BUIES CREEK, N.C. — Oswego native Mikayla Place is getting closer to her dream of leading a women’s lacrosse program at the NCAA Division I level.
A 2012 graduate of Oswego High School, Place recently joined the Campbell University women’s lacrosse staff as an assistant coach.
The Fighting Camels, located in Buies Creek, North Carolina, compete in the Big South — a Division I conference.
“It’s my dream to coach at the Division I level,” Place said. “I was able to get this opportunity (with Campbell) through some people I knew. They were looking for an assistant, and they mentioned my name, so things just came together after that.”
Campbell head coach Dawn Easley said, “I’m thrilled to add Mikayla to our staff. Her experience as a head coach will bring great support to our program. She did an excellent job building Bridgeport into a competitive program and I expect she will help Campbell lacrosse continue to grow and thrive moving forward.”
Before taking the position with Campbell, Place was the head coach for the University of Bridgeport women’s lacrosse program. The Purple Knights compete in the Division II East Coast Conference. Place led the Knights to the ECC Tournament during the 2019 season for the first time in the program’s history.
Prior to her coaching career, Place was a four-year standout with the St. Bonaventure University women’s lacrosse team. She led the Bonnies in points for three-straight seasons and served as team captain her junior and senior years. She finished her career ranked third on the school’s career assist list, eighth in career points and seventh in single-season assists.
Place graduated from St. Bonaventure in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She completed her master’s degree in business administration at Bridgeport in 2018.
After playing at the D-I level and coaching in D-II, Place is ready to take on the D-I ranks as a coach.
“It’s amazing. It’s a little different than Division II, but the student-athletes put in the time and effort, and the coaches really care,” she said.
“It’s awesome to get at that next level of play and support.”
Place excelled as a player in Division I. She now hopes to do the same as a coach.
“Our game has changed a lot since I’ve played,” Place said. “Having that head-coaching experience has helped me. Going into this assistant role, it’s a step up to being proactive, getting things and organization for our team.”
Place is striving to become a head coach in Division I. For now, she wants to enjoy the challenge of being a coach in general at the highest level of college athletics.
“It’s my ultimate goal, but of course I want to enjoy my time here at Campbell. I want to try and help this program as much as possible,” Place said.
“If an opportunity presents itself, it’s something I definitely want to do.”
Place has bounced from New York and Connecticut to North Carolina. The Tar Heel State has a different feel, but it has quickly become her second home.
“It’s a little hard transitioning down (to another state),” Place said. “Everybody here is very welcoming so that makes it another home away from home.”