Back to the women’s game it is for Regy Thorpe. Earlier this month, the New York Riptide of the National Lacrosse League relieved their entire lacrosse operations staff, including Thorpe, the head coach and general manager. Thorpe was named the first head coach and general manager in Riptide history on February 16, 2019. On June 4, 2020, he was in the job market.
Today, he is a Pitt Panther.
Spending barely over a year at the helm of a professional indoor lacrosse expansion franchise didn’t allow much time for any rust to build up on his coaching skills developed in women’s lacrosse. After Thorpe’s illustrious NLL career as a player, and even player-general manager for two seasons, he actually began his coaching career under longtime friend Gary Gait with Syracuse’s women’s program. One of the most tenacious defenders in Orange history, Thorpe returned to campus 17 years after graduation to takeover the defense. In 2015, he was promoted to associate head coach alongside Gait, where he remained until the end of the 2019 season.
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𝐁𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦.
Please join us in welcoming @RegyThorpe to the Pitt lacrosse family!!
— Pitt Lacrosse (@Pitt_WLAX) June 30, 2020
Over his 10 seasons coaching Syracuse, Thorpe helped mold 22 All-Americans, six Players of the Year, and six Tewaaraton Finalists. The program finished 158-62 with nine NCAA tournament appearances under his leadership. Of the Orange’s nine NCAA Tournament appearances, the team reached the Final Four six times, with two national championship appearances.
Aside from building a NLL roster from scratch, Thorpe also has experiences with starting new on the women’s side. He served as a head coach in the first women’s professional league, the UWLX, leading the Long Island Sound in 2017 and 2018, guiding the team to a championship in his second season.
Building Pitt Lacrosse
November 1, 2018 Pitt announced the addition of women’s lacrosse as a varsity sport set to begin play in the spring of 2022. The Panthers will immediately join the ACC as a fully-funded member with the NCAA maximum of 12 scholarships and will play its games at the Petersen Sports Complex. On June 18, 2019, Canadian lacrosse star Emily Boissonneault was named at the first head coach in program history. Boissonneault previously served as the associate head coach for James Madison, leading the defense and focusing on recruiting. Under her guidance, the Dukes reached four consecutive NCAA Championships, winning it all in 2018. The Dukes reached an overall record of 62-22, including a near-flawless 22-2 record in CAA play.
Boissonneault began her collegiate coaching career only a year removed from playing at Detroit, starting at Winthrop in 2013. Serving as an assistant for three seasons, she helped the Eagles win their first Big South title and the first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. During her career at Detroit, Boissonneault’s 242 goals, 193 ground balls, 157 caused turnovers and 143 draw controls earned her a spot in the school’s athletic hall of fame in 2020. She ranks in the NCAA’s top 20 in career caused turnovers, caused turnovers per game and career goals, including conference Attacker of the Year in 2009 and Horizon League Woman of the Year in 2012.
Originally from Ontario, Boissonneault still competes as a member of Team Canada, most recently helping to achieve the country’s third-straight, her second, silver medal at the 2017 World Championships in the U.K. She took the field as recently as the 2019 Fall Classic in Baltimore, joining Canada for friendly matches against the United States and the University of Maryland.
On September 19, 2019, Daniella Eppler was tabbed as the first assistant to help establish the program. Eppler was instrumental in the planning and aid to Boissonneault through early planning and turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Less than a month ago, Eppler left Pitt for a career outside of lacrosse, leaving more questions to be asked about a budding program during an uncertain national climate. The addition of a seasoned coach with a strong pedigree like that of Regy Thorpe is a monumental benchmark for stability.
As of today, Pitt list eleven players ready to compete in the inaugural campaign. The list includes six incoming freshmen joining three current club players and two with NCAA experience in Siena-transfer, by way of Binghamton, Therese Pitman and Jacksonville-transfer Brittney Villhauer.
Current Pitt Roster
- Caroline Lederman – Pitt Club | Rochester, N.Y. | Brighton High School
- Kierin Ratliff-Kailbourne – Pitt Club | Honeoye Falls, N.Y. | Honeoye Falls-Lima High School
- Payton Reed – Pitt Club | Honeoye Falls, N.Y. | Honeoye Falls-Lima High School
- Madigan Lublin – Penfield, N. Y. | Penfield High Schoo
- Riley Patrick – Bel Air, Md. | St. Anne’s-Belfield School
- Emily Coughlin – Plum Borough, Pa. | Oakland Catholic High School
- Abby Thorne – Australia U-19 | Brighton, S.A.
- Kate Elam – Pamplin, Va. | St. Anne’s-Belfield School
- Maureen McNierney – Malverne, N.Y. | Kellenberg Memorial High School
- Therese Pitman – Siena/Binghampton Sherrill, N.Y. | Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School
- Brittney Villhauer – Jacksonville | Woodstock, Ga | Blessed Trinity Catholic
Emily Boissonneault – Head Coach
Regy Thorpe – Assistant Coach
Kim Robertson – Administrative Assistant