INDIANA, Pa. — Brenna Gallagher's play on the field helped bring the Indiana (Pa.) University women's lacrosse program to prominence.
She will now contribute to the Crimson Hawks in a different role.
Gallagher, a 2011 Seneca Valley High School graduate, was recently named head coach at IUP.
She left the school in 2016 as the program's all-time leader in ground balls (161) and is second in caused turnovers (91).
During her five seasons on the team, the Crimson Hawks qualified for the PSAC tournament every year and reached the conference semifinals three times. She was named second team All-American as a senior defender.
“When I played, I was all business and tried to make sure there was a positive culture on the team,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher takes over for her former coach, Mindy Richmond, who resigned in June after leading IUP to an overall record of 105-67 in 10 seasons.
“Coach Richmond put everything she had into the program and there was such a positive shift,” said Gallagher, who was the head coach at Misericordia University in northeastern Pennsylvania last spring, finishing with a record of 12-9. She was a graduate assistant coach at the school in 2017. “It was always in the back of my mind, maybe one day I could give something back to IUP. I received so much while I was there. Now I am in a position to give back.
“Everyone is motivated and I am excited about this opportunity.”
In a statement released July 30, IUP athletic director Steve Roach lauded Gallagher as the Crimson Hawks' new head coach:
“I am confident that Brenna will bring outstanding leadership to our program and develop our lacrosse student athletes both on and off the field.”
A torn ACL in her right knee in 2015 proved to be a blessing in disguise. She was granted a medical redshirt, allowing her to return and play in 2016, but the injury also helped lead her into coaching.
“Up until that point, I was always on the field as a player,” she said. “Being on the sideline allowed me to see things from a different perspective. I was able to communicate what I observed to the players and coaches. That's when I first thought about getting into coaching once my playing days were over.”
IUP is coming off a 9-6 season in which the Hawks missed out on a berth in the PSAC tournament.
“The team lost three games last season by one goal,” said Gallagher. “The PSAC is super-competitive. Three teams from our conference earned NCAA bids last spring and one, East Stroudsburg, made the final four.
“We have 12 incoming freshmen, so we will have a large roster next year.”
One of the veteran players Gallagher will be counting on is her younger sister, Mollie, a star defender who earned second team All-Atlantic Region honors as a junior last spring.
“Mollie proved herself as a player and is very mature for her age,” Gallagher said. “It will be a unique experience, coaching her.”