Denison men’s lacrosse head coach Eric Koch added two new assistants to his staff Wednesday: Ryan Rohde and Maiah Bartlett.
The decision to hire Maiah Bartlett is a historic one. While it isn’t the first time a woman has been appointed to coach men’s lacrosse in the NCAA, it is one of the biggest jobs a female coach has been awarded in the men’s collegiate game.
Maiah Bartlett Added to Denison Men’s Lacrosse Staff in Historic Move
It won’t be her first foray into coaching men’s lacrosse, though. Maiah Bartlett’s last post was as head coach of the Luxembourg Men’s National Team, which she held since 2020. She originally joined the national program in 2019 as an associate head coach. While involved with Luxembourg Lacrosse, Bartlett also worked as the head coach of SC 1880 Frankfurt e. V. and was instrumental in growing lacrosse in Frankfurt, tripling the youth participation in the area during her time. She also led the U16 Boys & Girls to the 2019 German Championship, rounding out a handful of the accomplished she achieved in her four years in Germany.
“When I was a senior in college, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in coaching. I had friends and former coaches who had moved for a year or two after college to coach abroad,” Bartlett said in 2018 in an interview with Deutsche Lacrosse News. “However, I never heard of anyone coaching in Germany. When my head coach forwarded all of the graduating seniors the job offer from the program director in Frankfurt, I called my dad and told him I was thinking about applying. He encouraged me to do so but to also keep my options open.
“Once the first interview was over, there was nothing anyone could say to change my mind. I had my heart set on Frankfurt,” she continued. “It was something and someplace different than from what I had, or anyone else I had talked to, ever experienced. Then, when they offered me the men’s position as well, I knew I would never get the opportunity to be the head coach of a men’s program right out of college as a woman so I started packing my bags.”
As a collegiate athlete at NCAA Division III University Mary Washington, Maiah Bartlett was a three-time All-CAC player, three-time IWLCA All-Chesapeake Region player, and served as captain in her senior season in 2017.
“Maiah is going to be an amazing addition to this staff and an incredible resource for our players,” Koch said in a Denison press release. “The more I get to know her the most impressed I am with her knowledge, energy, and passion for the sport. She has a wealth of experience and will bring invaluable perspective as someone who has been a head coach on the international stage.”
Maiah Bartlett has cited her father, Doug, who was the head men’s lacrosse coach at VMI for 21 years, as an inspiration to get into coaching, specifically coaching men. She also credits her mother for instilling in her the courage to pursue these goals.
“My motivation to coach men’s lacrosse came from watching my father’s relentless commitment and dedication to his players at the Virginia Military Institute,” Bartlett told Deutsche Lacrosse News. “From diapers to age 12, I was raised on the sidelines and witnessed new classes come in and learn life lessons as well as the game from my dad. The impact he had on their lives inspired me to follow in his footsteps.
“I would never have the courage to follow this dream if it weren’t for my mom,” she added. “She taught me to be brave and not back down from a challenge. I knew it would be a big challenge coaching men’s lacrosse but she was always supporting me to follow my dreams. The strength from my mom and the wisdom from my dad made me into the coach I am today and it’s what motivated me to break down gender barriers and step into the men’s game.”
Denison went 8-2 (5-1) in the 2021 campaign and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Koch is entering his first season at the helm of the program, replacing Mike Caravana, who stepped down after 28 years in charge of the Big Red.