Head coach Michele Madison, a member of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame and a former assistant US National Team and Olympic coach, is in her 17th season at the helm of the Cavalier field hockey program, leading UVA to 13 NCAA Tournament berths, including national semifinals appearances in 2009, 2010 and 2019, and winning the first ACC title in program history in 2016. In 2017 after leading her squad to the regular-season conference title, she was named the ACC Field Hockey Coach of the Year, becoming just the second Virginia head coach to win the honor.
Madison became just the ninth head coach in NCAA Division I history to hit the 400-win mark, hitting the milestone on September 20, 2019, with a 2-0 shutout victory at Syracuse. She has accumulated more wins than any other coach in Virginia program history.
During her tenure in Charlottesville, Madison has recruited and coached three four-time All-Americans, Paige Selenski, Elly Buckley and Tara Vittese, who was the first player in program history to be named to the first team all four years of her career. In all, 11 different Cavaliers have earned All-America honors while playing for Madison. The Cavaliers have been ranked in the top-25 of every NFHCA Coaches Poll since the 2012 preseason poll.
Under Madison’s guidance, Tara Vittese became the first Cavalier and third-ever ACC player to be named the Longstreth/NFHCA National Player of the Year. As the recipient of the honor in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Vittese is the only player to ever be deemed top player in the country by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association three times in her career. Vittese was also a two-time ACC Offensive Player of the Year, the only Cavalier to twice be named the top player in the conference.
Of the 12 players to score 100 or more goals in NCAA history, Madison recruited and/or coached three of them. In addition to Selenski, Madison also signed Kristy Gleason (1989-93) at Iowa. Gleason finished her career ranked third in the NCAA record book with 132 goals for the Hawkeyes. Madison also coached Jane Catanzaro at Temple, who was the NCAA career goal-scoring leader at the time of her graduation, scoring 177 in her four years with the Owls.
Two other of Madison’s All-Americans, Selenski and Michelle Vittese, helped the U.S. National Team to its first gold medal at the Pan American Games in October 2011. Vittese, the 2012 USA Field Hockey Player of the year, and Selenski also competed with the US squad at the 2012 London Olympics and have helped elevate the US squad to a world No. 5 ranking in the lead up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Vittese went on to compete in Rio with Selenski, hampered by injuries, named as an alternate to the squad.
Madison, a former member of the NCAA National Field Hockey Committee, has served as a collegiate head coach for 32 years. She is the only person to take three different Division I programs (Temple, Michigan State and Virginia) to the NCAA Tournament and her teams have consistently been ranked in the top-10 at various times of the past decade. In addition to her experience in the college ranks, Madison also is one of only two active Division I head coaches to be a part of two United States Olympic staffs, having worked as a manager with the 1988 Olympic Team in Seoul and served as the head goalkeeper coach with the 1996 squad in Atlanta.
The 2020 season was the most unique in the history of the sport. For the first time, the official season spanned the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cavaliers played their most challenging schedule ever, facing just one non-ACC team, James Madison, while playing 17 games against conference foes, including a combined seven contests against the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation. Despite the challenges, the Cavaliers made it through with a heralded defense that included a pair of repeat All-Americans in Amber Ezechiels and Rachel Robinson.
The Cavaliers rebounded from the COVID year by making a run to the ACC Championship final in 2021 and earned a place in the field of the NCAA Championship for the 13th time under Madison. The season was the final one for both Ezechiels and Robinson, both earning their third All-America honors, with Ezechiels climbing up to the first team. Robinson was voted as her peers as team captain for the fourth time, making her the only four-time captain in program history. On the opposite end of the experience scale, Madison opted to move a true-freshman, Tyler Kennedy, into the net as the starting goalie. Her faith in the first year paid off with the Cavaliers’ last season charge that was highlighted by Kennedy’s performance in a shootout against top-seeded Louisville in the semifinals of the ACC tournament.
Madison led the 2019 team back to the NCAA semifinals for the first time since 2010. The Cavaliers were a national seed, hosting first and second-round matches at Turf Field in Charlottesville, topping Maryland, 1-0, in overtime to punch their ticket to the Final Four. The squad was anchored by its defensive unit, including first-team All-American Rachel Robinson. Robinson, who was also voted the ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, capped her incredible year by being named to the roster of the U.S. Women’s National Team.
In 2018, Madison guided her team to the NCAA Championships, earning her 11th bid in her 13 seasons in Charlottesville. The year prior, the Cavaliers won the 2017 ACC regular-season title with a 5-1 mark in conference play. Virginia paced the nation for most of the season in every offensive category, finishing the year as the top-ranked offense in goals per game (4.40), ranked second in points (12.15) and penalty corners per game (9.40) and third in assists per game (3.35) as well as scoring margin (+2.75), leading the ACC in each of those categories. Virginia swept the major ACC honors with Madison winning coach of the year, Tara Vittese garnering her second-straight Player of the Year honor and Pien Dicke being named the Rookie of the Year. The Cavaliers were selected as one of four host sites for first and second-round NCAA Championship games but fell in double-overtime to Princeton in the first round.
