BOULDER — Ann Elliott, who has been a part of five NCAA championships as a player and assistant coach at Northwestern University, has been named the first head coach of the University of Colorado’s fledgling women’s lacrosse program, athletic director Mike Bohn announced Monday.
Elliott, 27, will take the reins of what will become the Buffaloes’ 17th intercollegiate sport after the conclusion of the season at Northwestern. She can recruit for the Buffaloes in the meantime. Colorado officially added lacrosse in early February and will begin play in the spring of 2014.
In her fourth year as an assistant, and her first as the associate head coach at Northwestern, she has played a significant role in the Wildcats’ current No. 1 national ranking and 9-0 record. That mark includes three wins to open the season over top 10 teams, all on the road. Northwestern was 73-4 with her as a coach, after recording a 77-5 mark when she was a player.
“Our athletic enterprise is enhanced dramatically with the addition of head coach Ann Elliott and the exciting sport of lacrosse,” Bohn said. “She embodies the leadership and passion of all the wonderful aspects of being a Buff. Her vision of the program is dynamic and ambitious while consistent with our guiding principles.”
A three-time national champion as a player at Northwestern, she was promoted to associate head coach prior to the start of the 2012 season after three years as an assistant to Kelly Amonte Hiller. As a player and aide under Hiller, who is considered to be one of the nation’s top coaches and recruiters, Northwestern has appeared in the NCAA title game for seven years running, winning six titles, including the three as a player and two as member of the staff.
Hiller is in her 12th season at Northwestern, and Elliott was the first to ever be promoted to the associate level. She was primarily responsible for coordinating the Northwestern defense, a unit that in 2011 limited opponents to fewer than 10 goals in five of six postseason games en route to the national title. That included holding top-seeded Maryland, the nation's fourth-ranked offense, to just seven goals in an 8-7 NU victory in the national title game. In 2009, Elliott’s first season on the staff, Northwestern allowed just 6.87 goals per game for the year, second best in the country, and caused 188 turnovers.
“I’m extremely excited and honored for the opportunity to become Colorado’s first head coach,” Elliott said. “I’d like to thank Mike, Ceal (Barry) and Julie (Manning) for giving me this opportunity and the staff at Northwestern, Kelly (Amonte Hiller), her husband Scott and athletic director Jim Phillips for allowing me to pursue this opportunity during the season. I can’t wait to get out here and get started, I can’t think of a better place to start a program than at CU.”
After graduating from Northwestern with a B.S. degree in Radio, Television and Film in 2007, Elliott served as the head coach of the Wildcat Elite Club and the Wildcat Developmental Team for Amonte Sports. She also spent one season as an assistant coach for New Trier High School, helping the Trevians to the 2008 state championship.
She was also actively involved in Amonte Sports since her playing days at Northwestern, serving as a camp counselor as well as heading the development of New Wave lacrosse clinics for the organization and WomensLax.com, coordinating youth and high school clinics across the country. She also utilized her major, doing extensive work in video production for Amonte.
As primarily a defender during her collegiate career, she played in 72 games, including starts in 63 of a possible 64 her sophomore through senior years. As a senior and team captain in 2007, she was An Inside Lacrosse third-team All-America selection, when she was a key member of a defensive unit that allowed a NCAA-low 6.1 goals per game, with opponents scoring in double figures only twice. She played an important role on Northwestern’s 2005, 2006 and 2007 national championship teams, scoring 14 goals, causing 44 turnovers and scooping up 101 ground balls. She earned four varsity letters and was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten team member.
She is the second Northwestern product who is a head coach in the Pac-12 Conference; her former teammate, Lindsey Munday, was named head coach last year at Southern California, which will begin play next spring. Munday was one year ahead of Elliott at Northwestern.
Bohn and associate athletic director Ceal Barry initially handled recruiting for the program, which has already received several commitments (though no one can sign a letter-of-intent until the November signing period. Elliott will now assume those duties.