A former two-time All-American at James Madison University, Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe returned home to lead her alma mater in 2007 and is entering her 13th season in 2018-19.
Klaes-Bawcombe has amassed a career 201-110 record, including a 151-75 mark in Harrisonburg.
The 2018 JMU lacrosse season was one for the record books, as she guided the Dukes to the first national championship in program history with a school- and CAA-record 22-1 overall record.
The Dukes won their second straight conference championship and earned the No. 3 overall seed for the NCAA Championship – a program best. After notching wins at home against Virginia and sixth-seeded Florida, JMU upended second-seeded North Carolina before holding off fourth-seeded Boston College 16-15 to win the national title.
Following JMU's title win, Klaes-Bawcombe was named the IWLCA Division I National Coach of the Year and ILWomen Division I Coach of the Year for the first time in her career. She additionally garnered IWLCA South Region Coach of the Year laurels.
After the regular season, in which the Dukes won the CAA outright for the second straight year, she was named CAA Coach of the Year for the third straight season, as the Dukes held a 16-1 record – the most wins in any JMU regular season.
She coached four players to All-America status, including Tewaaraton Award finalist Kristen Gaudian, who was an IL Media First Team All-America after being voted CAA Player of the Year. Tewaaraton nominee Haley Warden was a Second Team All-American and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. Elena Romesburg earned Third Team All-America honors and Rebecca Tooker was an Honorable Mention selection.
JMU finished 2018 setting program records in scoring (362), assists (156), points (518), free-position goals (73) and draw controls (330). The Dukes set a team record with four 40-goal scorers in the same season – Kristen Gaudian (80), Elena Romesburg (66), Hanna Haven (47) and Haley Warden (46).
In 2017, Klaes-Bawcombe became the program's all-time leader in wins, surpassing JMU Hall of Famer Dee McDonough with her 119th win at JMU on Feb. 25, 2017 in a 15-4 victory against High Point.
During her career, she has led JMU to five CAA championships and her teams have played in eight of the past nine CAA championship games.
The Dukes won the tournament title in 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017 and 2018 while dropping two of the four losses by a single goal, which included an overtime loss to top-seeded Towson in 2014.
A five-time CAA Coach of the Year, Klaes-Bawcombe garnered the award in each of the last three seasons after guiding JMU to a 5-1 conference records in 2016 and 2017 and a perfect 6-0 mark in 2018.
The 2017 season saw JMU finish 14-7 overall after claiming the CAA Championship and advancing to the NCAA Championship second round. The Dukes beat 18th-ranked Louisville in the first round in University Park, Pa., to mark the program's first NCAA win since 2010.
In addition to her winning CAA Coach of the Year for the second straight year in 2017, she also coached Haley Warden to All-America honors. Warden, the 2017 CAA Player of the Year, was named Second Team All-American by Inside Lacrosse and a Third-Team selection by the IWLCA. A total of seven players were named All-CAA that year.
In 2016, JMU earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship for only the fourth time in program history and first since 2000. The Dukes played in lacrosse's first NCAA tournament game on the West Coast against Stanford inside the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
She coached seven players to All-CAA status in 2016, which included Jaci Gordon being named CAA Player of the Year.
Her most successful season in Harrisonburg came in 2010 when she led Madison to a program-record 17 wins and guided the Dukes to the NCAA Quarterfinals with a win over Stanford before falling to Syracuse. During that season, JMU reached as high as No. 7 in the nation while earning a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the second-highest seed in program history.
Following the 2010 season, Klaes-Bawcombe was named National Coach of the Year by womenslacrosse.com. She also added CAA Coach of the Year to the list of accolades before coaching the South Team in the North-South All-Star Game. Additionally, she was voted Virginia Coach of the Year by Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) in 2010 and followed the honor with another Coach of the Year honor in 2011 from VaSID.
In her first season at JMU in 2007, she led the Dukes to as high as No. 5 in the nation while being a mainstay in the national polls every week of the season. Madison was also ranked as high as No. 5 in 2008 and No. 16 in 2009 before the record-breaking year in 2010. In 2011, Madison finished the season ranked No. 11 in the nation while taking the CAA Tournament title before dropping a tough 11-10 decision to Princeton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
In 12 years at JMU, the Dukes have only suffered two losing seasons in 2008 and 2009. Madison has won 10 or more games for seven straight years, dating back to 2010. Ten of her past 14 teams (JMU in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015 and Hofstra in 2005 and 2006) were consistently ranked in the national top 20. Eleven of those (JMU 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015; Hofstra 2005 and 2006) were finalists in the CAA Tournament.
