Coastal Carolina athletic director Matt Hogue wasn’t expecting to have to hire a new women’s lacrosse coach this summer, but nonetheless, he feels the Chanticleers have found an ideal fit to their vision of building the program into a championship contender.
University and athletic department officials gathered on the third floor of Adkins Field House on Tuesday afternoon as Hogue formally introduced Kristen Selvage as the second head coach in the short history of the program.
Selvage, who spent the past 15 years as head coach at Division II Lock Haven, joins the Chants less than two months after Jaime Sellers resigned to relocate with her fiance.
And she arrives after leading her Lock Haven teams to three NCAA Division II championship appearances since 2009, including an overtime loss in the title game last May to complete a 20-1 season.
“Back in late June we were notified that we would have to begin searching for a lacrosse coach to lead our women’s lacrosse program,” Hogue said during the news conference.
“At that time, as we do with any search, we sat down and began a thorough review of what the priorities were of the program, what a national search would look like to identify a top candidate. One of the priorities that we were looking at through that process was to explore the possibilities of a head coach that had established a championship record. And as went through our national search over the next month or so it because clear [Selvage] had that resume.”
Hogue said later that he started with a pool of 20 candidates and narrowed that down to three finalists, who visited campus, before deciding on a hire.
I’m kind of ready to give them a whole new spin to things. And I think they’re excited to hear about it.”
New CCU women’s lacross coach Kristen Selvage
Selvage, who was named the 2015 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division II Coach of the Year, posted a 200-62 overall record in her time at Lock Haven.
She met with her new team Monday night and spoke Tuesday about the potential she sees in the Coastal Carolina program, which completed its third season last spring.
“I truly can’t wait to get started with this team and see what we can do,” Selvage said. “We’re out to win championships right from the beginning. So we want to be a contender in the Big South right from the start and I think every one of the ladies on the team would agree with that.”
Coastal Carolina went 11-6 last season under Sellers and reached the Big South semifinals for its best finish yet. Overall, the program is 21-29 through three seasons and 10-11 in conference matches.
Selvage said in evaluating the program, she was impressed by the community and the support for athletics at the university and sees the Grand Strand as a valuable recruiting tool moving forward.
“The community was a big deal for me. It was a very welcoming community for my family, so that was a big part of the process,” she said. “But not only that, just noticing how supportive all the administrators were and how many resources we were given. It’s a positive step in the right direction for me and I know that I can build a championship team from the facilities, the resources and the great attitudes these young ladies have.”
This isn’t the first time Coastal Carolina has lured a successful coach away from Lock Haven. Chants softball coach Kelley Green also made her mark at the Division II school in Pennsylvania before arriving in Conway.
Selvage said Green was a resource for her during the process of making this move.
“Kelley and I had offices right next door to each other [at Lock Haven]. We’re very good friends,” Selvage said. “She’s very open and honest about everything about the Coastal community, kind of gave me a little bit of all aspects to make sure this would be a right fit for myself and my family. But everything she had to say really just led me here a little bit more because I liked the level of success that all the other sports were having and I felt like I could follow in their footsteps and grow this program.”
Said Hogue: “They were close colleagues and certainly Kelley was a resource, but we wanted to go through our process absent that relationship. ... It was all her resume.”
One of Selvage’s first tasks, she said, will be to reach out to the local high schools that support lacrosse and evaluate what youth and club opportunities the sport offers in the area. She believes growing that infrastructure has to be a focus in building interest throughout the community.
As for the team she’s taking over, meanwhile, Selvage says they have a good foundation in place and she’s ready to put her own touch on it.
“They have really great attitudes, they have great team chemistry, they love each other and you can build a lot from that,” she said. “I’ve watched film the last two nights and I’d like to fine-tune them defensively, but I’d also like to give them just a more potent motion offense that is more deceptive. Some of the things they were doing offensively last year were very predictable, so I’m kind of ready to give them a whole new spin to things. And I think they’re excited to hear about it.”