Madison’s led the 2016 Cavaliers to capture the ACC title for the first time in program history. UVA tied for third in the conference standings but was the No. 6 seed in the tournament, becoming the lowest-seeded team to ever win the title. Her squad also set the tournament record for most goals scored in the championship. Tara Vitese repeated as the NFHCA National Player of the Year and was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year while also picking up her third-consecutive first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honors. Madison earned her second-straight VaSID State Coach of the Year honor, her sixth overall time earning the accolade.
NFHCA National Player of the Year Tara Vittese helped lead the 2015 Cavaliers to earn the No. 3 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. The team spent the entire season ranked in the top-10 and seven weeks ranked in the top-five. The ACC Tournament was held in Charlottesville, with the Cavaliers falling in overtime in the semifinals to the eventual national champion Syracuse. Vittese and Lucy Hyams earned NFHCA first-team All-American honors with Vittese being named the South Region Player of the Year and VaSID State Player of the Year in addition to her National Player of the Year honor.
In 2014, Madison led Virginia to its third-ever ACC regular-season title, with the Cavaliers tying North Carolina atop the conference standings, but earning the top seed in the conference tournament. Tara Vittese led the ACC in shots, shots per game, points, points per game, goals and assists through the end of the regular season, becoming the fifth-ever Cavalier to be named the ACC Freshman of the Year and the second-ever to be named a first-team All-American in her rookie season. Virginia’s 3-0 blanking of Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 9 was Madison’s 119th victory at the helm of the Cavaliers, putting her at the top of the career wins list in program history.
2013 should have been a “rebuilding” year for the Cavaliers with the team losing a pair of US National Team players/Olympians (Selenski and Vittese) to graduation. The preseason ACC poll had UVA picked to finish second-to-last in the conference. Instead, Virginia rose to as high as No. 4 in the NFHCA poll, finishing the regular season ranked No. 5 and earning the program’s 19th bid to the NCAA Tournament. ACC Freshman of the Year Lucy Hyams anchored the midfield, helping to lead Buckley and a pair of
freshmen strikers, Riley Tata and Caleigh Foust, to create a very potent attack. The defense also stepped up, registering six shutouts in the regular season. Buckley led the ACC in seven different categories including points, goals and defensive saves.
In 2012, Madison hit a pair of career benchmarks. She won the 300th game of her career with the Cavaliers’ 5-4 victory over No. 3 Old Dominion on Sept. 2, becoming just the 26th head coach in NCAA Division I history to hit the 300-win mark. Madison currently ranks ninth among active coaches in career wins. She also had her 100th win at Virginia with the Cavaliers’ 3-2 victory over Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, tying her for second place on the Cavalier career victories list.
Madison led the Cavaliers back to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 after missing out in 2011. Not only did Virginia earn a berth, but they also had the privilege of hosting the first and second-round games. After a victory over Iowa in the first round, UVA fell in the second round to eventual national champion Princeton.
2012 saw a rewriting of the record book as Selenski became both the career points leader for Virginia and the ACC. Selenski also scored the 100th goal of her career in the NCAA first-round tournament game against Iowa, becoming just the tenth player in NCAA history and the second in the ACC and at UVA to score 100 career goals. She became a four-time All-American and was just the ninth player in ACC history to earn All-Conference honors four times. Vittese and Elly Buckley earned their third All-American honors.
The Cavaliers advanced to the NCAA semifinals in 2010 after beating Michigan State (3-2 in overtime) and Princeton (4-2) to join Maryland, North Carolina and Ohio State in the national semifinals. Virginia finished the season ranked No. 3 by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
Virginia made its third trip to the NCAA semifinals in 2009 under Madison, defeating Richmond and Michigan State (in overtime) en route to a final four berth. The Cavaliers also advanced to the championship game of the ACC Tournament, playing for the conference title on their home field. The team set records for wins (20) and games played (24) in a season.
UVA’s Paige Selenski and Michelle Vittese were both named to the United States National Team in the summer of 2010 and earned their first international caps in matches with the English and Irish national teams that summer.
Selenski and Vittese were each named first-team All-Americans by the NFHCA in 2010 and teammate Elly Buckley was a third-team honoree, marking the second consecutive year three Cavaliers earned the distinction of All-American. Additionally, Virginia placed seven student-athletes on the all-region team, including a school record of four first-team members (Buckley, Selenski, Vittese and Rachel Jennings). Buckley was also selected to the national all-rookie team, named by womensfieldhockey.com, becoming the sixth Virginia player named to the squad under Madison.
In 2009, three Cavaliers were named NFHCA All-Americans, including Selenski (first team), Inga Stockel (second team) and Vittese (third team) Selenski, a two-time Honda Award semifinalist, joined Stockel and Vittese on the All-ACC team. For the second straight year, Virginia put five members on the all-region squad and Charlotte van den Broek was honored as part of the national all-rookie team.
