Courtney Martinez Connor
Guiding the Sun Devil Lacrosse program through its inaugural Division I season, Coach Martinez Connor helped the Sun Devils enjoy one of the most successful inaugural seasons in NCAA history. In the season opener, Arizona State picked up the program's first-ever victory, an 18-8 road triumph against Kennesaw State. The Sun Devils started the season 5-1, highlighted by a come-from-behind win over Columbia, a game the Sun Devils trailed 4-0 and 7-1 at one point. The most significant result of the season came when ASU traveled to Berkeley to take on conference foe Cal. Despite trailing 6-2 in the first half, the Sun Devils would not quit, tying the game at 11 before the end of regulation to force overtime. Emily Glagolev would come through with the clutch, game-winning goal in overtime would give that would give the the program its first Pac-12 Conference victory.
Under Coach Martinez Connor's tutelage, several Sun Devil Lacrosse student-athletes enjoyed breakout seasons. Sun Devil Lacrosse co-captain Kerri Clayton nabbed Second Team All-Pac-12 honors after an outstanding first season in Tempe. Clayton finished with 59 points, compiling 44 goals and 15 assists. Her 2.59 goals per game average placed her fourth in the conference while her 3.47 points per game was good enough for fifth. She recorded two game-winning goals, tying for the team-lead with Maddy Hunter. Clayton put her name in the Sun Devil record books the very first weekend of the season, scoring a program record seven goals in the team's first win over Kennesaw State on Feb. 9. The junior added five goals and two assists the very next game against Stetson on Feb. 11 to cement her name at the top. For that weekend's performance Clayton was named Inside Lacrosse's Alpha Lacrosse Player of the Week on Feb. 14 as voted on by lacrosse fans across the country, the first National Player of the Week honor for the program. The Sun Devils captured five non-conference victories, two of which came by double-digits (Manhattan, Presbyterian). The Arizona State offense clicked in the non-conference, scoring 103 goals in six games (17.2 goals/game). Competing as the six seed at their first-ever Pac-12 Tournament, Arizona State saw freshman midfielder Maria Vallanti be named to the 2018 Pac-12 Women's Lacrosse All-Tournament Team after scoring a pair of goals against USC. Emily Glagolev, Graci Fulkerson, Kylie Kroeger, Ashley Cusack, Carley Adams, Maria Villanti, Berkeley Bonneau, Rachel Gregory and Julia Burns each played in all 18 games. All 34 players eligible players saw playing time this season. In total, 2,530 fans attended Sun Devil Lacrosse home games, for a Pac-12 best average crowd of 361 fans per game. The team got it done off the field as well as on it, as Coach Martinez Connor stressed the importance of academics. Arizona State placed a pair of student-athletes (Sydney Bosmans, Rachel Gregory) on the IWLCA All-Academic Team, honoring those with a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher. Five different Sun Devils earned Pac-12 All-Academic honors, led by Sydney Bosmans, who received Second Team honors.
Courtney Martinez Connor was named the first head coach for Arizona State's varsity women's lacrosse program, Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson announced in Nov. 2015. Martinez Connor, a gifted lacrosse student-athlete and standout collegiate coach, is building the foundation of Sun Devil Athletics' 25th varsity sport.
"Courtney Martinez Connor's multifaceted background as a student-athlete, successful coach, fundraiser, and now broadcaster make her the ideal selection to help lead and grow Sun Devil Athletics' lacrosse program," Anderson said. "The success she has seen at every level is a tribute to her passion, hard work, and innate talent within the sport, and we are excited to see the heights this program can achieve."
Martinez Connor joined ASU following a successful career as a lacrosse analyst for ESPN and Big Ten Network. With her extensive broadcast background, Martinez Connor is a recognizable face within the lacrosse community.
"It is truly an honor to be selected as the coach of the Arizona State University Women's Lacrosse program. I am incredibly grateful that President Michael Crow, and Vice President for University Athletics, Ray Anderson, have provided me with such an incredible opportunity to lead the Sun Devils. Becoming the first University in the state of Arizona to add lacrosse speaks volumes to the overall vision held by Sun Devils Athletics and the Senior Administration. I am passionate about the sport and can't wait to start building the lacrosse tradition that will make the Sun Devil community proud. More importantly, I am excited to share my vision with recruits as Arizona State has committed to providing the resources to ignite a Championship program," Martinez Connor said.
Prior to entering her broadcasting career, Martinez Connor was the head coach for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers from 2005-09. In her first year at UMBC, Martinez Connor led the Retrievers to the program's first America East regular-season title with a 5-1 conference mark in 2006. The team also recorded its first-ever victory against defending conference champion and then seventh-ranked Boston University, also the first victory over a ranked team for the program. For her immediate turnaround at UMBC, Martinez Connor was named the America East Coach of the Year in 2006. Over her career at UMBC, Martinez Connor led the Retrievers to marquee victories over Oregon (2007) and Loyola (2008), coached 21 America East All-Conference players, had two players named to the America East All-Conference Championship team, and produced two of UMBC's most successful seasons (2006 & 2009) since 2002.
Also at UMBC and Mount St. Mary's, Martinez Connor was a prodigious fundraiser, and helped the athletics department raise money for a new athletics complex, including a locker room, coaches' offices, training room and a team media room. Martinez Connor also hosted a variety of events to help fundraise specifically for women's lacrosse, including dinners and silent auctions.
"Courtney is a tremendous student of the game and a great choice for Arizona State," Syracuse Women's Lacrosse Head Coach, Gary Gait said. "Her leadership will immediately allow the team to compete at the highest level".
Martinez Connor took the head coaching job at UMBC after her success at Mount St. Mary's University. In her four years as head coach at Mount St. Mary's, Martinez Connor became the all-time winningest coach in Mountaineer women's lacrosse history as she amassed of 43 victories. Earning the head job right out of college, Martinez Connor turned the Mountaineers program around and led Mount St. Mary's to the Northeast Conference (NEC) Tournament title game in her final three seasons and back-to-back NEC Championships and NCAA tournament bids in 2004 and 2005.
"Arizona State is getting a top caliber coach and a fantastic person," ESPN broadcaster Quint Kessenich said. "Courtney is a perfect hire for the Sun Devils. She brings instant credibility to the brand. She is the total package: coach, wife, mom and I'm confident she and Arizona State will find success."
Martinez Connor was a standout lacrosse player at the University of Maryland, where she contributed to the Terrapins' five NCAA Team Championships (1997-2001) and four Atlantic Coast Conference Championship titles (1997, 1999-2001) in her time with the team. In 2001, Martinez Connor was named the MVP of the NCAA Championship and National Defender of the Year by 360 Lacrosse Magazine.
Graduating from Maryland in 2001 with a degree in international business and marketing, Martinez Connor was a member of the ACC Honor Roll, received the Maryland Scholar-Athlete Award, and was recognized for her outstanding academic achievement by the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education at the University of Maryland.
"We are excited for Courtney and what she will bring to Sun Devil Athletics," Deana Garner-Smith, Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Women's Administrator, said. "Her diverse experience will significantly benefit not only our student-athletes but also all of our coaches as we continue to strive for excellence in collegiate athletics."
Martinez Connor is married to former Maryland All-American lacrosse player Casey Connor and they are parents to their four children: Acacia, Jacinda, Callista, and Caden.