Kendyl Clarkson Named New Head Coach of Youngstown State


Kendyl Clarkson is just the second head coach in program history, replacing Theresa Walton.

Kendyl Clarkson has been named the head women’s lacrosse coach at Youngstown State University, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo announced on Tuesday.

Clarkson is just the second head coach in program history, replacing Theresa Walton. She joined the women’s lacrosse coaching staff as an assistant in July 2019 and helped lead the Penguins to a share of the Mid-American Conference title in the program’s second season.

“I would like to thank Ron Strollo, Executive Director of Athletics, as well as Tory LIndley, Deputy Athletics Director, for the opportunity to lead the YSU women’s lacrosse program,” Clarkson said. “A big thank you to President Jim Tressel, his passion and commitment to this community and University has helped shape our players, program and love for being a Penguin! I also want to add a personal thank you to all those who have reached out and supported me throughout this process, and a special thank you to my mentor and friend, Mike Peterson. The last thank you and most important goes to our Penguin Lacrosse players. The dedication and love you have for this game as well as for being great teammates and even better people is unmatched. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been with this program since its inception and look forward to continuing our hard hat culture of championship effort.”

In 2022, the Guins finished with an 8-2 league mark to receive their MAC title. In the middle of the pack at the start of April, the Penguins caught fire winning their final five contests to tie Robert Morris and Central Michigan atop the MAC standings. In its final five regular-season games, the Guins won four road contests, including wins at CMU and RMU for the program’s first win against those two-MAC powers. At Robert Morris on the final day of the regular-season, the Penguins overcame a four-goal deficit to stun the Colonials. At the outset of the campaign, YSU was picked to finish fifth in the six-team conference.

“I’m excited to announce that Kendyl Clarkson will be our new women’s lacrosse head coach,” Strollo said. “We obviously knew what we had in Kendyl because she was here to start this program and helped recruit the student-athletes we have here on our campus. She was a major part of the success we’ve had and helped guide us to a conference championship in our second year. We’re just excited to have someone of Coach Clarkson’s caliber to lead our program in the future. We are confident that she will continue our focus on the experience and development of our student-athletes both on and off the field.”

The program’s first year was in the spring of 2021. With COVID-19 restrictions, the Penguins played conference games only. YSU picked up the first program win in school history beating Detroit Mercy and knocked off Kent State as well.

Clarkson came to Youngstown with six years of head coaching experience at the Division III level and a highly accomplished background as a student-athlete.

Clarkson was the head coach at Virginia Wesleyan during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The Marlins had back-to-back seasons with at least a .500 record for the first time in more than a decade under Clarkson’s leadership. She recruited the largest two incoming classes in program history, and the Marlins had their biggest roster in program history in 2019.

Prior to her time at Virginia Wesleyan, Clarkson had a successful four-year run at Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C. She was named the 2017 USA South Women’s Lacrosse Coach of the Year and led the Monarchs to a 32-32 record in four seasons from 2014-17. MU was 1-11 the season prior to her arrival, and Clarkson led the team to records of 5-12, 10-5, 8-8 and 9-7. She coached a total of 11 all-conference players as she became the winningest coach in program history.

Clarkson got her coaching start as an assistant coach at St. Bonaventure in 2012-13. She served as the Bonnies’ offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator, and she was also charged with individual skill enhancement and film exchange.

As a student-athlete at Division III Buffalo State, Clarkson led the country in assists per game in 2010 and 2011, and her 88 assists in 2012 tied the Division III all-time record. As a senior, she led the Bengals to their first NCAA Tournament appearance as well as a victory in the opening round. She finished her career ranking second in NCAA history with 240 career assists, and her 385 career points ranked in the top 20.

Clarkson earned her bachelor’s degree in individualized studies with concentrations in education and coaching from Buffalo State in 2012. She was inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2021.

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