June 16, 2010

Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics

The Bowdoin College Athletic Department has announced the hiring of Marissa O'Neil '05 as the new head coach of the Polar Bear women's ice hockey program. O'Neil, who helped the team to a pair of NESCAC Championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances as a player, returns to Bowdoin after a one-year stint as head coach at Williams College.

O'Neil replaces Stacy Wilson, who stepped down in May after three years as head coach.

"We are excited to have Marissa returning to Bowdoin," said Athletic Director Jeff Ward. "She left as one of the best athletes in Bowdoin history and we've watched her coaching career blossom with pride.  After she interviewed, it was clear that she has become an exceptional coach.  
She was the unanimous choice of the committee to lead our Women's Hockey program."

A 2005 graduate of Bowdoin, O’Neil has spent the last three years in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, serving as an assistant ice hockey and field hockey coach at Amherst in 2008 and '09 and as head women's ice hockey coach at Williams in 2010. During her time with the Lord Jeffs, the team finished 44-9-4, won one NESCAC title (2008) and one NCAA Championship (2009).

She enjoyed a fantastic first season at the helm of the Ephs, leading the squad to a 12-11-2 record and fourth-place finish in the conference, up from 8-16-1 the year prior to her arrival.

"It was an extremely difficult decision to leave Williams but once I stepped foot back in Brunswick everything felt right," commented O'Neil.
"I feel privileged to now work alongside so many of the coaches and administrators who were mentors for me as an undergraduate and I will only continue to benefit from their wisdom.  I feel honored to be coaching the program that shaped me personally and professionally and cannot wait to provide that experience for the current student-athletes."

O’Neil was a two-sport standout at Bowdoin. In 2005, she received the Lucy L. Shulman Award, given to Bowdoin’s most outstanding female athlete. A three-time All-NESCAC honoree in ice hockey, she was named to the 2003 NCAA Division III All-Tournament team. In field hockey, she was the NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2001, the NESCAC Player of the Year in 2003, a three-time First Team All-NESCAC selection and a First Team All-American.

"She is exactly what we seek in a coach -- bright, engaging, and hard working," commented Ward. "Her passion for hockey is only exceeded by her desire to help her students grow and develop as people."

Following her graduation from Bowdoin, O’Neil spent one year as an assistant ice and field hockey coach at Saint Anselm’s College. Her following year was spent as an assistant athletic director at Middlesex School. O'Neil graduated from Bowdoin with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and owns a master's degree in sports management from UMass-Amherst.

"The women’s hockey team is coming off a strong regular season and a great run in the NESCAC playoffs," according to O'Neil. "I hope to pick up where Coach Wilson left off, keep the ball rolling and put Bowdoin back on top."