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Assistant coach Haley Warden leads women's lacrosse with experience and passion

After joining head coach Taryn VanThof’s staff, ASU women’s lacrosse assistant coach Haley Warden plans to overhaul the Sun Devils’ offense this season


Lacrosse assistant coach Haley Warden during practice. 

After being named the ASU women’s lacrosse head coach in July 2022, Taryn VanThof overhauled her coaching staff and brought in Haley Warden as an assistant coach.

Warden is a talented collegiate lacrosse player who is well-versed in offensive schemes and is expected to help lead the Sun Devils to new heights this season.

A seasoned competitor, Warden played four seasons at James Madison University as a midfielder and earned numerous Colonial Athletic Association titles. Warden earned a position on the CAA All-Rookie Team as a freshman and was the only freshman to play in all 20 games. In her senior season, Warden served as JMU’s team captain and helped the Dukes win the 2018 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship.

After a storied collegiate career, Warden was a part-time coach for several amateur and youth teams. Not long after, JMU head coach Shelley Klaes asked Warden to return to the program as an assistant coach in 2019. 

“My passion for the game grew even more as I started coaching. I love the sport,” Warden said. “I love being around it. I love the joy it brought me and the friendships that brought me.”

Warden served as the Dukes’ offensive coordinator and helped manage draw controls. During her three-year stint at JMU, the Dukes amassed a 31-11 record and appeared in back-to-back NCAA tournaments in 2021 and 2022. Warden’s offense compiled a .490 shot percentage in 2022 while outperforming opponents in draw control each season.  

While coaching, Warden hit the field again and played two seasons for the Upstate Pride in the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League. In the 2019 season, she was named the WPLL Player of the Week after recording 11 draws, a WPLL single-game record.

Last summer, Warden joined Team USA’s training team before the 2022 Women’s Lacrosse World Championships and won a gold medal as an alternate player. Waden said she was starstruck playing alongside the nation’s best players, adding that the experience helped her grow as a coach and a player. 

“I think that the different terminology, the different philosophies, how people play together and just getting to know different people was huge for me,” Warden said. “They are the best of the best. That's something that I truly value being around, and I am just very grateful that I got to be part of it.”

That same month after Team USA’s victory in July, VanThof added Warden to her coaching staff shortly after becoming head coach. VanThof said she met Warden while playing against her in the WPLL and was impressed by her outlook on the game. When it came time to build her staff, VanThof said it was easy to ask Warden to join her staff.

 READ MORE: ASU names Taryn VanThof as new lacrosse coach

“We really clicked in those moments, and when I had the opportunity to have a conversation with her, it was a really easy one,” VanThof said. “It made me really excited to get her here on campus.”

In her short time in Tempe, Warden has focused on learning her players’ tendencies and weaknesses to craft an effective offense. She hopes to run a motion offense and have at least seven players on the field who can score. 

Warden aims to keep opponents guessing with many moving parts and to not have players "stuck" in the field. She said she doesn’t want to rely on only one player for production and will play to each player’s strengths.

With big goals for ASU’s offense, Warden has gained the trust of the team’s players by leading with experience and a caring personality. Senior attacker Anna Winkeler said Warden has gotten to know the team and encourages her players to ask for help throughout practice. 

“Something I really like about her mindset is she likes to ask questions,” Winkeler said. “She (Warden) said that asking questions is the only way you’re going to learn about other people, lacrosse and certain situations in life.”

In ASU’s season opener, Warden’s leadership paid off as the Sun Devils beat St. Bonaventure University 16-13 on Feb. 18. Meeting her expectations, eight players scored goals on 25 shots total. Warden hopes the team will succeed in Pac-12 play and win the conference championship.

Last season, ASU recorded an 11-8 overall record while going 7-3 in conference play. After battling in the Pac-12 Women's Lacrosse Tournament, the Sun Devils fell to No. 17 Stanford 12-18. One month after ASU's tournament loss, former head coach Tim McCormack left the program in June to lead the Johns Hopkins University women's lacrosse program. 

Now, the Sun Devils are preparing for an East Coast tour including games against Penn State on Feb. 24, Towson University on Feb. 26, Jacksonville University on March 3, and University of Florida on March 5. 

“I'm excited that this group is just eager to get on the field,” Warden said. “They want to go on the field, get better, and prove people wrong.”

Edited by Walker Smith, Jasmine Kabiri and Grace Copperthite.

Reach the reporter at and follow @jackcbarron on Twitter. 

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