GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- After four years at the helm of the Tusculum University women's lacrosse program, TU head coach Jenna Handshoe has resigned according to Doug Jones, Vice President of Student Success and Athletics. Handshoe is stepping down to accept the NCAA Division I head coaching post at her alma mater Presbyterian College.
Handshoe became the program's inaugural coach in October 2013 as women's lacrosse become the university's 16th varsity sport and began competition in the spring of 2015. During her four seasons in Greeneville, the Pioneers accounted for a 32-34 overall record.
"I want to thank Coach Handshoe for all of her hard work and dedication in getting the Tusculum program off the ground," said Jones. "We are proud of all that Jenna and her student-athletes accomplished in the past four years and am confident of the solid foundation she has placed for our program. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors."
Jones indicated that a national search for Handshoe's replacement will begin immediately.
Handshoe was named the 2015 South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year after leading Tusculum to a third place finish in the league in its inaugural campaign. The Pioneers finished the season with a 10-5 overall record and a 5-3 mark in the conference, which earned the right to host a 2015 SAC Tournament quarterfinal game. Throughout the season, the Pioneers defeated established conference opponents Wingate, Newberry and Catawba. Tusculum also picked up wins over fellow first-year program Lincoln Memorial and earned road wins at non-conference foes Converse and Shorter.
Handshoe guided the 23rd-ranked scoring offense in NCAA II with an average of 13.67 goals per game. Overall, the Pioneers ranked in the top 25 in four different national categories including seventh in ground balls per game (24.80) and 24th in win percentage (0.692). Tusculum finished with the best record among all first year DII women's lacrosse programs in 2015. The Pioneers were the only one of seven teams to finish with an above a .500 winning percentage.
The 2015 squad boasted four All-SAC selections including first team pick Kelsey Crow and second team honoree Cheyenne Bray. Madison Malone and Brooke Wagner were honorable mention selections. In the classroom, 11 of Handshoe's players were named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll in their first eligible season.
In 2016, Tusculum followed with another winning season as the Pioneers went 11-6 and advanced to the SAC Tournament semifinal for the first time in program history. That team boast two All-Conference picks including Malone (1st team) and Crow (2nd team). Malone also earned a spot on the SAC All-Tournament team, while Savannah Elliott earned CoSIDA Academic All-District first team accolades.
The 2017 team faced an extremely tough schedule going 5-12 which included four matches against nationally-ranked teams, including a pair of top-10 opponents. The program maintained its string of consecutive trips to the SAC postseason for a third straight year. The Pioneers had three players earn All-SAC recognition including Malone (first team), Elliott (honorable mention) and rookie Juliette Cusano (honorable mention). Four players earned IWLCA Academic Honor Roll recognition, while the Tusculum earned IWLCA All-Academic Team distinction for a third season in a row.
In 2018, the Pioneers battled through a grueling non-conference schedule to reel off four straight conference victories and earn a spot in the SAC Championship tournament for the fourth time in as many seasons. Malone nabbed another spot on the All-Conference second team along with Cusano, while Rachel Holmes captured honorable mention honors. Malone finished her career as the SAC all-time leader in assists (154) and fourth all-time in points with a school-record 241.
"It's a bittersweet time for me as I step down as head coach of the Pioneers. Tusculum has become home and truly a special place," Handshoe said. I want to thank Coach Jones for all of his support over the years. It was a hard decision for me to make, however, I know the program will have continued success. Thank you Pioneer Nation!"
Handshoe came to Tusculum from Tennessee Wesleyan University, where she served as head coach for two seasons. With the Bulldogs, Handshoe posted a 17-18 record and led TWU to two trips to the National Women's Lacrosse League tournament, where they finished fifth and fourth.
A native of Greenville, South Carolina and a graduate of J.L. Mann High School, Handshoe was a four-year starter at Presbyterian from 2007 to 2010. With the Blue Hose, she was a second-team All-National Lacrosse Conference selection in 2010 and an all-tournament selection in 2009, while leading the team in scoring as both a junior and a senior. She led PC in points (49), goals (36), free position goals (8), shots (70), and shots on goal (60) her senior year (2010). She also led in goals her junior season with 28, while also pacing the Blue Hose in points (48) and assists (20). In 2008, the season was cut short, but Handshoe still scored 15 goals in the four games that were played. Handshoe was nationally ranked in NCAA II in 2007 for ground balls and caused turnovers. She was named to the Big South Conference Presidential Honor Roll and also played basketball for Presbyterian her freshman year.
In 2007, Handshoe played with USA Athletes International in Prague, Czech Republic in the Prague Cup International Lacrosse Tournament, helping the team to a second place overall finish.
In high school, Handshoe helped J.L. Mann to win the 2006 South Carolina State Championship. She was named the Tournament MVP and the South Carolina Defensive Player of the Year.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with minors in physical education and athletic coaching in the spring of 2010, Handshoe was a volunteer assistant coach at Presbyterian for the 2011 season while officiating local high school games. Handshoe has also worked various lacrosse camps and clinics and held volunteer classes for the Athens City Middle School during the past academic year.
While at Tennessee Wesleyan, Handshoe served on the National Women's Lacrosse League Membership committee and was the Appalachian Athletic Conference chair for the Coaches committee.
Handshoe graduated with honors from Tusculum in 2016 with a Master of Arts degree in education, with a concentration in human resource development.