Gators announce new Lacrosse coach

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Amanda O’Leary, an experienced coach who also played the sport of lacrosse at its highest levels, will lead the University of Florida’s newest sport, UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley announced Friday.

“We believe Gator lacrosse has hit a home run with Amanda O’Leary,” said Foley. “She knows what it takes to compete at the highest level and she has also enjoyed success as Yale’s head coach. She shares our vision for a successful program and I’m confident she will be conveying that message to the lacrosse community. Gator lacrosse is in great hands with Amanda O’Leary.”

The timing of O’Leary’s appointment as the head coach of Florida’s inaugural lacrosse team allows her the opportunity to recruit and organize the program before the Gators begin competition in the 2009-10 athletic season. Lacrosse was revealed as Florida’s 21st varsity sport on June 14, 2006. It is the third women’s sport added at UF since 1995

(soccer/1995; softball/1997).

“I’d like to thank Yale for a wonderful 14 years. I certainly enjoyed working with the people and the players at Yale,” O’Leary said. “It is an honor to be selected as the coach of the University of Florida’s women’s lacrosse program. Jeremy Foley has afforded me this incredible opportunity and I am excited to represent the Gators. The University of Florida is well known for its academic programs as well as its successful athletic teams. The athletic department is known for providing the best facilities, medical staff, strength training, academic and administrative support, which are all crucial for success in the classroom as well as on the playing field. I will endeavor to continue the Gators’ winning tradition.”

O’Leary, 40, comes to UF from Yale, where she led the Bulldogs for the last 14 seasons. Her career record of 162-65 (.714) ranks her No. 5 among active Division I coaches for career winning percentage. She is also No. 7 among the active coaches’ with her 162 wins. Yale set the school record for season wins with 14 in O’Leary’s second year

(1995) and has twice equaled that mark (1999 and 2003). She took Yale to two of its three NCAA Championship appearances, as the Bulldogs reached the 2003 quarterfinal round and the 2007 opening round.

Yale finished among the Ivy League’s top three in 11 of her 14 years, which includes a share of the 2003 Ivy League title with Princeton and Dartmouth, as each posted identical 6-1 records in conference play. After leading Yale to a share of the Ivy League title and advancing to NCAA Championship play, O’Leary was named the 2003 Northeast Regional Coach of the Year. She also was recognized as the USWLA Regional Coach of the Year in 1996. Bulldog players have earned a total of 19 All-America honors under O’Leary.

During her playing career, O’Leary (maiden name: Moore) was a four-year starter for Temple’s lacrosse and field hockey teams. A two-time All-American in both sports, O’Leary led the Owl’s lacrosse team to a 19-0 record and the national championship in 1988. O’Leary was the Midfielder of the Year selection for the NCAA All-Tournament teams in 1987 and 1988 as well as the NCAA Most Valuable Player in 1988. Lacrosse Magazine also selected her as its 1988 Player of the Year.

While suiting up with Temple’s field hockey team, O’Leary garnered 1986 and 1987 All-America honors, helping the Owls reach the NCAA semifinals in 1984.

In 2005, O’Leary was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. She also became a member of the Temple Owls’ Hall of Fame in the fall of 2004. O’Leary was named to the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse 25th Anniversary Team in the fall of 2006.

She was the youngest player and starter on the 1989 U.S. World Cup team that claimed the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Association (IFWLA) gold medal in Perth, Australia. O’Leary was the second-leading scorer on the 1993 U.S. World Cup team which repeated as the IFWLA World Cup champions in Edinburgh, Scotland. In the 1993 World Cup, O’Leary scored 17 points, including the game-winner versus Australia in the semifinal game.

Prior to taking the Yale head coaching position, O’Leary was an assistant at Maryland for the 1992 and 1993 seasons. The Terrapins claimed the 1992 NCAA title and reached the 1993 semifinal. It was her second stint with the Terrapins, as she started her coaching career with Maryland as a graduate assistant coach in 1989 before serving as an assistant at Delaware for the 1990 campaign.

O’Leary served as the chair of the U.S. Team selection and on the former U.S. Women’s Lacrosse Association (USWLA) Board of Directors. She was an assistant coach with the U.S. Women’s Developmental Team from 2002-05. O’Leary has been a member of the Connecticut Lacrosse Foundation Executive Committee since 1993.

She and her husband, Kevin O’Leary, have a daughter, Madison, and a son, Ryan. She graduated cum laude from Temple in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and kinesiology.

Courtesy UF Sports Info