Former Southern High standout Alicia Groveston Jackson has been hired as the first head coach in Eastern Michigan University women’s lacrosse history.
Eastern Michigan athletic director Scott Wetherbee announced Tuesday that Groveston Jackson would lead the fledgling program as the Mid-American Conference school adds women’s lacrosse as its 19th varsity sport. EMU will begin play during the 2022-23 academic year.
“Hiring the head coach of a brand new program is a particularly crucial selection,” Wetherbee said. “I am excited to get a caliber of coach like Alicia to help us build a solid foundation for our lacrosse program. She will help us compete for championships in the Mid-American Conference.”
Groveston Jackson helped establish varsity women’s lacrosse at Grand Valley State University and built it into one of the top programs at the Division II level. During her time at GVSU, Groveston Jackson was a five-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Coach of the Year while leading her team to six regular season championships, four tournament titles and its first-ever NCAA postseason appearance in 2016.
“Having already started a lacrosse program at another institution, she is well respected and nationally known in the lacrosse community,” Wetherbee said. “Our goals for the program are fully aligned with our top priorities of building champions for life and providing an incredible student-athlete experience.”
In her seven seasons at Grand Valley, Groveston Jackson coached 50 All-GLIAC players, including the 2018 midfielder and goalkeeper of the year along with five defenders of the year. She also molded 13 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-Region selections and six IWLCA All-Americans.
“I am extremely honored and excited to be named the inaugural head coach for lacrosse at Eastern Michigan University,” Groveston Jackson added. “I am humbled to become a part of and contribute to the rich athletic tradition at EMU with the addition of the lacrosse program.”
Groveston Jackson will always remember Tuesday fondly, as she also gave birth to her first child.
“I look forward to having our program make a positive impact at Eastern in the classroom, in the community, and on the lacrosse field. Our goal will be to help develop strong, resilient, passionate and problem-solving young women who will change the world around them for the better,” Groveston Jackson added.
Nationally, Groveston Jackson served as IWLCA president for three years — acting as representative and spokesperson for over 1,700 coaches and 550 member organizations. She also served as a US Lacrosse Coach Development Committee Chair for one year and multiple NCAA Committees. Professionally, Groveston Jackson received the 2016 IWLCA Nike Presidents Cup Award, which is awarded to the individual who has worked to promote, develop and enhance the intercollegiate women’s lacrosse game. In 2011, she earned the IWLCA Service Award, which is given to the individual who has committed themselves to the betterment of the intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association.
Most recently, Groveston Jackson worked as director of operations for women’s soccer at Michigan. Her primary duties included managing the team schedule and coordinating all team travel and logistics.
While at Michigan, Groveston Jackson took on the responsibilities of head girls' lacrosse coach at Cranbrook Kingswood School in nearby Bloomfield Hills. She also created and coached for six years with the Rapid Lax Lacrosse Club in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Groveston Jackson previously worked as head coach at Gannon University, leading that program to a 12-4 record and final IWLCA ranking of No. 8 in 2009. She spent the 2008 season as an assistant coach at NCAA Division II member Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.
An Academic All-American at Salisbury University, she started her coaching career as an assistant at Stephen Decatur High School in Berlin.
The Annapolis native enjoyed a stellar playing career at Hartwick College before transferring to Salisbury for her final two years of eligibility. Groveston Jackson played field hockey and lacrosse while at Hartwick. At Salisbury, she earned all-conference and regional honors as a senior defender.
Groveston Jackson graduated magna cum laude from Salisbury in 2003 with a degree in communication arts/mass media. She later received her Master’s in Business Administration from Salisbury in 2004, graduating cum laude.
EMU will be the seventh Mid-American Conference institution to sponsor the sport at the NCAA Division I level. It joins Akron, Central Michigan, Detroit Mercy, Kent State, Robert Morris, and Youngstown State.