Cellucci finds success twice with Iowa field hockey

Lisa Cellucci went from Hawkeye field hockey player to coach, and found success in both aspects.


David Harmantas

Head Coach Lisa Cellucci watches from the sideline as the Iowa Field Hockey team plays Indiana on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Iowa won the match 4-3.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

It’s one thing to have the ability to compete at the Division-1 level, but it’s a whole different book to succeed in coaching at the Division-1 level. Iowa field-hockey head coach Lisa Cellucci is a prime example of someone who has excelled at both.

Cellucci is one of many Iowa field-hockey alumni who have worked to set a high standard for those who follow them.

Before graduating from Iowa in 1998, Cellucci played goalkeeper for the Hawkeyes, becoming a three-time All-American, four-time All-Big Ten selection, and four-time regional All-American. She was also a three-time U.S. National Team member.

Cellucci remains the Iowa field-hockey all-time saves leader, finishing with 592.

She has been a coach at Iowa for the past 19 years and is in her fifth year as head coach. While coaching the Hawkeyes, Cellucci has compiled a record of 208-142.

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“My time as a student-athlete was unbelievable. My coaches were outstanding people and great role models and pushed me to achieve more than I ever thought I was capable of,” Cellucci said. “I knew early on I wanted to go into the coaching profession so I could have that same impact on young women. Being able to coach at my alma mater and go to work every day with the focus on representing all those who came before me and trying to continue to build on the unbelievable tradition of excellence is something I take great pride in.”

As a coach, she has helped numerous Hawkeyes achieve postseason honors. Last year, Cellucci coached Katie Birch to three postseason awards: first-team All-Big Ten, coaches’ first-team All-West Regional, and coaches’ third-team All-American.

Maddy Murphy was also recognized, earning second-team All-Big Ten recognition and coaches’ second-team All-West honors.

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“My favorite thing about Lisa is just how passionate she is about field hockey,” Murphy said. “You can just tell from the way that she coaches and the way that she speaks about it that she just loves field hockey. And I think that’s really inspiring for a lot of the girls on the team, because for some of us, field hockey is the best thing that we have in our lives.”

This season, Cellucci has coached the Hawkeyes to a 7-1 record, and they are running on a six-game winning streak. The Hawkeye defense and goalkeeper Leslie Speight have demonstrated that they are an integral part of Iowa’s success — the backline has pitched five shutouts.

Senior Makenna Grewe appreciates Cellucci’s compassion.

“[I admire] how much she cares about all of us and field hockey,” Grewe said. “She cares about the team and all of us individually and wants us to be the best people we can be and the best field hockey players we can be.”


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