CONWAY, S.C. – The 2021 Southern Conference Coach of the Year Rachel Shuck Whitten has been named the third head women’s lacrosse in program history, Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics and University Recreation Matt Hogue and Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Enhancement and Senior Woman’s Administrator Cari Rosiek announced Thursday.
“We are thrilled to welcome Coach Whitten and her family to Teal Nation. She has a strong head coaching resume and is a proven winner,” stated Hogue. “Equally, she possesses a strong commitment and track record for creating a positive team culture and developing all aspects of the student-athlete experience. We look forward to the future of CCU women’s lacrosse under her leadership.”
Whitten spent nine seasons at the helm of the Furman women’s lacrosse program, starting the program as the first head coach in May 2012.
In seven years of NCAA Division I play at Furman, Whitten amassed a 68-49 record and guided the Paladins to six Southern Conference (SoCon) semifinal appearances, while playing in three SoCon championship games in 2018, 2019, and 2021.
“I first want to thank President Benson, Matt Hogue, Cari Rosiek, and those on the search committee for this amazing opportunity. Coastal Carolina has already had great success and I am looking forward to working with the team to continue the growth,” Whitten stated. “You can feel the passion and excitement around athletics the minute you step on campus. I also want to thank Furman University for the past nine years as well as all of my student-athletes who have helped me build that program.”
The Annapolis, Md. native has coached 21 all-conference performers during her tenure at Furman, eight of which were named to the all-freshman team.
Furman swept the SoCon awards in 2021 as Hannah Demis was named the SoCon Offensive Player of the Year, Avery Whitehead was tabbed the SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, and Meagan Beal picked up SoCon Freshman of the Year honors. Whitten was also honored as the SoCon Coach of the Year for the first time in her career.
In all, the Paladins placed nine on the All-SoCon teams in 2021, going 12-5 overall and 4-0 in league play to win the SoCon regular-season championship title. Furman advanced to the 2021 SoCon Tournament championship match before falling to Mercer in the title match 14-13.
In 2019, Whitten’s team won 11 games and went 4-1 in conference play before advancing to the SoCon Championship Tournament finals for the second-straight season.
Prior to a down year in 2018, in which the Paladins still reached the SoCon Championship Tournament championship match, Whitten’s squads posted back-to-back 12-7 win seasons in 2016 and 2017.
In 2015, the program’s first in competition, Britt Douglass earned ASUN Freshman of the Year honors, as Whitten guided the team to a 9-8 overall record, including a 4-3 mark in conference play.
“We are excited to welcome Coach Whitten and her family to Coastal Carolina and look forward to working with her in continuing a well-rounded successful women’s lacrosse program,” said Rosiek.
Before starting the program at Furman, Whitten spent six seasons at the University of Denver, serving as an assistant coach from 2007-11 before being promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2012 season.
During her tenure at Denver, the Pioneers amassed a 71-36 (.664) record, won three Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) regular-season championships, and ranked among the nation’s top 20 teams three times.
In 2012, Denver posted a 12-3 record and 6-1 mark against MPSF opponents, leading the nation with 12.6 caused turnovers per game and ranking 10th nationally in scoring offense (13.93 goals per game), while posting the nation’s 11th-best scoring margin at 4.2. The team’s 12-game winning streak was the longest in Denver women’s lacrosse history.
The Pioneers concluded the 2010 season with a 13-5 record and went a perfect 6-0 in league play. Denver advanced to the finals of the MPSF Tournament but was edged by Stanford, 11-10, in double overtime, to finish the season ranked 20th nationally. Pioneers Ali Flury, Natasha Davies, and Lexi Sanders were named to the IWLCA All-West Region second team, while Flury earned All-American accolades.
The 2008 squad also went undefeated in MPSF play, earning a final ranking of 15th nationally.
In Whitten’s first two seasons at Denver, the Pioneers posted a combined 29-9 record, including a perfect 10-0 slate in regular-season league play.
A two-time All-American at Loyola University in Baltimore, Md., Whitten helped the Greyhounds advance to three straight NCAA Tournaments from 2002-04, including an appearance in the 2003 NCAA Final Four. Loyola ranked among the nation’s top five teams in her first three seasons, finishing the 2003 campaign as the top-ranked team in the country.
Whitten, who is fourth all-time at Loyola with 120 career assists, was nominated as a junior and senior for the Tewaaraton Award, which is presented annually to the NCAA women’s lacrosse player of the year. She currently ranks ninth in program history for assists in a season with 38 in 2003 and is tied for seventh for ground balls in a season with 63 in 2003.
A 2004 graduate of Loyola with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, she is married to Marty Whitten of Verailles, Mo., and the couple has two children, Aleni Lou and James Cole.