A Johnson State College alum, Andrew Lafrenz graduated in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in English. As a student, he was editor-in-chief of Basement Medicine, JSC’s student newspaper, and received the English Department’s award for excellence as a senior. He also played soccer as a Badger and was part of a team that advanced to two consecutive Mayflower Conference (NAIA) championship games.
After graduation, Lafrenz turned an internship at the Burlington Free Press into a job there as a general assignment reporter and editorial assistant. His byline appeared in Vermont’s largest daily newspaper on a regular basis for the next two years. His journalistic talents next led him to a job as communications director for Sugarbush Ski Resort in Warren, Vermont, where among other duties he served as on-air host of the television show Sugarbush Today. He also provided on-air interviews for local media as a resort spokesperson and maintained all of the resort’s internal and external communications initiatives.
Lafrenz left Sugarbush to pursue his lifelong love of music. As co-founder and lead singer of the group Named by Strangers, Lafrenz and fellow Badger alum Chad Dahlstrom teamed up to create original music for five-year run that included a year-long stint as the house band at the legendary Burlington music venue Nectar’s. The band’s debut release, “Gone,” earned the group a place in the March/April 2004 issue of Relix Magazine as a band “on the verge,” as well one of the “Top Ten Albums of 2004” designated by the Burlington publication Seven Days.
Throughout his professional career, Lafrenz always found time to stay connected to the game of soccer. He coached Harwood Union High School’s junior varsity boys team as well as the women’s club team at the University of Vermont. It was in these part-time roles that Lafrenz found his true calling, leading him to earn a master’s degree in education, in physical education and coaching, from Boston University.
While at BU, Lafrenz was named the head coach of the men’s soccer team and director of soccer operations at Newbury College in Brookline, Mass. He led the Nighthawks to two NECC conference championship games and to a 23-19-1 overall record in the NECC. He was named NECC Coach of the Year in 2013 and Coach of the Year at Newbury College in both 2013 and 2016. Also during that time, Lafrenz worked as the director of coaching and lead administrator of the North Shore Soccer Arena in nearby Topsfield, where he was responsible for all arena operations, including registration, league management and player development.
In addition to his other duties at Newbury, Lafrenz developed courses in business and sport management there — and that experience, combined with his coaching expertise and academic credentials, led him in the summer of 2016 back home to Johnson State, where he was named head women’s soccer coach and coordinator of the Sport Management concentration in the B.A. in Business major.
When he is not in the classroom or out on the soccer field, Lafrenz enjoys the many spoils of life in Vermont with his wife, Katina Idol (JSC 2003), and their 3-year-old son, Xavier William.