstampfor. “She knows how to recruit and develop a championship program, and I am confident that she will do the same for our Golden Tigers lacrosse team.”
For the past five and a half years Wetmore has coached the Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. Her Panthers team posted a 12-5 record in 2016, the program’s finest season that matched the record for most wins, captured a shared of the Southern Athletic Association title, netted postseason all-conference honors for nine athletes and picked up conference Coach of the Year honors for Wetmore.
Prior to joining the Panthers, Wetmore had brief stints at Allegheny and Franklin Pierce. As an undergrad, Wetmore played lacrosse for three seasons at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, helping lead the Skyhawks to the 2005 NCAA Division II National Championship.
Wetmore grew up in an athletically diverse family – her dad ran track and field at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Herr mom was a softball player. Her sister played basketball at Hamilton College. Her brother played hockey.
As a freshman at Stonehill, she played in Australia for USA Athletes International in 2004. In 2007, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminology.
At Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire, she was the assistant field hockey and lacrosse coach. She was also assistant coach for two years at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.
“I know Brenau is very well known, so I think now it’s going to be letting potential student-athletes know that lacrosse is a big thing,” Wetmore said. “I know in Georgia, there are a lot of hot pockets for lacrosse, so I need to get to those schools and let them know Brenau has a women’s lacrosse program and just get them here to the campus. This campus is a beautiful campus, so getting them here will be the easy part. It’s selling them on building a new program and the excitement of a new program.”
Wetmore began recruiting prospective players the moment she moved to Gainesville.
Lochstampfor says he hopes the lacrosse team will attract 20-30 new student-athletes from across the country. That would push to more than 200 the number of Brenau University Women’s College student-athletes participating in some kind of intercollegiate athletics – about a fourth of the entire student body.
The Golden Tigers team will play homes games temporarily at public and private facilities in the Gainesville, Georgia, area. Ultimately it hopes to base the team at the new Ernest Ledford Grindle Athletics Park at New Holland, about two miles from the main campus. Phase One of the development is near completion, with Golden Tigers softball slated to open the 2017 season with a new “home field” advantage. Fundraising is underway for Phase Two of the park, which includes facilities for soccer and lacrosse.
Lacrosse has steadily been growing as a popular youth sport among high schools and colleges in the past decade. Since 2009, 92 new college lacrosse programs have been established, and the number of youth participating has tripled since 2000 to more than 770,000. Brenau had been throwing around the idea of starting a lacrosse team for some time now, making it the university’s 11th distinct National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics-recognized competitive sport team. The 138-year-old university already has track and field, swim, softball, soccer, tennis, golf, cheerleading, cross country, basketball and volleyball teams, as well as junior varsities in basketball and softball, a competitive dance unit of cheerleading and an indoor track program.
Wetmore already knows Brenau will present a different experience for her than any of her prior coaching jobs, since this time instead of inheriting a team, she will be building a new one with no previous foundation.
“The challenge of building your own program, you get to say, ‘This is mine.’ So if you fail, that’s you from the start, and I think that’s the kind of challenge that I want is to be able to build something and be successful from the start. I think that’s the big challenge. Having something that’s mine from the ground up is what I’m most excited about.”
When Wetmore is not coaching, she enjoys taking spin classes and being around her family. “That’s my big thing, is family,” she said.
To learn more about Brenau’s new lacrosse team, visit http://www.brenautigers.com/sport/0/12.php.