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Coach Jennifer Ulehla will lead the Wolverines in the program's inaugural season, which begins on Saturday (Feb. 22) at Villanova, while the home opener at Oosterbaan Field House is slated for Friday, Feb. 28.
Getting to Know Coach Jennifer Ulehla
An interview with new women's lacrosse head coach Jennifer Ulehla
Ulehla (pronounced: YOU-luh-luh) was instrumental in laying the foundation for the program and recruiting the first signing class in program history, which was announced on Nov. 21, 2012.
In 2015, Ulehla led Michigan into its second year as a varsity program with a roster consisting of 23 sophomores and 12 freshmen. Despite the 2014 season being known as the "season of firsts", 2015 brought another first for the program, as the Big Ten Conference sponsored its first season of women's lacrosse. The Wolverines finished with a 5-12 overall record, including a 0-5 mark in Big Ten play, but were competitive in nearly every game, losing five games by one goal, including two in overtime and one in double overtime.
Team One, which was comprised of a group of 27 freshmen, arrived on campus on Aug. 28, 2013. Under Ulehla's guidance, Michigan compiled a 4-13 record in its first season as a Division I program, including the program's first win in a double-overtime thriller against UC Davis inside Michigan Stadium, 13-12, on March 30, 2014. The Wolverines competed in the American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) during the inaugural season. Under Ulehla's direction, three Wolverines garnered ALC Rookie of the Week accolades and freshman Anna Schueler was selected to the All-ALC second team in that first season.
Prior to coming to Ann Arbor, Ulehla gained valuable experience in the development of a new program as an assistant coach for the Florida Gators from January 2008 - June 2010. She played an integral role in the initial phases of building that program to a competitive Division 1 level, including her collaborative involvement in the recruitment of UF's first three recruiting classes. Ulehla continued to contribute to the Gator lacrosse program during their inaugural varsity season in 2010, helping to guide the young team to an impressive 10-8 record.
Ulehla joined the U.S. National Elite Team as an assistant coach in January 2006 and worked with the program for three and a half years. As the defensive coordinator, she played a critical role in the selection, preparation and training of the most talented lacrosse players in the nation. Ulehla experienced great success as an assistant coach on the international level with the United States winning the 2008 Prague Cup championship and proudly achieving a gold medal at the 2009 World Cup played the following summer in the Czech Republic.
Ulehla held two prior collegiate head coaching positions in her career. She was the head coach at Temple University for two seasons (2004-06), sharing the Atlantic 10 title in 2005 and finishing as a tournament runner-up in 2006. She produced three Mid-Atlantic Regional All-Americans and seven A10 all-conference players, including the 2005 Offensive Player of the Year.
The bulk of Ulehla's head coaching experience occurred at James Madison University (1994-2002). She led the program to three Colonial Athletic Conference (CAA) championships, six NCAA Tournament appearances and the program's lone NCAA Final Four showing in 2000. Ulehla produced 13 All-Americans, including five first-team honorees, one National Midfield Player of the Year, one Honda Broderick Award nominee and one Tewaaraton Trophy Award Top 5 finalist. She was named the CAA conference coach of the year in 1995 and 2000.
In addition to her head coaching positions, Ulehla was an assistant coach at Lafayette College (2003), Loyola University of Baltimore (1993-94) and Dartmouth College (1992-93). She helped Loyola reach the semifinals and Dartmouth get to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament during her tenure. An assistant coach at Towson University to begin 1991-92, she was later elevated to interim head coach and was named the TU Coach of the Year.
Ulehla earned a Bachelor's of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Maryland in 1991. She was a two-time All-American with the Terrapins (1990-91) and was named to the All-Tournament Team at the NCAA Final Four in 1990. She was co-captain for the field hockey team in 1990 and lacrosse team in 1991. In 2002, Ulehla had the honor of being named to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) 50th Anniversary Team, which recognized the 50 most significant women's lacrosse players.
On the international scene as a player, Ulehla competed on the U.S. National Lacrosse team from 1990-95. Her crowning achievement came in 1993 when Team USA won the World Cup in Scotland. She is one of a few competitors who have won a World Cup title as both a player and an assistant coach (2009).
Ulehla's laurels and contributions to the world of lacrosse were recognized in 2008 when she was inducted into the Greater Baltimore Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Later that year she was also inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Maryvale Preparatory School in Brooklandville, Md. Most recently, Ulehla was inducted into the James Madison University Athletics Hall of Fame on Nov. 15, 2013. She entered the hall of fame along with former player, Jess Marion (1997-2000), who was a key member of JMU's 2000 Final Four team, and was named the 2000 IWLCA National Midfielder of the Year.
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