Beth Hewitt: A windy road

A combination of coaching successes and trial by fire has found Hewitt squarely as the face of Vanderbilt lacrosse.
Beth Hewitt will hope to bring Vanderbilt back to the NCAA tournament in her sixth season. (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)
Beth Hewitt will hope to bring Vanderbilt back to the NCAA tournament in her sixth season. (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)
Lexie P

“If you’re not having fun doing this, there’s something wrong.”

As a college lacrosse player and longtime coach, Beth Hewitt has had much of her life molded by the game of lacrosse. As she knows firsthand, the sport can be extremely taxing, both physically and mentally. Yet, above all, molding her players to be their best both on and off the field, is what concerns the sixth-year head coach the most. 

“My goal is always developing my student athletes, and that means developing the whole person here at Vanderbilt. We want you to be the best lacrosse player, but also the best mom, sister and supporter of your family,” Hewitt said. 

In the same way lacrosse has impacted her journey, Hewitt hopes that it can have the same impact on her student-athletes. For her, that journey began in Chapel Hill, N.C. Despite not picking up a stick until ninth grade, she was recruited during high school to play Division I lacrosse at UNC.  

Looking back on her time with the Tar Heels, Hewitt enjoyed a successful run at UNC. In addition to earning both All-American and All-ACC honors during her playing days, Hewitt also featured on teams that won the ACC title and earned a Final Four appearance. In addition to silverware, Hewitt picked up on the necessary foundations for building a strong program during her time as a Tar Heel.

“I learned most of my X’s and O’s from UNC, but I also learned how to build a program based on family,” Hewitt said. “They did an incredible job recruiting great people, something that I absolutely have carried over into coaching. The chemistry of the team is always the most important piece.”

Despite being unsure about her future in coaching, Hewitt decided to join one of her former assistant coaches at UNC to help build the lacrosse program at the University of Oregon. Having just been launched in 2005, Hewitt joined the next year as a graduate assistant with a large task in front of her. 

“We started with 25 freshmen, so that was definitely exciting as a first time coach,” Hewitt laughed. “I felt like I was able to learn so much through the growth of a new program and what it takes to really build something from the ground up. It’s absolutely shaped me as a coach.”

After a few years of helping Oregon establish its lacrosse program as a defensive coordinator, Hewitt took a major leap in 2010 when she was named head coach of Le Moyne. Again, Hewitt took over in Syracuse, N.Y. in a transitional phase: the Dolphins were reclassifying to Division II after being a Division I program. Despite the moving pieces, Hewitt found plenty of success during her five years as head coach.

“As a young coach, learning to win at a championship level was big,” Hewitt said. “I feel like I was able to compete with some of the best, as I have at every stop of my career thus far.”

The Dolphins were absolutely competitive. As new members of the Northeast-10 conference, Hewitt guided Le Moyne to a 71-20 record during her tenure as head coach. The run was highlighted by two conference tournament titles as well as two trips to the Final Four. In 2011, Hewitt led the Dolphins to a school-record win total as the team went 18-3. All in all, a very impressive start for a first-time head coach. 

After a successful run at Le Moyne, Hewitt felt that it was time to take the next step in her coaching career. Through a mixture of the allure of Division I lacrosse, her southern roots from her time as a Tar Heel and an opportunity to join as an associate head coach, Hewitt joined the Commodores’ staff in 2014.

“It was crazy; I went on the website and looked and on that day, [Vanderbilt]’s assistant coach of 15 years had retired,” Hewitt said. “I came down for the interview shortly after and I knew that this was the place.”

During her four years as an associate head coach, Hewitt learned about the unique challenges of being a student-athlete at Vanderbilt. 

“Being an athlete here is just a little different. There are different challenges and nuances here, and I think that understanding that gave me a leg up when I started as a head coach,” Hewitt said.

Following the departure of Cathy Swezey in 2018, Hewitt was selected as Vanderbilt’s next head coach, finally completing her journey to leading a Division I program. Though she’s dealt with  some bumps in the road, Hewitt has been largely successful in turning around a struggling Vanderbilt program.

In her first season, Hewitt guided the Commodores to a 10-6 record, which marked Vanderbilt’s first winning season in nine years. Following a Covid-shortened 2020 season, Hewitt led the Commodores to winning seasons in both 2021 (12-7) and 2022 (11-7). In 2022, Vanderbilt advanced to the American Athletic Conference (AAC) title game for the first time in program history.

Despite a down season in 2023, Hewitt has remained consistent in her goals on the field.

“We felt really good about getting back to [the] NCAA’s a couple years ago, but we haven’t been able to sustain that,” Hewitt said. “How do we win the AAC tournament on a regular basis? How do we put ourselves in the conversation to compete for championships every year? I feel like we have the personnel and resources to do that. I’m super excited about this year.”

After a successful playing career and unique coaching career, Hewitt has found herself as the face of Vanderbilt’s lacrosse program. Entering her sixth season, the head coach will look to emulate the success she had during her playing career at every step of the way in Nashville. 

The Commodores will begin their season on Feb. 10, taking on Ohio State at home.

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About the Contributor
Anish Mago, Deputy Sports Editor
Anish Mago ('24) is from West Windsor, N.J., and is studying economics and political science in the College of Arts and Science. He previously served as a staff writer for the Sports section. When not writing for The Hustler, Anish enjoys playing basketball and rooting for all Philly sports. He can be reached at .
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