NMU Names first women’s lacrosse head coach
By wluc producer
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With the inaugural season of Northern Michigan women’s lacrosse set for the spring of 2017, director of athletics Forrest Karr announced the hiring of Emilia Ward as the program’s head coach Wednesday afternoon.
“Emilia was our top candidate very early in the search process,” Karr said. “She is passionate about teaching, prioritizes student-athlete well-being, has strong ties to key recruiting areas and has demonstrated the ability to lead all aspects of a high-level program. I look forward to working with Emilia and helping her establish another consistently successful team.”
Ward, who is currently the head coach at Division II Pfeiffer (N.C.), has previously helped build three women’s lacrosse programs.
“I am honored and very excited to be able to start the program at Northern Michigan,” Ward said. “Thank you to Forrest, President Erickson, the NMU Board of Trustees and the rest of the university for this opportunity. I am looking forward to getting out on the recruiting trail right away to build the inaugural class.”
Ward most recently launched the program at Division III Kalamazoo (Mich.). In their first season, 2013-14, she led the Hornets to a 5-10 (2-6 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association) record and had one player earn first team all-MIAA recognition. Kalamazoo was also selected to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Academic Honor Roll after posting a 3.23 cumulative grade point average.
In 2014-15, the Hornets went 6-8 (4-4 MIAA) and had two players earn all-MIAA honors. They continued to set high marks in the classroom, making the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll for the second-straight season with a 3.49 GPA. Ten players also earned all-MIAA all-academic honors by recording GPAs of 3.5 or above.
From 2008 to 2011, Ward was John Sung’s assistant coach at Division III Adrian (Mich.), where she served as the recruiting coordinator and organized team fundraising ventures. During her tenure, the Bulldogs posted a 40-12 record, appeared in the 2011 NCAA tournament, had ten players earn all-region accolades and made the IWLCA Honor Roll each year.
In 2011, Ward followed Sung to Division I Winthrop (S.C.). As an assistant coach, she helped recruit 22 players and generate practice plans for the inaugural season. She then accepted her first head coaching position at Division II Alderson Broaddus (W. Va.). While there, Ward recruited the inaugural team and sat on the stadium architecture committee, setting up the Battlers to begin competition in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
Ward was a four-year letter winner at Division I Manhattan College (N.Y.), where she was named to the all-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference academic team each year from 2005 to 2008. In 2005, she helped the Jaspers capture a conference tournament title and a NCAA tournament berth.
Ward graduated from Manhattan College in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. She then earned her master’s degree in sports science with an emphasis on coaching from the United States Sports Academy in 2013.
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Ward, Emilia [MC2008]
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