Stanford Director of Athletics Bernard Muir announced the appointment of Danielle Spencer as head coach of Stanford women's lacrosse on Wednesday.
Spencer, who served as an assistant at Stanford in 2012, returns to The Farm after she turned around the Dartmouth program in three years and earned Ivy League Coach of the Year honors in each of her final two seasons. Spencer inherited a program coming off three consecutive losing campaigns, but the Big Green won 11 games in her second year and captured an Ivy League regular season title in her third season.
"We are thrilled to welcome Danielle to the Stanford family," Muir said. "Danielle is well-respected among her coaching peers and throughout the lacrosse community, and has an established history of bringing out the very best in all those associated with her program. She has an undeniable passion for the student-athlete experience in the classroom as well as on the field, and is a perfect fit to lead the Stanford women's lacrosse program."
In 2019, Spencer guided Dartmouth to its first Ivy title since 2011, tying Princeton for the top spot in the conference standings. The Big Green earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament, a first for the program since 2013.
"I am very excited for this next step in my coaching journey," said Spencer, who becomes the seventh head coach in Stanford women's lacrosse history. "I would like to thank Bernard Muir and Jamie Breslin for believing me, and all of my professional mentors for encouraging me to be brave and take this opportunity."
Dartmouth established several program and Ivy League records last season. The 272 goals and 401 total points both set new program standards, while the 312 draw controls set a new Ivy standard and eclipsed the old mark by more than 50.
"I would like to thank everyone at Dartmouth for three great years," Spencer said. "I am going to miss my Big Green family. I really can't say enough great things about the women I coached and recruited to Dartmouth, and whoever succeeds me in that position is very lucky. With that said, I believe Stanford has everything that I am looking for in my personal and professional career. Stanford is the Home of Champions and I am humbled to join the department."
Prior to Dartmouth, Spencer spent four seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Northwestern, and one year on the sidelines at Stanford.
Spencer's second season with the Big Green was a resurgence. Dartmouth returned to the postseason for the first time since 2013 and finished the year 11-5.
For her part in guiding the team back to the Ivy League Tournament and maintaining a spot in the nation's top-20 most of the season, Spencer was named the Ivy League Co-Head Coach of the Year.
In three years under her guidance in Hanover, six Dartmouth players received First Team All-Ivy honors as the Big Green finished 29-19 (.604) overall and 13-8 (.619) in conference play.
"I believe I can help the women of Stanford Lacrosse unlock their potential and I am ready to be their leader. I can't wait to start recruiting the best and brightest lacrosse players in the country to Stanford."
During her coaching stint in Evanston, Spencer helped Northwestern to four NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of berths in the Final Four (2013, 2014). The Wildcats also won a conference title in 2013 and finished in the top 10 of the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) poll in all four seasons.
As the recruiting coordinator, Spencer was responsible for continuing to bring top players into the program, including the group in 2014 that was ranked as the best recruiting class in the nation.
A four-year standout at Northwestern from 2006-10, Spencer was a part of three national championship teams (2007, 2008, 2009) and one national runner-up (2010) during her outstanding playing career.
As a player, Spencer was a two-time All-American, nabbing first-team honors as a senior in 2010, a year after claiming second-team recognition. As a senior, Spencer also earned All-America honors from WomensLax.com and WomensLacrosse.com. A three-time all-conference player, she earned first-team recognition as both a junior and senior, while being honored on the second team during her sophomore campaign.
Spencer finished her four seasons with the Wildcats having played in 83 games, making 65 starts. Her career totals ranked among the best in Northwestern's storied history as she finished with 193 goals (7th), 238 points (8th) and 203 draw controls (3rd). The 110 draw controls as a senior was the third-most by a collegiate player in NCAA history at the time.
In October 2018, the Brighton, New York, native was named a member of the US Lacrosse Greater Rochester Hall of Fame Induction Class of 2018.
Most recently, Spencer played with the Boston Storm of the United Women's Lacrosse League (UWLX) during the first season for both the team and league. Spencer and her teammates finished as the league runner-up, falling in the championship game. In 2018, she played for Upstate Pride of the Women's Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL). She was tied for third in the league, averaging 4.0 goals per game, while also leading the league with 8.0 draw controls per contest.
Spencer graduated from Northwestern in 2010 with a degree in social policy.
Spencer will take over a Stanford program that finished 13-5 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. The Cardinal returns its top four scorers, as well as nine of 11 starters and its starting goalkeeper.