Shannon Smith, a three-time first-team lacrosse All-American who is among the most decorated players in the sport, just completed her eighth season as the head women's lacrosse coach at Hofstra University.
Smith became the ninth head coach in the history of the Hofstra women’s lacrosse program in July 2012.
Smith has coached the Pride to 65 wins in her first eight seasons and led her squad to the Colonial Athletic Association Championship Tournament four times.
During the shortened 2020 season, Smith led Hofstra to a 4-3 record facing one of the nation’s most difficult schedules.
In 2019, Smith guided the team to a 12-win campaign and a spot in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship Game. The 12 wins were the most since 2010 and the appearance in the championship game was the first for Hofstra since 2013. In was a banner year individually for the Pride as six Smith-coached players earned postseason awards including Alyssa Parrella who was the CAA Player of the Year and became the ninth Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association All-American in program history.
The 2018 campaign saw Hofstra win eight games for the second consecutive season against a schedule that featured seven teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The future was on display for Hofstra in 2018 as well as all four of the Pride’s postseason honorees from the CAA were either sophomores or freshmen.
In 2017, Smith led Hofstra to eight victories as the program took a major step forward and upped its overall win total by five victories and increased its CAA wins as well. Individually she oversaw the development of several standouts, as Alyssa Parrella, Drew Shapiro, Alexa Mattera and Darcie Smith all earned awards from the CAA. Parrella arguably had one of the best freshman seasons in the nation as she picked up CAA and ECAC Rookie of the Year accolades.
Hofstra won a trio of games in 2016 as the team was decimated by injuries throughout the season. Following the season four Pride student-athletes would earn awards from the CAA, including Lindsay Scott as a member of the first team and Lindsey Alfano on the second team.
The 2015 season would see Smith lead Hofstra to an 11-win season and a regular season CAA title after finishing the regular season with a perfect 6-0 mark in conference play. It marked Hofstra’s first-ever perfect season in CAA play and the first time the Pride went undefeated in regular season league play since going 6-0 in the America East Conference in 2001. In just her third season at the helm of the program she led Hofstra to the number one seed in the conference tournament for the first time since the 2007 campaign. Smith’s stellar season leading the Pride garnered her CAA Coach of the Year accolades. She became the first Hofstra coach to win that award since 2005.
Smith has led Hofstra student-athletes to significant awards during her time at the helm. Brittain Altomare became Hofstra’s eighth-ever IWLCA All-American when she was named to the third team in 2015. She also garnered CAA Player of the Year honors, the Pride’s first-ever CAA Player of the Year honoree and first since 1996. She also coached April Iannetta to back-to-back CAA Defensive Player of the Year Awards in 2013 and 2014, as well as Becky Conto to the 2013 CAA Rookie of the Year Award.
In 2014 Hofstra compiled eight wins while finishing 12th in the nation in scoring defense. Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Gregerson ranked fourth in the country in save percentage and eighth in goals against average. In addition to Iannetta’s Defensive Player of the Year trophy, five other players received All-CAA accolades and two ( Altomare and Iannetta) were named to the IWLCA all-region team.
In her first season at the helm, Smith led the Pride to an 11-8 mark and a berth in the CAA Championship game. The Pride posted a six-win improvement from 2012 and ranked in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense, ground balls per game and caused turnovers. Iannetta shared the CAA Defensive Player of the Year Award, Conto took home CAA Rookie of the Year accolades and Altomare set a new school record for assists under Smith’s tutelage.
Smith also has extensive coaching experience in the professional ranks as well as in the summer of 2016, Smith coached the Long Island Sound of the United Women’s Lacrosse League to the title in the inaugural season of the professional women’s lacrosse league. She added to her professional experience in 2018 as she was named the head coach of the New York Fight of the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League and has served in that capacity for the past two years.
Smith completed a four-year playing career at Northwestern in May 2012. Among her many highlights included winning three NCAA titles, earning three first team All-American honors (2010, 2011, 2012) and capturing the 2011 Tewaaraton (presented annually to the NCAA women's and men's lacrosse player of the year) and lacrosse Honda (recognized as the top collegiate female athlete in her sport, and the award is considered by many as one of the highest honors a female college athlete can receive in the nation) Awards.
Smith’s incredible career at Northwestern was recognized in 2017 as she was inducted into the Northwestern Athletics Hall of Fame. In addition, she was also inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
Smith is very adept at the business side of lacrosse as well. Since 2009, she has served as a director with Long Island Top Guns girls lacrosse club. Smith has assisted with every aspect of the club and helped organize and coach a training program for over 300 players. From managing the business side of the club to coaching teams, Smith has played a vital role in the development of one of the top club programs in the area. Through her work with Long Island Top Guns, Smith manages a total of four camps, while overseeing a staff of over 20 people.
Smith’s immense experience at the highest level of lacrosse continues with her extensive US Lacrosse career. She was named to the roster for the 2012-14 U.S. women’s national senior team. Smith also was part of the 2011-12 U.S. women’s national training team and the 2007 U.S. women’s national under-19 team. As a member of the U-19 squad, she helped lead the team to the Gold Medal at the 2007 World Cup.
In June 2012 Smith coached the North squad at the 2012 Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic.
A key player on three teams that captured NCAA titles at Northwestern (2009, 2011, 2012), Smith was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 and 2012 Championships. During her career, she scored 58 points in the NCAA Tournament to rank second all-time in that category.
Smith is not defined solely by her postseason honors and awards, though, as she totaled 254 goals, 108 assists and 362 points during her career. She closed her playing career ranked first in program history in goals, second in points and third in assists. Herr 86 goals in 2011 are a single-season record for the Northwestern program. In addition, she ranked eighth all-time in NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse in points and ninth in goals at the conclusion of her career.
She played in 91 games during her career at Northwestern, adding 118 draw controls, 85 ground balls and 28 caused turnovers. Smith had 19 game-winning goals during her career and her 2011 season was her most prolific with 86 goals, 42 assists, 128 points, 39 draw controls, 25 ground balls and eight caused turnovers.
Smith has done charitable work in the Long Island community as well. She is actively involved with the Friends of Jacyln Foundation and Our Lady of Grace Garden. She also helped lead a group of counselors at the South Bay Elementary School (West Babylon, New York) Lacrosse Camp to raise $6,500 towards the reconstruction of the school after a fire. At Hofstra, she has continued the women’s lacrosse programs involvement with the HEADstrong Foundation as well as the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation.
A native of West Babylon, New York, Smith attended West Babylon High School where she was a six-time letter-winner and was a member of the varsity squad starting in seventh grade. Smith was one of the top scholastic lacrosse players to ever come out of Long Island as she had 729 points on 505 goals and 224 assists during her career. Both the points and goals totals are New York state records as is her 129 goals in 2006.
Smith received her bachelor of science in liberal arts, with a major in economics and minor in business institutions program, from Northwestern.