MELBOURNE, Fla. – Florida Tech Director of Athletics, Bill Jurgens, has announced the hiring of McKenzie Rafferty as the new head coach of the Panthers’ women’s lacrosse program.
Rafferty, who will officially begin her duties on Sept. 4, 2018, becomes the second head coach in program history.
“It is a great honor and privilege to join the Florida Tech family and to be named the head women’s lacrosse coach,” stated Rafferty. “I am incredibly humbled and would like to thank Athletic Director, Bill Jurgens and the rest of the wonderful administration at Florida Tech for this amazing opportunity. I’m looking forward to leading this group of exceptional student athletes to future successes both in the classroom and on the field.
“I would also like to thank all the inspiring coaches who have mentored me, especially Sarah Kellner and Kristin Hopson. I am truly thankful for their support and guidance in preparing me for this opportunity.”
Rafferty most recently spent two seasons as the assistant coach at Regis University, where she helped guide the Rangers to the program’s first and second trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament including a final four appearance last season.
In her first season at RU in 2017, Rafferty helped guide the Rangers to their best season in program history. The team posted an overall record of 17-3 while consistently being ranked in the IWLCA Top 20 throughout the season. That year, RU defeated No. 2 Lindenwood, for the first time in program history, to capture their second Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Tournament title. Regis went on to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament, also a first for the program, and closed out the season ranked No. 9 in the nation.
During the 2018 season, Rafferty helped build upon Regis’ prior success to reach new heights for the program. With an overall record of 17-5, the Rangers found themselves back in the RMAC tournament championship and defeated then-No. 1, and undefeated, Lindenwood to claim the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship. The win propelled the Rangers to the NCAA Tournament semifinals, a first in Regis women’s lacrosse history.
Over her two year tenure at Regis, Rafferty coached three IWCLA All-Americans, nine IWCLA All-Region honorees, 17 All-RMAC selections, three RMAC Player of the Year recipients, one RMAC Midfielder of the Year, one RMAC Offensive Player of the Year, and 22 Academic All-RMAC selections.
A former four-time letter winner and standout student-athlete at the University of Delaware, Rafferty helped lead the Blue Hens to multiple CAA playoff appearances and elevated the program into the national rankings. As a player, Rafferty earned All-Colonial Conference Academic Team honors four consecutive years, was a National College Athlete Honor Society member, nominated for CoSIDA All-American and was also named to the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll in 2016.
A native of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, Rafferty was a US Lacrosse, Brine, and Under Armour All-American player from Downingtown East High School in Downingtown, Pa. She has helped grow the game she loves internationally and has obtained experience by both playing and coaching abroad.
In 2018, Rafferty graduated with her Master’s degree in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Denver. Rafferty is a 2016 graduate of the University of Delaware, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education with a second licensure in Special Education, as well as a minor in Coaching Science.
“Florida Tech women’s lacrosse has risen to prominence at the NCAA Division II level over the past few seasons and we are fortunate to have McKenzie as our new head women’s lacrosse coach,” said Jurgens. “I am impressed with all that she has been able to accomplish, as a player, assistant coach and academically. I know she will do a great job for Florida Tech as our new coach and I look forward to working with her for years to come.”
The Panthers’ lacrosse program enters their fifth season of competition in 2019. Florida Tech boasts an overall record of 48-23 through four seasons with two Sunshine State Conference runner-up finishes and two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018. During that time, 30 Panthers have earned All-SSC honors, 14 have garnered Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-Region selections and eight were honored as All-Americans. Florida Tech also boasts two SSC Player of the Year recipients in 2016 and 2018, along with one SSC Freshman of the Year in 2017. With Rafferty at the helm, the Crimson and Gray look to add to those impressive numbers and continue to grow into a national power.
Sarah Kellner, Regis Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach
“McKenzie is a very talented lacrosse mind and will make an immediate impact on the program at Florida Tech. We at Regis University are extremely grateful for the time and commitment she gave to our program, players and staff the last two years. I wish her the best of luck and look forward to following her budding career as a collegiate coach.”
Kristin Hopson, Former Delaware Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach
“I am thrilled for McKenzie and the Florida Tech community. McKenzie is an exceptional person and coach. She is an outstanding role model and the players will really enjoy playing for her. McKenzie is committed to excellence and will bring out the best in her players. I expect big things out of the Panther program under her guidance!”
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