Profile: University of Denver Women’s Lacrosse Coach Liza Kelly

Liza Kelly is in her third season as head coach of the University of Denver.

Kelly led the Pioneers to a record of 13-6 overall and 5-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, concluding the 2008 season ranked No. 19 in the nation. In 2007, Kelly steered DU to its best season with a 16-3 mark and a 5-0 sweep of the MPSF schedule, ending the season ranked No. 15. In her first two years at DU, Kristie Leggio (2007) and Kelly O’Connell (2008) were named MSPF Player of the Year and All-American Second Team honorees.

LaxBuzz asked Liza two questions about the 2008-2009 Denver Women’s Lacrosse program:


LAXBUZZ: What is your outlook for 2008-2009 season?

LIZA KELLY: “I am extremely excited about the 09 season. We return a core of our starters and our freshmen class is really pushing the upperclassmen to improve on a daily bases. Our schedule provides us with a number of challenges in and out of conference and our summer trip to Australia has truly improved our overall team chemistry.”

 LAXBUZZ: What do you look for in recruits?

LIZA KELLY: “When recruiting I really try to fill what we lose by graduation. I look for athletic players that have the potential to improve and the passion for the sport to do so. I want student-athletes that want to be challenged every day and that aren’t afraid “to give up the good to go for the great”.


In addition to her duties with Denver’s team, Kelly serves on the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse committee.

Prior to DU, Kelly served five years as the head coach at Boston University. The Baltimore native posted an impressive 64-33 (.660) mark as head coach at BU, including consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and America East regular season and playoff championships in 2005 and 2006. The Terriers finished in the top-10 in the national rankings the last two seasons under Kelly, who earned two America East Coach of the Year honors during her five-year tenure at BU.

Kelly, a collegiate All-American at the University of Delaware and former member of the U.S. National team, led the 2006 BU squad to its second consecutive NCAA Tournament after posting a 15-5 record en route to capturing the America East regular season and playoff championships. The 2005 squad, which strung together 14 consecutive wins before falling to Virginia in the NCAA quarterfinals, posted an 18-2 record and finished the regular season ranked third in the nation, the highest ranking ever for a women’s team at BU. Seniors Anne Sheridan and Alyssa Trudel, who each earned America East Player of the Year honors during their stellar careers, became the first two players in program history to earn first-team All-America honors. Kelly earned IWLCA North Region and America East Coach of the Year honors after the campaign. Overall, Kelly led BU to five consecutive America East regular-season championships and three NCAA tournament appearances as head coach.

In 2004, Kelly led the Terriers to their sixth consecutive appearance in the America East Championship game while the team was ranked as high as No. 10 in the nation. Despite facing six top-20 teams, the Terriers posted a 9-10 overall record and a 5-1 mark in America East play. In just her second season at the helm in 2003, Kelly guided the Terriers to the America East title and their second trip to the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship. The Terriers compiled a 14-5 record, including a perfect 5-0 record in league play, earning Kelly her first America East Coach of the Year honor and a nomination for National Coach of the Year. In her first season in 2002, the Terriers won the America East Championship and recorded an 8-11 overall mark.

During Kelly’s tenure, 24 players were named to the America East Honor Roll, while five received selection to the Commissioner’s High Honor Roll. In addition, six Terriers received IWLCA Academic Honor Roll accolades. During her five seasons at BU, 15 different Terriers earned a combined 26 selections to the all-conference first team, while 11 players received a combined 19 regional All-America accolades, including the first two first-team All-Americans in program history.

Before taking over the reins at BU, Kelly served under Linda Ohrin as an assistant coach at Towson University for three years. Kelly coached the Tigers’ defense and assisted in scouting and recruiting.

Kelly has held a number of coaching positions. In addition to traveling throughout the U. S. teaching lacrosse, she has been an ambassador for the game of lacrosse all over the world. In 1995, she traveled to Tokyo, Japan, to teach the sport to Japanese University students

One response to “Profile: University of Denver Women’s Lacrosse Coach Liza Kelly

  1. Pingback: Profile: University of Denver Women’s Lacrosse Coach Liza Kelly at Colorado Lacrosse

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