ST. JOSEPH – Missouri Western vice president of intercollegiate athletics Dr. Josh Looney announced the hiring of Rachel Benzing as the first-ever head women's lacrosse coach in MWSU history. Benzing brings experience in the region as a student-athlete and coach in addition to experience starting Division II women's lacrosse programs in the midwest region.
"Rachel quickly became our top target to launch Griffon Lacrosse," Looney said. "Her experiences with two different startup Division II programs, coupled with an elite collegiate playing career in Missouri, make her an ideal fit to lead and grow women's lacrosse in our community. Rachel's energy and enthusiasm will connect with student-athletes and mesh well within our athletic department. We believe Rachel is a rising star and are thrilled she will begin her head coaching career at Missouri Western."
Benzing comes to MWSU after helping usher in women's lacrosse programs at Lynn University and Maryville University. She spent two years at Maryville before moving on to help build the program at Lynn. After two seasons as a lacrosse student-athlete at University of Maryland Baltimore County, Benzing finished her playing career at Lindenwood University where she was a two-time All-American.
"I am extremely honored and excited to be named the first head women's lacrosse coach in Missouri Western's history," Benzing said. "I would like to thank Josh Looney and President Matt Wilson for entrusting me to build this new program alongside them. This is an incredible opportunity to expand the game at the collegiate level in a rapidly growing region. I look forward to developing future Griffs and creating a championship caliber experience here in St. Joseph."
In 2014, Benzing led Division I UMBC in assists and ranked fifth in the America East in assists per game. Benzing holds the Lindenwood career record for assists per game after helping the Lions to two NCAA Division II national semi-final appearances. In 2017, Benzing was named the RMAC Offensive Player of the Year, first team All-Region and first team All-American. Benzing was a two-time first team All-RMAC selection and also earned second team All-Region and third team All-American honors in 2016.
Benzing also served as head coach of the St. Louis Samurai and St. Louis Lacrosse Club from 2017-19. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a minor in nutrition from Lindenwood in 2017.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT BENZING
"I am thrilled for Rachel being named the first lacrosse head coach at Missouri Western! The Griffons are getting a fierce competitor who loves the game, and who is extremely passionate, knowledgeable, and driven. Missouri Western has chosen the right person to build and lead their new program. I know Rachel will have a tireless work ethic and have a profound impact on her student-athletes on and off the field." - Jack Cribbin, Head Coach, Lindenwood University
"Coach Benzing has proven herself to be a very hard working, determined and knowledgeable young coach. Her experience starting new programs will be very beneficial in her new position at Missouri Western. She has shown the ability to lead with confidence and is well respected by her student-athletes. Rachel is an ambitious coach who will bring a true passion and love for the game to the new women's lacrosse program." - Mindy Richmond, Head Coach, Lynn University
"I have had the fortune of knowing Rachel as a player and colleague. Her understanding of what is required to push herself individually for the collective success of the programs she's a part of will be infectious for future Griffons. No stranger to the demands required of student-athletes, she will bring empathy and wisdom to battling past adversity in its diverse forms. Her resilience, passion and drive will define Missouri Western as she brings in top talent looking to cement a legacy that mirrors and rivals her own. She has competed at the highest level and knows what it takes to be a dominating force in all of Division II. I have no doubt in my mind that she'll bring Missouri Western into the fold of premier teams during her time in St. Joseph." - Jenna Kasmarik, Assistant Coach, Longwood University
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