NEW LONDON, Conn. -- Coast Guard Academy has named Ruth Ness head coach of the women's lacrosse team as the program will begin its first season of competition as a varsity sport in the Spring of 2015.
The Bears women's lacrosse program is being elevated from club status and will compete at the Division III level in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).
Ness has been an assistant coach at Bowdoin College for the past two seasons. The Polar Bears posted a record of 23-11 in those two seasons and advanced all the way to the Elite 8 in the 2013 NCAA Division III tournament.
"I honored and grateful to have the opportunity to lead the Coast Guard in its inaugural season as a varsity program and really look forward to building a successful program and having success in the NEWMAC. It's a great and pretty competitive conference, but one that we can certainly do well in," said Ness.
A native of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire and a 2005 graduate of the University of New England, Ness was the head women's lacrosse coach at Elms College in 2012 where she coached both the conference Goalie and Rookie of the Year and the team improved 14 out of 19 statistical categories from the previous season.
Prior to her time at Elms, Ness had assistant coaching stints at Smith, Messiah and at the University of New England.
From 2005-2007, she was a school coaching officer at Marlborough College in Marlborough, England. There she coached the women's lacrosse, field hockey and track & field teams and served as a teacher in the physical education program.
" I'm pleased and privileged to announce the selection of Ruth Ness as the new women's lacrosse coach at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy," said Director of Athletics Tim Fitzpatrick. "As women's lacrosse becomes a varsity program for the first time this year at CGA , I am very confident that Ruth's combination of skill, coaching experience and recruiting expertise make her the perfect choice for this important position. It is evident that she is dedicated to the core values of the academy and understands the importance of providing our cadet-athletes with a top-notch experience. Her career in college lacrosse – both as a player and a coach – shows a demonstrated track record of achievement and success, and I know she will be a difference maker here at CGA. It is our pleasure to welcome Ruth to the Coast Guard Bears family."
While an undergraduate at the University of New England, Ness was a decorated two-sport athlete. In lacrosse, she was a four-year starter and four-time All-Commonwealth Coast Conference selection. In field hockey, she helped to start the school's program as a junior and served as a captain in both her junior and senior campaigns. She was named UNE's Female Athlete of the Year in 2005 and was the record holder for career points in both field hockey and lacrosse. Ness graduated from UNE with a degree in Art Educational Studies and owns a Master's in Exercise and Sport Studies from Smith.
"I was really impressed with the athletic department and the clear support that the Academy has for athletics and the direction that Tim Fitzpatrick is taking the department," said Ness. " I am looking forward to being a part of that and a member of the Coast Guard community.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT NESS
NCAA Director of Division III and former Director of Athletics at Elms College
"Ruth will do a tremendous job at the Coast Guard Academy. She has a wide variety of experiences and knowledge about the game and she will bring a high level of energy and passion that will work well at the Academy and with the student-athletes."
Head Women's Lacrosse Coach at Bowdoin College
"Ruth brings a wealth of lacrosse knowledge and she will be able to quickly take Coast Guard's established club team into a contender in the NEWMAC. She is a great recruiter and a teacher of the game, she will do great things. It is a loss to our program, but certainly a gain for Coast Guard."