Associate coach Lisa Cellucci named interim head coach of Iowa field hockey
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa alumnus and longtime associate head coach for field hockey Lisa Cellucci has agreed to serve as interim head coach of the UI program, director of athletics Gary Barta announced Wednesday.
Barta also announced that current assistant coach Michael Boal has agreed to remain on staff and assist Cellucci.
“Lisa Cellucci is fully prepared to lead our field hockey program. She is well-respected in the field hockey community, by our current student-athletes in our field hockey program and by our former student-athletes. As a graduate of the UI and a three-time All-American at the UI, she is well aware of what is required to achieve at a high level at the UI, in the Big Ten Conference and nationally,” Barta said.
“I have complete confidence in Lisa’s ability to lead the program. She shares my goals of successfully guiding the program through this difficult transition while providing our current student-athletes the absolute very best opportunity for success, competitively and academically, this year.”
“The last few days have been very emotional for me,” Cellucci said. “Tracey [Griesbaum] has been my coach, my mentor and best friend. I love the field hockey program at the University of Iowa. I am a product of this program, this university and the Iowa City community.
“The tradition of excellence in play and care for our current and former student-athletes that has defined this program will continue to be my priority in the year ahead. The program that our student-athletes committed to is the program that will continue as long as I am privileged to be a coach at the University of Iowa.”
During her playing days, Cellucci made an immediate impact for the Hawkeyes. As a freshman, she earned first-team All-Big Ten, first-team regional All-American and third-team NFHCA All-American honors as she helped Iowa to a 16-4 record. Her sophomore campaign was even more impressive, as she led the Hawkeyes to an 18-3 mark. Cellucci was named first-team All-Big Ten, regional All-American and second-team NFHCA All-American.
During her senior campaign, Cellucci became Iowa's all-time saves leader by stopping her 494th shot in a 5-3 win against Ball State. She ended her career with 592 saves.
A member of the U.S. National Team from 1999-2000, Cellucci has extensive experience with the U.S. program. She played on the 1998 U.S. Under-23 National Team and on the U.S. Under-18 National Team in '94. Cellucci also participated in three U.S. Olympic Festivals (1993, '94 and '95) and won a gold medal at the 1993 Festival and a bronze medal at the 1995 Festival.
She also has extensive coaching experience at the national level, coaching in the USA High Performance program for the past 14 years. Cellucci served as a coach on the Midwest High Performance squad from 2005-13. She has also coached and selected at Junior National Camp for the past several years and is a Level II accredited coach.
Before returning to Iowa as a coach, Cellucci was an assistant coach at James Madison, where she helped the Dukes to a 15-7 record and a spot in the NCAA tournament in 1999.
Cellucci, who serves on the Board of Directors for the National Iowa Varsity Club, graduated from the Iowa in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in communication studies.
Boal joined the UI field hockey staff in February. He most recently worked at James Madison, where he joined the staff as associate head coach in July 2013. He was named interim head coach in October 2013, and served in that role for the remainder of the season, leading the Dukes to a 4-2 finish and a tie for third in the Colonial Athletic Association. Boal also served as an assistant coach for the Dukes during the 2010 season, coaching goalkeepers and playing a key role in recruiting efforts.
In between his two stops at James Madison, Boal spent two seasons as the associate head coach at Virginia, helping lead the Cavaliers to the 2012 NCAA tournament.
A Sunderland, England, native, Boal served as the assistant director of hockey at Durham University in the United Kingdom prior to coaching at the NCAA Division I level. He was responsible for the coaching and development of both men's and women's performance groups, recruiting across Europe, match preparation, video analysis and conducting coaching and evaluation sessions for all 16 intramural college teams.
At Durham University, Boal assisted Gavin Featherstone, a renowned double Olympic and World Cup head coach for the USA and South Africa field hockey teams. They led the men's and women's teams at Durham to top-10 rankings amongst United Kingdom universities, and won National North Conference championships and Northern Division One championships in 2010.
Before joining the staff at Durham, Boal coached at the Olton & West Warwick's Hockey Club for four years. He was involved in all aspects of the management of the women's first and second teams, including daily planning and conducting of practice and physical training. He coached the women's first team in the prominent English National Premier League at the age of 20, making Boal the youngest to coach a women's team in the League.
While at Olton & West Warwick's, Boal also coached players with national and international representative honors, including two 2008 Olympians for Great Britain. He developed three representatives for the Junior World Cup and two Under-18 Internationals.
Boal graduated with honors from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom in June 2009. He earned his bachelor's degree in sports management and was an ambassador for the university. Boal made four British University Finals appearances as a player and coach and was part of the 2006-07 National League winning side.