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.