UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - Ryan Elliott has been promoted to Associate Head Coach and Jennifer Byers has been added as an Assistant Coach, Richmond Head Coach Gina Lucido announced.
Elliott, a native of Bangor, Northern Ireland, is entering his fifth season on Lucido's staff at Richmond, having helped guide the Spiders to two Atlantic 10 Regular Season Championship, two A-10 Tournament titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances.
"Naming Ryan Elliott as Associate Head Coach comes at a significant time in our program history," Lucido said. "The Richmond tradition has been one of success with new national benchmarks awaiting. Ryan has walked beside me with utmost loyalty in building a Richmond culture of excellence and great character. He has pushed the team to further heights as he excels in tactics while equally promoting creative play. It has been a privilege to work so collaboratively with Ryan over the past several years and experience the fruit of our labor together. "
Elliott and the Spiders are coming off winning the 2011 Atlantic 10 Championship and reaching the NCAA Tournament after accomplishing the same feats in 2009. Richmond finished the 2009 season ranked No. 19 in the nation and knocked off No. 11 ranked California in the 2011 NCAA Play-In game to earn its seventh NCAA Tournament bid in the last 11 years.
Elliott was instrumental in Richmond's attack, which scored the fourth-most goals in school history (65) and tied the school record for goals in a game (12) in 2009. He mentored 2009 Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year Sarah Blythe-Wood, who was named NFHCA Third-Team All-American after finishing 19th in the nation in goals per game (0.96) and 18th in points per game (2.35).
The Spiders have reached the Atlantic 10 title game in three of Elliott's four years on the sidelines and have compiled a 25-7 record against Atlantic 10 teams, including a 20-5 mark in conference regular-season play.
Elliott has also been instrumental in Richmond's recruiting efforts, including the international signings of Amy Cooke and Kerri McDonald from Northern Ireland and 2011 Atlantic 10 Rookie of Year Rebecca Barry from Ireland.
"Ryan truly is an outstanding ambassador of Richmond excellence and a man of integrity," Lucido said. "His investment in our program expansion, international recruiting, and player development is invaluable. I am so blessed for every day I share with him in this journey."
Byers, who played collegiate field hockey at Drexel, was the head coach at Merion Mercy Academy in Merion Station, Pa. for eight years, leading the team to three PIAA AA-State Tournaments (2007, 2008, 2010) and earning Philadelphia Inquirer Coach of the Year honors in 2008. She was a two-time Main Line Times Coach of the Year (2002 and 2008) and was a National High School Coach of the Year nominee by Top of the Circle and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
"Richmond is so fortunate to have someone with such a rich coaching background complete our staff," Lucido said. "Jen has proven her success in all phases of player development at club, high school, and the US Futures program. I know Jen will immediately impact our program through her contagious passion and gifted teaching ability."
Byers was the under-14 director of instruction and development and under-14, 16 and 19 club coach for the Mystx Field Hockey Club in Feasterville, Pa. She was also a coach with the U.S. Field Hockey Association Futures Program, earning Level II Coaching Accreditation in 2008. She was the Futures Program Site Director for the Greater Pennsylvania region from 2005-09 and was the coach of Team New Jersey in 2010.
Byers, who is married to Longwood head coach Iain Byers, moved to Richmond last year and helped out as a coach at St. Catherine's School in the 2011 season.
The Spiders opened preseason practice Friday for their Aug. 24th season opener at American.