Former US National Team member Erica LaGrow was announced as Yale’s Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women’s Lacrosse on July 1, 2015. Her first two seasons in New Haven have seen the Bulldogs make a number of strides. In her first season they were in contention for a spot in the Ivy League Tournament until the final game, and they saw year-to-year improvements in their shooting percentage, free position shooting percentage, draw controls, clears and save percentage. In her second season, 2017, the team set the school records for goals in a season, points in a season and draw controls in a season. Yale also beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 2010.
In LaGrow's two seasons in New Haven, Yale has had one All-Region honoree, one All-ECAC honoree and six All-Ivy League honorees (one first team, one second team, four honorable mention). Additionally, Yale earned IWLCA Academic Squad recognition in 2016 and 2017, and has had a total of 19 IWLCA Academic Honor Roll selections.
Prior to joining the Bulldogs, LaGrow spent seven years as an assistant coach at Florida. She helped the Gators make five straight NCAA Tournament appearances, win five regular season conference championships and win three conference tournament championships. She also has a gold medal from the Women’s World Cup during her time playing with the National Team.
At Florida LaGrow worked under former Yale head coach Amanda O’Leary, a US Lacrosse Hall of Fame member who has earned a pair of national coach of the year honors. LaGrow was the Gators’ offensive coordinator and helped the team lead the nation in goals with 326 in her final season -- the fourth straight season the Gators scored at least 310 goals and finished in the top five nationally in scoring offense. In each of those seasons Florida’s attack has been remarkably balanced, featuring at least six different players with 20 or more goals and 35 or more points.
LaGrow is the ninth head coach in the 40-year varsity history of Yale women’s lacrosse.
LaGrow had been with the Gators since the founding of the program, working side-by-side with O’Leary to develop Florida into a national powerhouse. The team played its first varsity game in 2010 and made its first NCAA Tournament appearance a year later -- winning the ALC championship along the way. In 2011 Florida became the fastest program in IWLCA poll history to break into the top 10, ranking No. 10 on Mar. 14.
Florida ended each of LaGrow's last five seasons ranked in the top 12 of the IWLCA poll, including a high of No. 3 in final 2012 poll. The team won at least 15 games in each of those years, reaching a high of 19 wins in 2012.
In addition to team accomplishments, LaGrow’s efforts helped many Gators achieve individual milestones and recognition. She coached midfielder Shannon Gilroy to two straight Tewaaraton Award finalist nominations (2014 and 2015). Gilroy, who ranked second in the nation in goals (74) in 2015 and led the nation in goals (86) in 2014, finished her career tied for eighth on the NCAA’s all-time goals list with 256.
In 2013 LaGrow’s offensive unit featured a trio of first team All-Americans in Gilroy, Kitty Cullen and Brittany Dashiell. That same year she also worked with another Tewaaraton Award finalist (and first team All-American) in goalie Mikey Meagher, the IWLCA Goalie of the Year. Meagher ranked in the top five nationally in goals-against average (6.90, second) and save percentage (.502, fifth).
LaGrow graduated with honors from North Carolina in 2008, earning a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science. She was a part of four straight NCAA quarterfinal appearances for the Tar Heels. In her senior season she scored 24 goals, was named second team All-South Region for the second time and was named first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference. A four-year starter at midfield, she was on the conference honor roll every year. She also earned All-ACC Academic honors twice, and received the University of North Carolina Athletics Director’s Scholar-Athlete Award for excellence in academics and athletics.
In addition to her standout collegiate career, LaGrow was also a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2007-2012. In the summer of 2009, she helped the U.S. win gold at the Federation of International Lacrosse Women’s World Cup in Prague. Additionally, she was a member of the touring team that captured the 2008 Prague Cup.
LaGrow is a native of Skaneateles, N.Y., and attended Christian Brothers Academy. Since 2004 she has been coaching at various levels, including four summers as a volunteer coach at the Star-Riders Lacrosse Club in Central New York. She also provided a five day multi-sport camp for school age children in rural Honduras in 2010, and has been an active member of the Big Brother Big Sister program since 2005.