After five seasons and an overall record of 17-63, Tony Zostant resigned as head coach of the Binghamton University women’s lacrosse team, the athletic department announced Today. Former lead assistant Stephanie Allen has been selected as interim head coach heading into the 2013 season.
The University statement cited the pursuit of “other professional opportunities” as the cause behind Zostant’s resignation. The former head coach confirmed, saying opportunities arose over the winter break that wouldn’t be there at the end of the season.
The 11-year-old program went winless in conference play three times under Zostant, including in 2012. Zostant came to Binghamton in 2008 following six years with St. Bonaventure University, where he was named the Atlantic 10 Women’s Lacrosse Coach of the Year.
Binghamton athletic director Patrick Elliott said that the search for a permanent head coach will begin sometime in the spring. He cited Allen’s knowledge of the program, experience, skill set and relationship to the team as characteristics that make her a good fit for head coach in the interim.
Allen, who has served as the team’s lead assistant since her arrival at Binghamton in 2008, was a four-year starter and senior captain at Limestone College in South Carolina from 2000 to 2003. She found out on Tuesday that she had been selected to take over for Zostant.
“I think I’ve got a good pulse on the team and I’ve put in a lot of effort to help mentor these girls over the last several years of my tenure here,” Allen said. “I’m excited to continue working with them and see their growth and development.”
According to the University’s statement, Allen’s primary responsibilities as lead assistant have included serving as defensive coordinator, midfield coordinator and recruiting coordinator. She played a leading role in recruiting now-sophomore goalie Erin McNulty, the No. 4 goalie in the nation according to ESPN.com and the first top-50 recruit in the history of the program.
“I think you learn a lot as an assistant coach, but in particular you’re kind of that middle man between the head coach and the players and you get a real good grasp on what works well for the players and what doesn’t,” Allen said. “I think moving forward that’s kind of the approach we’re going take, just what motivates these girls and what’s going to really bring out the best in them.”
Director of the Broome County Girls Lacrosse Club and Youth League from 2007-2012, Allen served as head coach at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina in the program’s first years from 2005-2007.
“Binghamton is still a relatively new program, and it’s going have a lot of growth here in the next couple years,” Allen said. “I think right now we’re turning the corner and excited about the direction it’s heading.”
The Bearcats’ season-opener is scheduled for Feb. 23 at Saint Francis University.