Christine Halfpenny, women’s lacrosse head coach the last five seasons at the College of William and Mary where her teams have achieved four consecutive 10-win seasons and a pair of regular-season conference titles, has been named head women’s lacrosse coach at the University of Notre Dame.
Halfpenny’s Tribe squads captured Colonial Athletic Association regular-season titles in both 2008 and 2009 – and she merited CAA coach-of-the-year honors in 2008. Her teams combined for a 20-8 record in league play (including four consecutive conference tournament bids) – as William and Mary reached double digits in victories each of the last four seasons (10-7 in 2011 and 2009, 10-8 in 2010, 10-9 in 2008). Those four consecutive 10-win seasons matched the best previous stretch in program history.
“Chris brings to Notre Dame the experiences of having been involved with multiple programs and teams that have been to the NCAA final four, won conference titles and produced All-Americans,” says Notre Dame vice president and athletics director Jack Swarbrick.
“From a coaching, recruiting and academic standpoint, she understands exactly what the expectations are here at Notre Dame and what it will take for our program to take the next set of steps forward.”
Notre Dame’s newest head coach tutored two All-Americans at William and Mary, to go with 26 all-conference selections and 10 all-region honorees. Her 2011 squad became the first in CAA history to receive awards for player of the year, defensive player of the year and rookie of the year in the same season.
Her five seasons with the Tribe produced single-season records for points (347 in 2009), goals (244 in 2009), draw controls (269 in 2009), caused turnovers (third nationally in 2010 at 12.61 per game) and saves (211 in 2008).
Halfpenny’s most recent season in 2011 included All-America selections Grace Golden (her second consecutive recognition) and Sarah Jonson (her third in a row) and a fourth consecutive advancement to the CAA tournament. Her Tribe staff in 2011 included former Irish women’s lacrosse All-American Shannon Burke. William and Mary in ’11 led the league in goals, points, ground balls, draw controls and caused turnovers (all per game) and shooting percentage – and both the 2010 and ’11 teams ranked in the top 20 nationally most of those two campaigns.
Her 2009 season featured a second consecutive regular-season conference crown, finished off with five league wins in a row (three against ranked opponents) to end the regular season. Halfpenny saw her 2008 Tribe team finish the season ranked 20th after wins in eight of its last 11 contests (with four wins coming against rated opponents, including top-10 foes Stanford and George Mason). Her first season in 2007 featured a victory against ninth-ranked James Madison.
In the classroom Halfpenny’s players earned 59 combined CAA Commissioner’s Academic Awards from 2007-2010, as well as five William and Mary Provost Awards.
Halfpenny came to Williamsburg in the summer of 2006 after three years (2004-06) as the top women’s lacrosse assistant coach at Duke University. The Blue Devils won the 2005 Atlantic Coast Conference postseason tournament title, won or shared three consecutive ACC regular-season crowns and made three consecutive NCAA Championships appearances, advancing to the national semifinals in both 2005 and 2006. Halfpenny worked specifically with goaltenders at Duke, assisting Megan Huether in 2005 in earning first-team All-America honors. She played a key role in producing three recruiting classes at Duke that ranked among the top four in the nation. The 2004 Duke team produced the top women’s lacrosse grade-point average in the country (3.46).
Halfpenny also spent a season as an assistant women’s lacrosse coach at her alma mater, Virginia Tech University, in 2003, directing recruiting and serving as offensive coordinator. She began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Brown University in 2001 and 2002. She has been actively involved in various camps and clinics nationally for more than a decade – and she served on the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association growth committee in 2002-03.
Additional committee work has included associations with the William and Mary Celebration of Women’s Athletics, the IWLCA All-American program, NCAA site advisory decisions, the Tewaaraton Award and the IWLCA North-South Game selections.
Before joining the college coaching ranks she spent a year as boys’ and girls’ swimming coach and assistant varsity tennis coach (winning the Virginia Boys AAA state swimming title) at Cave Spring High School in Roanoke, Va.
A four-year letter-winner in women’s lacrosse at Virginia Tech, Halfpenny started on the 1999 Hokie team that won the Atlantic 10 Conference championship, finished 11-6 and achieved a program-first top-20 ranking. She received the coaches award that year and was a two-time member of the athletic director’s honor roll (1998, 1999). She graduated in 1999 with a degree in health and physical education.
Born in Latham, N.Y., Halfpenny and her husband Matt (the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Norfolk State) are parents of two sons – Jackson and Cole.