Lacrosse coach Jennifer Ulelha announced Tuesday that she is leaving the university to pursue other business opportunities. Her resignation took effect immediately, leaving Temple in search of a coach for the second time in three summers.
Ulelha helped revitalize the lacrosse program. In her two seasons as coach, Ulelha led the Owls to a 20-15 overall record and an 11-3 Atlantic Ten Conference record. In her first season, victories over No. 2 Penn State and Old Dominion put the Owls back in the Top 20 for the first time since 2002. The team peaked at No. 16 and advanced to the A-10 championship game.
Ulelha’s players also achieved individual success during her tenure. Seven players were named to the all-Conference team, including junior midfielder Allison Frengs, who was awarded 2005 A-10 Offensive Player of the Year. Frengs, senior attacker Patty Glavin and junior midfielder Casey Cech each earned Regional all-America status under Ulelha.
Prior to coming to Temple, Ulelha coached at James Madison, beginning in 1994. In eight seasons at the helm, she led the Dukes to six NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Final Four appearance in 2000. Ulelha was twice named Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year.
Though Ulelha’s resignation may seem sudden given her success, according to two Owls, her decision is not shocking.
“It’s not a complete shock,” said sophomore Brittany Piotti, who has transferred to Delaware. “Once [assistant coach Barbara] “BJ” Lucey left, we wondered if Coach would leave…two weeks later.”
A national search for Ulelha’s replacement has begun. A committee made up of members of the athletic department and a few senior players will seek a replacement as soon as possible, senior midfielder Johna Capaldo said.
“Obviously we want to get a coach as soon as possible,” Capaldo said. “The summer time is the biggest time for recruiting. Coming into the fall of 2007 – that class should be recruited right now. If we don’t have a coach in place, it will be tough to recruit girls into the future.”
Capaldo said the seniors are currently working with the athletic department to get a search committee together.
“We definitely want a coach from a Division I program,” Capaldo said. “Temple is such a unique university and it is important to the success of the team that we find someone who truly understands what Temple is all about. It’s hard to teach someone about the diversity if they are not there.”
Searching for a new coach is nothing new to the seniors, some of whom were involved in the search that brought coach Ulelha to Temple.
“We, ironically, did this two years ago with coach Ulelha,” Capaldo said. “We’re used to it.”
Even though losing a coach is tough, Capaldo, remains optimistic about the new coach, whoever he or she may be.
“To be honest, I look at it as a good opportunity,” Capaldo said. “I am very excited.”
FOUR PLAYERS COMMIT TO OWLS
Four high schools seniors recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play lacrosse for the Owls next season. Newcomer Lindsey Colferai was the captain of her team for two seasons at Seneca Valley (Germantown, Md.). Jessica Colucci, a goalie, was named to the Iron Hills all-Conference first team while playing for Roxbury (Wharton, N.J.) last season. Alison Incarnato of Sachem North (Centereach, N.Y.) and Chelsea Rosiek of Wissahickon (Blue Bell, Pa.) complete the new recruits.
CHADWIN RECIEVES HONORS
Junior defender Jessica Chadwin was named to the Jewish Sport Review’s All-America team for the second straight season. Chadwin caused nine turnovers last season while starting in each of the Owls’ 18 games.
Sean Price can be reached at email@example.com.