Furman University

Furman University Athletics
3300 Poinsett Highway Greenville, SC 29613
Division 1 South Carolina Southeast
Private Small National competitor


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Rachel Shuck Whitten

Rachel Whitten is entering her sixth season at the helm of the Furman women’s lacrosse program in the 2018-19 school year. In four years of Division I play (2014-18), Whitten has amassed a 43-34 record and guided Furman to four conference semifinal appearances and a SoCon Championship game appearance in 2018, as the first head coach in program history.

Last season, Furman finished the year at 8-11 in the first season of Southern Conference women's lacrosse. The Paladins then made a run to the SoCon title game, downing Central Michigan in the semifinals.

In 2015, the inaugural year of Furman women’s lacrosse, Whitten led her team to a 10-7 overall record and 4-3 Atlantic Sun record and appearance in the A-Sun tournament.

On May 30, 2012, Furman University director of athletics Dr. Gary Clark announced that Rachel Shuck Whitten, associate head coach at the University of Denver, has been named Furman's first women's lacrosse coach.

Whitten, a native of Annapolis, Md., spent six seasons at the University of Denver, serving as an assistant coach from 2007-11 before being promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2012 season.

During her tenure at Denver, the Pioneers amassed a 71-36 (.664) record, won three Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) regular season championships, and ranked among the nation's top 20 teams three times.

In 2012 Denver posted a 12-3 record and 6-1 mark against MPSF opponents, leading the nation with 12.6 caused turnovers per game and ranking tenth nationally in scoring offense (13.93 goals per game), while posting the nation's 11th-best scoring margin at 4.2. The team's 12-game winning streak was the longest in Denver women's lacrosse history.

The Pioneers concluded the 2010 season with a 13-5 record and went a perfect 6-0 in league play. Denver advanced to the finals of the MPSF Tournament but was edged by Stanford, 11-10, in double overtime, to finish the season ranked 20th nationally. Pioneers Ali Flury, Natasha Davies, and Lexi Sanders were named to the IWLCA All-West Region second team, while Flury earned All-American accolades.

The 2008 squad also went undefeated in MPSF play, earning a final ranking of 15th nationally. In Whitten's first two seasons at Denver, the Pioneers posted a combined 29-9 record, including a perfect 10-0 slate in regular season league play.

A two-time All-American at Loyola University in Baltimore, Md., Whitten helped the Greyhounds advance to three straight NCAA tournaments from 2002-04, including an appearance in the 2003 Final Four. Loyola ranked among the nation's top five teams her first three seasons, finishing the 2003 campaign as the top-ranked team in the country. Whitten, who remains the school's all-time career leader with 120 assists, was nominated as a junior and senior for the Tewaaraton Award, which is presented annually to the NCAA women's lacrosse player of the year.

A 2004 graduate of Loyola with a bachelor's degree in business administration, she is married to Marty Whitten of Verailles, Mo., and the couple has two children, Aleni Lou and James Cole.

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Erin Fitzgerald

Erin Fitzgerald is in her second season as an assistant coach on the Furman women's lacrosse staff in 2018-19.

"I am extremely excited to be joining the Furman women's lacrosse coaching staff," Fitzgerald said. "I look forward to sharing my knowledge, experience, and passion for lacrosse with the team throughout the upcoming season."

"Erin is going to be a phenomenal addition to our staff," said Whitten. "Her experience at Northwestern and knowledge of the game is going to help propel Furman lacrosse as we strive to take the next step in Division I lacrosse. With a lot of new changes at Furman including entering a new conference, Erin seemed like a great fit for what our program needs!"

Fitzgerald, a native of Mt. Sinai, N.Y., has held multiple marketing positions since graduating from Northwestern University in 2013, most recently at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. She has also served as the head coach for several different club teams since 2007, including founding Breakers Lacrosse Club in Long Island, N.Y. in January of 2015.

During her time at Northwestern, Fitzgerald helped the Wildcats advance to four NCAA DI Final Fours and win two National Championships. She was twice named an IWLCA All-American and was nominated for the Tewaarton Award in 2013.

Fitzgerald graduated from Northwestern with a bachelor's degree in communications as an Academic All-Big Ten student-athlete.

She married Jeremy Ebert in March of 2018.

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Samantha Giacolone

Samantha Giacolone was added to the Furman women's lacrosse staff in July of 2019.

Giacolone joined Furman’s staff after a stellar career at Notre Dame, where she graduated in May of 2019 with a degree in Psychology and minors in Business Economics and Education, Schooling and Society.

Giacolone was a four-year starter in goal at Notre Dame and finished her career as the Fighting Irish’s all-time saves leader (605) and all-time wins leader (47). Giacolone was 47-28 in goal for her career, played 4205:06 minutes, turned in a 9.52 goals against average and .476 save percentage, picked up 178 ground balls and caused 30 turnovers.

She picked up plenty of accolades in her Notre Dame career, including earning IWLCA Second Team All-America honors in 2019. Giacolone was a four-time ACC Academic Honor Roll honoree, a two-time All-ACC Academic Team member, a five-time ACC Defensive Player of the Week honoree and was twice named IWLCA National Player of the Week.

As a senior in 2019, Giacolone was also named to the Inside Lacrosse Midseason All-American Second Team, All-ACC First Team and IWLCA First Team All-Region, as well as being named one of the Top 25 finalists for the Tewaaraton Award.

The Manorville N.Y., native, was a four-year member of Notre Dame’s Monogram club, as well as being a four-year volunteer for student-welfare and development. She was a member of Rosenthal Academy, a coach for the Long Island Yellow Jackets Elite Lacrosse Club, and a director and coach of ESMSA Basketball camp.

Giacolone was also a member of the U-19 National Women’s Lacrosse team in 2014-15, representing the United States in Edinburg, Scotland.

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