Staff
Head Coach
Jen O'Brien

Ever since she stepped into the lacrosse coaching world, Jen O’Brien had the goal of one day starting her own program. With lacrosse being one of the fastest growing sports in the country, she knew that it would happen eventually, but the right timing had to be in place.

That timing came in the form of VCU, where O’Brien is the first head coach in program history. The program began intercollegiate play in 2015-16 the right way under O’Brien’s guidance, as the program won it's inaugeral game 21-9 over Gardner-Webb on Feb. 14, 2016. Both Sky Hyatt and Molly Barcikowski earned A-10 All-Rookie honors under her guidance as well.

“Starting the program on the right track from day one was our goal and that’s what we’re getting with Jen. We’re excited to have a proven winner to build the foundation of our women’s lacrosse program,” McLaughlin said. “She brings a tremendous amount of energy to VCU and has a outstanding track record as a coach as well as a player. She also has great ties to the Maryland region, which is known nationally as a hotbed for lacrosse."

O’Brien comes to VCU after spending the past five seasons as an assistant coach at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. In charge of the Blue Jays offense, she helped JHU rank in the top-40 nationally in goals per game over the past five seasons. Along the way, the Blue Jays racked up 43 wins in one of the toughest conferences in the country, the American Lacrosse Conference.

Prior to her time at Hopkins, O’Brien spent one year at Stanford, serving as the co-head coach and helped guide the Cardinal to a 12-8 record and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament Championship.

“It is an absolute honor to be selected as the first coach to lead the VCU women's lacrosse program. I am so appreciative of Director of Athletics, Ed McLaughlin, and the confidence he has shown in me. I would also like to thank the Search Committee and entire VCU family for allowing me to immediately feel at home,” O’Brien said. “I could not be more excited to represent VCU and it's tremendous athletic tradition while establishing a women's lacrosse tradition of our own! It is an exciting time for both VCU Athletics and women's lacrosse and I look forward to successfully contributing to both."

The Eldersburg, Md. native had a stellar four-year playing career at UMBC, where she was a four-year starter, two-time captain and twice earned Second Team All-America East honors. She finished her career with 86 goals and 56 assists for 142 points and, as a senior, led the team in assists (18) and points (44). Her 56 assists ranked fourth in school history when she graduated.

O’Brien and her husband, Steve, reside in Richmond with their two children, Elle and Quinn.

Assistant Coach
Liz French

Liz French enters first season as an Assistant Coach in 2016-17. French has been a member of the lacrosse staff as both a volunteer coach and a graduate assistant and helped the program launch its inaugural season in 2015-16. A native of Sykesville, Maryland, Liz French attended Shippensburg University and received her degree in Accounting in 2014.

During her undergraduate studies, she was a member of the Shippensburg women’s lacrosse team, a lacrosse representative for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and president of Tau Kappa Women’s Athletic Honors Sorority. She received first-team all-conference honors her four years at Shippensburg and was selected to participate in the IWLCA DII North/South Senior All-Star game in 2014.

During her career, French posted numbers that rank among SU's all-time statistical leaders in groundballs (158), draw controls (167) and caused turnovers (63). She started all 67 games for the Raiders since 2011, adding 11 goals and five assists during that stretch.

"We could not be more excited to have Liz join us full time after working with our program for the past two years as both a volunteer and graduate assistant. She has certainly shown she has the passion, loyalty and work ethic to positively affect our team and the department. Liz was instrumental in transitioning our program to the Division I level and we are appreciative of her past and future efforts," said O’Brien.

Assistant Coach
Theresa Walton

Walton joins VCU after recently serving as the assistant coach at the University of Mount Olive.

In Walton's first two years at Mount Olive, the Trojans had an overall record of 27-9. In 2015, Walton helped guide Mount Olive to the Conference Carolinas Women's Lacrosse Championship as the team was ranked No. 9 in the year-end Nike/LaxMagazine Division II Women's Lacrosse Top 20 Poll, the highest ranking in program history.

"We are excited to welcome Theresa to our Ram Family. She brings a great deal of coaching and recruiting experience to our staff, having most recently served as recruiting coordinator at Mount Olive. Theresa has a great passion for coaching and lacrosse which will greatly benefit our team and the entire athletic department. She truly embodies our program's core values and will no doubt serve as a wonderful mentor for our student-athletes," said O'Brien.

Prior to arriving at Mount Olive, Walton served as an assistant coach at Alma College (Mich.), where she helped the team to a 16-3 mark. Alma posted a record of 7-8 the year prior to Walton's arrival.

Walton earned her bachelor's degree in communications at Canisius College (N.Y.) and helped lead the Griffins to back-to-back Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference women's lacrosse titles, including the first title in school history. Walton earned MAAC All-Tournament honors during Canisius' first title run. She tallied 42 goals and eight assists for 50 points during her career.

Director of Player Development
Dani Ellis

Ellis was promoted to her current role of Director of Player Development in June 2017. Ellis joined the staff as a graduate assistant in 2016-17 after graduating from Winthrop University in 2016 where she was a member of the inaugural women’s lacrosse team. A native of Annapolis, Maryland, Ellis played in 75 career games for the Eagles and scored 75 goals with 85 assists.

"We are excited to welcome Dani to VCU after serving as a member of Winthrop's inaugural team. Her experience with a successful new lacrosse program will no doubt serve us well. Dani has played at a high level from her time at St. Mary's HS in Maryland to her time at Winthrop, and brings a high lacrosse IQ and excitement to our team," said O’Brien.