DENVER – University of Denver women’s lacrosse head coach Liza Kelly has signed a contract extension to continue to lead the Pioneers through the 2028 season, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Ritchie Center Operations Josh Berlo announced on Wednesday.
“Over the last decade and a half, Coach Kelly and her staff developed DU lacrosse into an elite level program,” Berlo said. “Liza has continued to recruit very talented players that fit her system and constructed one of the top defenses in the nation. This season, the program has reached elevated heights, and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead in its undoubtedly bright future as the program chases championships competitively, academically and socially.”
After starting 6-0 for the first time in program history a year ago, Kelly has led the Pioneers to a program-best 13-0 start to the 2023 season. Gearing up for another postseason next month, Kelly currently owns a 291-109 record overall, including a 227-76 mark with the Pios. Kelly has coached Denver’s first nine women’s lacrosse All-Americans, including current Pioneer Sam Thacker and two-time honorees Bea Behrins, Quintin Hoch-Bullen and Molly Little.
“I’ve loved every minute of coaching at Denver,” Kelly said. “I’m so proud of where we are as a team, and I give great credit to every player and assistant that has put on the Crimson and Gold in my time here. I’m very grateful for Chancellor Jeremy Haefner, Vice Chancellor for Athletics Josh Berlo and Deputy AD Lynn Coutts for realizing what we’ve built, and putting their faith in me to continue to lead this program and expand on our program’s tradition and legacy.”
A 1998 Delaware alum, Kelly coached five years at Boston University before being named the head coach at Denver ahead of the 2007 season. After a 64-33 record with the Terriers, Kelly led the Pioneers to a 16-3 record in her first season in charge, winning the MPSF Regular Season title—the first of five regular-season titles in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation before earning three more in the BIG EAST Conference. Kelly has guided the Pioneers to three conference tournament titles, one in the MPSF and the last two BIG EAST crowns.
The 17th-year Denver head coach has also led the school to six NCAA Tournament appearances, all in the last 10 years, including the program’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2019. Denver has reached at least the second round in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four seasons.
Kelly has had success on both sides of the ball during her time on the Hilltop. Denver’s offense finished in the top 10 in the country in 2012 and 2013 and in the top-20 again in 2014. On the defensive side of the ball, Denver has ranked in the top-20 nationally each of the last eight seasons, including being in the top five in four of those seasons.
In her career, Kelly has served on the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Selection Committee and has been an ambassador for the game all over the world, including a trip in 1995 to Tokyo to teach the sport to Japanese University students.
As a player, Kelly was a standout midfielder at the University of Delaware from 1995-1998, earning All-America honors in 1996, 1997 and 1998 before playing for the United States National team from 1997-2001. Kelly was inducted into the University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Baltimore Chapter of the U.S Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2009.
UP NEXT: The Pioneers dip back out of BIG EAST play for the final time in the regular season on Friday when Denver welcomes Stanford to Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. Friday night under the lights is set to begin at 7 p.m. MT.
TICKETS: Single-game tickets are on sale now by clicking here. Call the Denver Ticket Office at 303-871-4625 for group discounts of 10 or more people.
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