NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Merrimack College Director of Athletics Jeremy Gibson is pleased to announce the hiring of Paula Habel as the new head coach of the women’s lacrosse team, the sixth in the history of the program.
“We are thrilled to have Paula lead our women’s lacrosse program,” Gibson stated. “I am confident that her commitment to our student-athletes and passion for the sport will serve her well as we welcome her to Merrimack.”
“I am so excited to be named the next women’s lacrosse head coach at Merrimack College,” Habel said. “I would like to thank the administration and the search committee for this amazing opportunity and honor to lead and mentor such a great group of young women. The program is headed in the right direction and I’m excited to start this journey. Each day of the last week I am more impressed with this group of young and highly motivated women. I look forward to continuing a strong lacrosse culture on and off the field.”
Prior to her arrival in North Andover, Habel spent the previous three seasons (Feb. 2013 – Sept. 2015) as assistant women’s lacrosse coach at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. While in that post, she was part of a coaching staff that qualified for the NCAA Tournament and reached the New England Small School Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament Quarterfinals while earning a top-10 national ranking each season.
More specifically, Habel assisted in all aspects of coaching strategy and philosophy, scouted future opponents, broke down and analyzed game film, and worked with student-athletes to enhance communication while providing positive feedback.
Merrimack will not be Habel’s first head coaching stint; her last similar post came at Bridgewater State in 2011-12. There, she helped Bridgewater win the New England Women’s Lacrosse Association regular season title and the tournament championship to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament after graduating 10 starters from the previous season.
Habel was also the head coach at Emerson College (2010-11), Allegheny College (2007-10) and Plymouth State University (2004-06). She helped Allegheny reach the North Coast Athletic Conference playoffs in two of the three years and led the 2010 squad to a team record for wins in a season (9). While with Plymouth State, the Panthers won the ECAC title and finish with a 13-5 record in 2005. A year later, that same Plymouth State program went to the NCAA Tournament, won Little East Conference regular season and tournament titles, and finished 13-6 overall.
Habel also has Northeast-10 Conference ties; before becoming the head coach at Plymouth State, she was an assistant lacrosse coach at Stonehill in 2003-04.
A 2003 Cum Laude graduate of Bridgewater State with a degree in Communications, Habel received her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Plymouth State University in 2009. A decorated student-athlete, Habel was voted into the BSU Athletics Hall of Fame in the fall of 2011. She was a four-year member of the women’s lacrosse team and a three-year letterwinner on the women’s basketball team. She was the NEWLA Offensive Player of the Year in 2002 and 2003, captained the team for three years, and was an All-NEWLA selection in all four seasons.
Habel originally hails from Hingham, Massachusetts.