NYIT Athletics officially welcomed Kerri Handras as the program's first women's lacrosse head coach on June 3, 2016.
Led by Handras, the Bears went 15-4 and earned an NCAA Tournament invitation in 2017. During its inaugural season, NYIT also posted an 11-game winning streak, peaked at No. 11 in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association poll and came within a goal of the East Coast Conference's regular-season title.
The Bears also garnered significant media attention, with Handras and her squad featured in The New York Times and Newsday as well as on ABC, CBS and News 12 Long Island.
Handras joined the Bears after a highly successful tenure in the ECC with Dowling College, which ceased operations days before NYIT launched its program.
She spent nine years as head coach of the women's lacrosse program and 11 years at the helm of the nationally competitive women's soccer team at Dowling.
During her tenure with the Golden Lions, she produced eight IWLCA All-Americans, 23 IWLCA All-Region players, seven ECC Players of the Year and 59 all-ECC selections.
Handras was hired to start and build competitive programs in both sports at Dowling, and found success in the form of two ECC titles for lacrosse and two for soccer. She was named coach of the year three times.
In 2011, she guided Dowling women's lacrosse to a 15-2 overall mark and was ranked a program-record fifth in the nation. That same season, the Golden Lions captured their first-ever ECC championship and received their first berth into the NCAA Division II women's lacrosse tournament.
Handras posted an overall record of 115-39 at Dowling, including a 17-4 mark in 2016, which featured the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.
Handras' Dowling teams also became role models in the community and excelled in the classroom. Her student-athletes were active in community initiatives including Keep Islip Clean, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Out of the Darkness, Lax-4-Life, Long Island Blood Drive, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Susan B. Komen Foundation. The lacrosse program at Dowling achieved a combined team GPA of 3.38 in the fall of 2015 and never dropped below a 3.0 cumulative team average.
Prior to her coaching career, Handras was a four-year starter on the Stony Brook women's soccer team and spent one season playing lacrosse. She received her undergraduate degree in 2002 and completed her master of arts with a concentration in liberal studies in 2004.