Randy Vite headed west to learn the ropes of lacrosse coaching. She’s returned home to the Mid Hudson Valley to put her skills to work.
The 30-year old was named head coach of the SUNY New Paltz women’s program with barely a month to get ready for the 2022 season. She doesn’t mind – the 2009 Monroe-Woodbury graduate is just excited to be closer to family and friends.
“I was going on about seven years of being an assistant coach,’’ Vite said. “I had my eyes open for a head lacrosse coaching job on the East coast, closer to home. All my friends are having babies and getting married, and my parents are getting older, and I was feeling like I wanted to be back on the East coast and close to home. So New Paltz was always on a short list of schools that I always had my eye out for.’’
“We’re excited to have a young and up-and-coming coach who has ties to the Hudson Valley,’’ SUNY New Paltz athletic director Renee Bostic said.
Vite said she was “overwhelmed with joy’’ when told she had been hired. She celebrated with her 1-year-old puppy and made 50 calls to her friends and family.
“This was my ultimate goal, and I’m super excited,’’ she said.
Vite played soccer, basketball and lacrosse at Monroe-Woodbury, and went on to play four seasons of lacrosse for Kutztown University, even earning all-star status.
“I can't imagine my life without sports,’’ said Vite, who said she used to run from soccer practice to lacrosse workouts. “I always knew that I would have to have my hands in it and I think coaching was a natural path.’’
“She’s just a great kid,’’ said Leslie Ahlborn, who coached Vite at Monroe-Woodbury. “I can see her thriving in this area because she’s still connected, and she’s got a great personality for that level of coaching.’’
Ahlborn said Vite was one of those athletes who showed up first to practice and left last, absorbing everything that her coaches offered. Ahlborn organized summer youth clinics and Vite would help out with the younger athletes.
Even while playing sports in high school, Vite had an interest to become a coach and teacher so she headed to Colorado to work with Teach for America as a special-education teacher. She served as an assistant lacrosse coach at Colorado State University-Pueblo for one season and Aurora University for two.
“I jumped on it and kind of got my feet wet in college athletics and quickly realized that this could be my career, a dream come true,’’ she said.
Vite moved on to the University of Chicago and served as lead assistant for three-plus seasons of the new program. The Maroons posted winning records in all three seasons, winning two matches and reaching the NCAA Division III quarterfinals in 2021. Vite worked the defensive side and was very involved in recruiting, scouting, monitoring academics, setting up sports camps and creating community-service projects – it kept her busy, Vite said, but she was eager to run a program of her own.
“I think SUNY schools have such a great opportunity to be really successful at lacrosse at the Division III level in this area,’’ she said. “New Paltz was always on my list. I saw it open and I knew it wasn't a job that I could pass up.’’
New Paltz went 5-3 in a 2021 season that saw a handful of postponements due to the COVID pandemic. The Hawks lost eight players to graduation, return 12 and have seven newcomers on a 19-player roster for 2022.
The New Paltz season debut is February 23 when Western Connecticut State visits. The Hawks have eight home matches.
Vite said the short-term goals are to win some games and provide “a great experience’’ for her players. Her long-term aspirations are to grow the program and become contenders in the SUNYAC.
This article originally appeared on Times Herald-Record: NCAA women's lacrosse Division III SUNY New Paltz Randy Vite coach