Nicki Stewart has been named the head women's lacrosse coach for Asbury University, effective August 1st, 2016, Asbury Athletics Director announced on Wednesday. Stewart steps into the role of head coach after serving the 2016 season as an assistant to Rich Manieri. Manieri resigned from his position following the conclusion of the season to return to his journalism and communication roots in his home state of Pennsylvania.
Stewart worked with the defensive unit for the Eagles in 2016, helping develop the defense, improving their goals against total from over 13 goals per game in the first half of the season to less than 11 in the second half while seeing more experience and talented teams down the stretch. They'd go on to finish the season 4-9 and miss out on the AAC Playoffs.
"Nicki embodies what we were looking for in a candidate for this position," Perdue said of the hire. "She made a tangible impact when she joined the staff last season, both on the field and off. We are fortunate she is stepping into the role as a familiar face with the current members on the team. She brings an energy to coaching we're looking forward to having on the sidelines this season."
Stewart hails originally from Penfield, N.Y., and grew up playing lacrosse from a young age in Westminster, Md. Both areas are known as the "hot-bed" lacrosse areas, often with some of the nation's best lacrosse. She played defense for Francis Scott Key High School in Union Bridge, Md., and played for the Frederick Stars travel club during the summer seasons during high school.
"It's exciting that God has provided me with this opportunity. I absolutely loved my time working with the girls this past spring and when the opportunity to step into the role of head coach came up I knew I had to take a shot at it," Stewart said. "I'm thankful for this opportunity to be at Asbury, with this team, because the work we put in last season wasn't finished. We've got plenty to accomplish yet."
Stewart graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology in 2011. Her husband, Josh, is the men's lacrosse team's head coach and works as the sports information director. They reside here in Wilmore with their three daughters.