WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary lacrosse head coach Colleen Dawson has announced the hiring of Jenny Simpson as associate head coach.
After serving as an assistant coach at her alma mater, the University of New Hampshire, last year, Simpson returns to W&M where she spent the prior three seasons as an assistant on Dawson’s staff.
“I could not be happier to welcome Jenny back to Williamsburg,” Dawson said. “Her commitment to Tribe Lacrosse during our first three years together made her the perfect candidate for this position. I, along with everyone at W&M, am thrilled to bring Jenny back as an associate head coach. Her vision and understanding of the program have made this a seamless transition and we are lucky to have her back!”
Simpson rejoins the Tribe after a successful season at UNH where she helped mentor six UNH standouts who earned All-America East honors. The impressive total marked the program’s most selections since 2019.
During her three seasons in Williamsburg from 2020-22, Simpson was instrumental in helping W&M build a foundation for success that led to last year’s team posting the program’s best record – and the team’s most conference wins – since 2011.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity to return to William & Mary and be a member of the Tribe again,” Simpson said. “This program, school and community are truly special, and I look forward to continuing to build on last year’s successful season.”
In 2022, Simpson helped develop five W&M standouts who earned all-conference accolades, which included three All-Rookie Team selections. Additionally, W&M led the CAA in ground balls per game (20.12) for the third consecutive season, while it also ranked first in caused turnovers per game (9.12) and saves per game (10.69). The Tribe’s ground balls average ranked seventh nationally.
The prior campaign saw W&M emerge among the CAA’s leaders in multiple statistical categories as it led the conference in ground balls per game (19.33) and ranked second in caused turnovers per game (9.0). The caused turnover average ranked ninth on the program’s single-season list, while its 12.57 draw controls per game ranked just outside W&M’s all-time single-season top-10 list (11th).
Individually, Belle Martire garnered second-team all-conference honors after ranking among the CAA’s top 10 in goals per game (3.25), points per game (4.0) and draw controls per game (3.5) – a figure that ranked fourth on the program’s single-season list. Additionally, she ranked among the top 10 nationally in free position goals per game (1.42) and free position shooting percentage (.739). Courtney Vasquenza also earned postseason honors and was named to the All-Rookie Team after ranking among the conference’s top 10 in caused turnovers per game and ground balls per game.
Although the 2020 season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many highlights from Simpson’s first years with the Tribe, including wins against Old Dominion and George Washington. Additionally, W&M was on pace for one of its most productive seasons ever in totaling ground balls, as it led the CAA and ranked 12th nationally with 20.14 per contest.
Martire highlighted the team’s individual accomplishments, as she garnered VaSID All-State honors after leading the CAA and ranking 11th nationally in goals per game (4.0). The sophomore set a single-game school record with nine goals in the Tribe’ season-ending win against George Washington, while Sarah Cipolla posted a single-game school record 11 draw controls in the triumph versus the Colonials.
Simpson, a former standout player UNH and a captain of the Senior England Women’s National Team, first joined the Tribe’s staff in October, 2019 after a successful tenure as an assistant with the U19 England National Team and as head coach at Caterham School in Surrey, England.
As an assistant with the U19 England National Team, Simpson helped lead the squad to a fourth-place finish at the 2019 U19 World Championships.
Simpson also served as head coach at Caterham School from 2016-19 where she led the varsity team to a national semifinal appearance and four additional age groups to top-16 finishes at the 2019 UK National Schools Tournament. During her tenure, she mentored four players to the 2019 World Lacrosse U19 World Championships, while 13 of her players competed with Junior National Development Programs.
Simpson’s coaching experience also includes serving as head coach at the University of Surrey (2013-14) where she led the team to a Cup Championship and a Division promotion. She also served an assistant coach with the U18 Scotland World Cup Festival Team (2015) and as an assistant at Caterham School (2014-16).
In addition to her coaching experience, Simpson was an attacker on the Senior England Women’s National Team from 2015- 2022, captaining the team from 2018 to 2019. The squad won the 2019 Women’s European Championships and was a bronze medalist at the 2017 Women’s Lacrosse World Cup.
A four-year starter at the University of New Hampshire (2009-13), Simpson earned All-America East honors as a senior and served as a team captain. Additionally, she garnered America East Rookie Team distinction as a freshman and was named to the America East All-Academic Team three times.
A native of New Canaan, Conn., Simpson earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from UNH in 2013.