PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania announced two promotions on its women’s lacrosse coaching staff, with Melissa Lehman being named Associate Head Coach and Kerri Whitaker moving into a new role as Director of Player Development.
“These new roles are well deserved,” head coach Karin Corbett said. “Melissa and Kerri have been instrumental to the run of success this program has had over recent years, and they are stars in the coaching ranks. I am thrilled for them to take on these new roles and for how their work will continue to impact our program.”
Melissa Lehman finished her sixth season as an assistant coach at her alma mater this May, and as a coach has been a part of five Ivy League championship teams, three Ivy League Tournament titles, and six trips to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, during her competitive collegiate career, Lehman won two Ivy League titles and appeared in two NCAA Tournaments – reaching the Final Four each time and the national title game in 2008.
Working extensively with Penn’s midfield and defense, Lehman has been instrumental to the strategy and schemes which have continuously kept the Quakers atop the Ivy League and among the nation’s Top-10 defensively. Lehman has coached a pair of midfielders to All-American honors and worked with Meg Markham – a two-time first-team All-American on defense. Her players have earned 14 All-Region and 20 All-Ivy honors during her tenure with Shannon Mangini (2013 Ivy League Midfielder of the Year) and Markham (2014, ’15 Ivy League Defender of the Year) being named best in the Ancient Eight at their position.
An All-American midfielder as a collegian, Lehman was part of the group which ushered in this remarkable era of Penn Women’s Lacrosse. Her experience as a student and athlete at Penn as well as her tenure as a successful coach – she was named the IWLAC Division I Assistant Coach of the Year in 2014 – make her a natural fit for her new role.
In her new role as Associate Head Coach, Lehman will continue her on-field work, adding recruiting coordinator and mentoring program coordinator duties.
“I am so proud of the coach that Melissa has become,” Corbett said. “As an alumna of the University, she is totally invested in the success and growth of the program. She is one of the top assistant coaches in the nation – and was honored as such by the IWLCA last year. I am excited to recognize her for her tireless work on behalf of our program and our University with her promotion to Associate Head Coach.”
Kerri Whitaker recently concluded her fifth season as an assistant coach with the Quakers. During her time with the Red and Blue, Penn has won four Ivy League championships, two Ivy League Tournament titles, and reached five NCAA Tournaments. Penn’s primary offensive coordinator, Whitaker has coached two attackers to All-American honors and five to All-Region awards. This past season, Penn’s attack produced the fourth and fifth-highest single season individual efforts in program history in Tory Bensen (64 points) and Nina Corcoran (61) and Bensen’s 58 goals tied for the most in a single season by a Penn player.
“I can’t think of anyone better for the title of Director of Player Development than Kerri,” said Corbett. “She cares holistically about the development of our student-athletes and in her new role, she will continue to play a vital role in their growth as lacrosse players and young women. She will specialize in the development of our student-athletes on all levels – on-field skill development, academics, study hall, personal development, and more.”
The last nine years have seen the Quakers claim a total of eight Ivy League championships and reach the NCAA Tournament nine times. Corbett understands that this unprecedented run of success is a testament to the depth and strength of her entire program – including her standout coaching staff.
“The summer can be a stressful time for coaches,” she said. “When a team has success, other programs often recognize that and coaching changes can occur. We are ecstatic with the group of coaches we have on staff at Penn and wanted to do everything we could to extend the continuity we have had and the success that it has helped bring to the program.”