Missouri Western’s new lacrosse coach Rachel Benzing of Ellicott City, Maryland, is the first women’s lacrosse coach in history for the Griffons.
“This is an incredible opportunity to build an extremely well-rounded and community-based university,” said Benzing.
Not only is Benzing known for coaching lacrosse, she also was a great lacrosse player herself.
“I’ve been in and around the sport pretty much my whole life, “ Benzing said.
Her mother was a record-setting lacrosse player at the Division I level and proceeded to put Benzing in the sport as well, hoping that she would follow in her footsteps. During Benzing's years of playing, she faced some challenges in her career. Benzing went through three ACL reconstructions and a life-changing back injury.
“I’ve learned to trust my gut, work harder than I think I need to and remember that little things done right will always lead to good things,” Benzing said.
In 2014, Benzing led Division I UMBC in assists and then ranked fifth in America East in assists per game. She then transferred to Lindenwood University and was fortunate enough to play in two consecutive Final Fours. She finished with a decorated career after playing for 17 years.
She still holds the Lindenwood career record for assists per game. 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.
“I coached at the youth level consistently through high school and college and then moved to the Division II level upon graduation, “ Benzing said.
Before Benzings collegiate years, she served as head coach of St.Louis Samurai and St.Louis Lacrosse Club from 2017-2019.
"I always knew I loved coaching little kids, but I didn’t know I was going to love the collegiate level as much as I do now,” Benzing said.
MWSU is Benzing’s third collegiate stop. She helped advance the women’s lacrosse program at Lynn University and Maryville University. She spent two years at Maryville building their program before she left and went to Lynn to help build their program before ending here at Missouri Western.
Benzing was part of two start-up programs that experienced high rates of retention that also had more success than they anticipated in just one year.
“I also believe that being sought for this job at such a young age is a big accomplishment,” Benzing said.
Not only does Benzing have big plans for the program, but player Morgan Skyles has big goals for her as well.
“I’m expecting a strong leader. Someone who is not only going to drive us to be successful, but inspire us as well,” Skyles said.