During the 2008 campaign, Virginia returned to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament and freshman Paige Selenski made program history, becoming the first Cavalier to be named the National Rookie of the Year. UVA finished the season with a No. 12 ranking, had two All-Americans and All-ACC selections in senior Inge Kaars Sijpesteijn and Selenski, and had five team members picking up all-region honors, with freshmen Michelle Vittese and Floor Vogels, as well as junior Traci Ragukas, joining Kaars Sijpesteijn and Selenski. Virginia also continued to put at least one member on the national all-rookie team for the third time in program history. Selenski and Vittese, who both represented the United States at the Junior World Cup in Boston, were named to the squad.
In 2007, Madison helped lead Virginia to its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. UVA was ranked eighth in the nation to start the year, and Ragukas and Kaars Sijpesteijn were both named to the NFHCA second-team all-region squad. Kaars Sijpesteijn additionally received All-America and All-ACC honors for the second consecutive season. Also for the second straight year, Virginia had a member selected to the National All-Rookie squad in first-year Shelly Edmonds.
In her first year in Charlottesville, Madison orchestrated Virginia’s return to the top-10 and was named the 2006 National Coach of the Year by womensfieldhockey.com. That year, Virginia rose to as high as No. 4 in the nation and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament before ending the season with a 14-8 record against the nation’s fifth-toughest schedule. Madison coached Kaars Sijpesteijn to first-team All-America honors, Virginia’s first first-team All-American since 1998. She also mentored Ragukas to National Rookie Team recognition, the first such honor for a Cavalier in school history.
The former head coach at Michigan State from 1993-2005, Madison led the Spartans to their first-ever No. 1 ranking. Michigan State advanced to the NCAA Tournament four times, including two NCAA semifinal berths (2002, 2004) and two quarterfinal appearances (2001, 2003) during her tenure in East Lansing. Madison, named the 2001 Big Ten Coach of the Year, also guided the Spartans to back-to-back conference titles in 2001 and 2002. During the 2002 season, she picked up another coaching honor, being tabbed the West Region Coach of the Year. Madison left Michigan State as the school’s all-time leader in victories.
The Philadelphia native spent four seasons as the head coach at Temple prior to her appointment at Michigan State. At Temple, she took the team to national championship contention in just her second year at the helm. During Madison’s tenure, the Owls compiled a 53-27-6 record and appeared in three NCAA Tournaments, twice advancing to the quarterfinals. Temple also won the A-10 Conference Tournament Championship in 1991.
Madison additionally served a two-year (1989-90) stint as the assistant coach for the Owl women’s lacrosse team that advanced to the NCAA Semifinals both seasons. During her stay in Philadelphia, Madison coached 12 All-Americans, 21 all-region selections, three Academic All-Americans, two National Team members and one Honda Broderick award winner.
Prior to her position at Temple, Madison served as an assistant coach at Iowa for seven seasons (1982-89). During that span, the Hawkeyes advanced to the Final Four four times and captured their only NCAA championship title in 1986.
A former member of the U.S. Field Hockey Board of Directors and the United States Field Hockey Foundation, Madison has been integrally involved in the U.S. Field Hockey community. In addition to her stint with the 1988 and 1996 Olympic Teams, she was an assistant coach at the 1994 World Cup in which the United States won the bronze, their highest finish in history.
She also served as a notational analyst for the 1998 World Cup in Utrecht for England. Madison, who spent two and a half years on the coaching staff for the U.S. National Team, served as head coach on the 2003 U.S. Under-20 team, after coaching at the prestigious “A” camp for the U.S. Junior National Team trials. In the spring of 2002, Madison assisted the U.S. National Team at the Champions Challenge in South Africa. In the summer of 2005, Madison was named to the USFHA Board of Directors and was part of the advisory committee that made the decision to hire Terry Walsh, the Technical Director of High Performance for USA Field Hockey. Madison has also coached the Midwest Cyclones of the United Airlines Field Hockey League, leading the team to runner-up finishes in the championship game in 2000 and 2001.
Madison is a 1982 physical education graduate of Rutgers University, where she played field hockey and lacrosse. She earned her master’s degree in athletic administration from Iowa in 1984. Madison was inducted into the Gloucester County (N.J.) Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Williamstown (N.J.) High School Hall of Fame in 1992.
|1992||Temple||11-8-2||NCAA First Round, A-10 Tournament Champions|
|2001||Michigan State||16-6-0||NCAA Quarterfinals, Big Ten Champions|
|2002||Michigan State||23-3-0||NCAA Semifinals, Big Ten Tournament Champions|
|2003||Michigan State||17-5-0||NCAA Quarterfinals, Big Ten Champions, Big Ten Tournament Champions|
|2004||Michigan State||18-4-0||NCAA Semifinals, Big Ten Champions|
|2007||Virginia||11-10-0||NCAA First Round|
|2013||Virginia||15-6||NCAA First Round|
|2014||Virginia||12-8||ACC Regular-Season Co-Champions|
|2016||Virginia||16-8||ACC Champions, NCAA Quarterfinals|
|2017||Virginia||15-5||ACC Regular-Season Champions, NCAA First Round, ACC Coach of the Year|
|2018||Virginia||9-10||NCAA First Round|
|2021||Virginia||12-9||NCAA First Round|
Totals: 33 seasons, 431-265-8, 20 NCAA Tournament Appearances, 5 Final Fours