LA GRANDE — Eastern Oregon University has its first ever lacrosse coach.
Monica Plut, who recently wrapped up her first year as head coach of NCAA Division II school Adams State University in Colorado, was named the head coach Tuesday by the school in a press release.
"She is extremely passionate about the sport, of just growing the sport,” EOU athletic director Anji Weissenfluh told The Observer Tuesday. "She is very well connected within the lacrosse community, (and were impressed with) her ability to network (and) be passionate about the sport."
Plut, who according to the press release is a US Lacrosse Level 3 certified coach, has been a head coach in several locations around the country at the high school and collegiate levels. After starting at a coach in Chicago in 2014, she coached in Kentucky from 2016-18, leading Woodford County High School to a berth in the 2017 state title game and the next season leading Sayre School to a league semifinal berth and a No. 1 ranking in the East District.
Plut went 0-13 in her only year at Adams State, though she was coaching a program that has struggled to find success in its nine-year existence and has garnered just 11 victories in that time.
According to the EOU press release, Plut taught the sport to middle and high school PE classes in her time at Adams State and looks to do the same in La Grande to build the sport in the region.
"I am extremely excited for the opportunity to start a lacrosse program from scratch at Eastern Oregon," Plut said in the press release. "With the sport of lacrosse growing on the west coast and at the collegiate level, it is exciting to be a part of that growth by bringing it to EOU and the valley."
Weissenfluh said Plut, a 2014 Georgia Southern University graduate who founded the women's lacrosse club team at the school, has impacted the sport by putting on training sessions for coaches and clinics nationally.
“One of the focuses is to grow the recognition of women’s lacrosse out here in the Pacific Northwest,” Weissenfluh said.
The A.D. also said Plut has a background in sales, which will further help her on the recruiting trail.
“A huge component of recruiting is having the skillset and the tools to recruit,” Weissenfluh said. “With that background, it will be possible.”
Plut also impressed the hiring committee with, Weissenfluh said, “how she was able to answer questions, through not only her words but her past experiences of what we were looking for and needing when we start a new program. And not only a new program, but what we would call an emerging sport in the Pacific Northwest. It's still growing.”
Plut will be on campus in late January to begin building the program that will take the field for the first time in the spring of 2021.