Klaes-Bawcombe's players at JMU have earned All-CAA honors 69 times. In addition to her six CAA Players of the Year, JMU has had two conference Defenders of the Year and two CAA Rookie of the Year honorees under her tutelage. In 2010, senior midfielder Kim Griffin was among 25 nominees for the Tewarraton Award, which honor's the nation's top player. In 2011 and 2013, Casey Ancarrow was a Tewarraton Award nominee. Other Dukes named to the Tewarraton Award Watch List (a preliminary list to the nominees list) under Klaes-Bawcombe include Mary Kate Lomady in 2011, Ancarrow in 2012 and Jaci Gordon in 2015.
Prior to returning to Harrisonburg, Klaes-Bawcombe spent five seasons at Hofstra from 2002-06. She previously served as an assistant coach with the Pride before assuming the head coaching role. The 2005 CAA Coach of the Year compiled an overall record of 50-35 in five seasons at Hofstra. The Pride was CAA runner-up in 2005 and 2006 and lost to top-seeded JMU in the 2006 league championship game.
Her 2005 Hofstra squad achieved a program-best No. 7 national ranking. The team's 14 victories in 2005 were the second-highest total in school history.
In Klaes-Bawcombe's first season in Hempstead, N.Y., she led the Pride to a 9-8 record and a berth in the CAA Tournament. The 2003 edition of the Pride finished with an 8-8 mark and advanced to the CAA Semifinals. In 2004, Hofstra was ranked No. 20 in the final national poll after compiling an 8-8 record.
During Klaes-Bawcombe's three seasons (1999-2001) as a Hofstra assistant, she was part of the most-successful season in school history. In 2001, the Pride compiled a 16-3 overall record and a 6-0 mark in America East play, won the America East championship and played in the NCAA Tournament.
Prior to her time at Hofstra, Klaes-Bawcombe spent the 1998 season as an assistant at JMU. During the season, JMU went 11-8, were CAA runners-up and went to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Klaes-Bawcombe's teams have consistently achieved in the classroom. Her 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2017 JMU teams were named Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Academic Squads, a recognition given to teams with a collective grade-point average of 3.0 or above. Since 2004, 24 of her players have won IWLCA All-Academic individual recognition.
As a player at JMU, Klaes-Bawcombe was co-captain of the 1997 squad that won the CAA Tournament and a member of two (1995 and 1997) NCAA Tournament teams. During her JMU career, the Dukes compiled an overall record of 42-28 and tied a school record with 13 wins in 1997.
In her senior season in 1997, Klaes-Bawcombe set school records for career assists (71), goals by a senior (48) and season points (71) and tied the JMU season record for game-winning goals (4). That year, she ranked 11th in points per game average (3.94) and 20th in assists per game average (1.28) in NCAA Division I.
Klaes-Bawcombe earned First Team All-America (Brine/Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association) recognition as a senior and was a second-team selection as a junior (1996). She was also a two-time All-South Region (1996, 1997) and All-CAA (1996, 1997) choice. As a senior in 1997, she played in the North-South Senior All-Star Game, was named to the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse Association All-America Team and was voted the Dukes’ Most Valuable Player. She currently ranks in the top 12 in three JMU career categories, including fifth in assists (71), ninth in points (196) and 12th in goals (125).
During her four years as a JMU player, the Dukes were never ranked lower than 10th in the national coaches’ poll and were ranked as high as third nationally in 1995 and 1997.
In 2010, her playing accomplishments were honored as she was first inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Greater Baltimore chapter of US Lacrosse, then inducted into the JMU Athletic Hall of Fame. On Dec. 2, 2017, Klaes-Bawcombe was enshrined into the Virginia Lacrosse Hall of Fame, alongside former JMU star Kelly (Berger) Rabil.
A native of Glen Arm, Md., Klaes-Bawcombe earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in exercise science from JMU in 1997. She holds a master's degree in physical education from Hofstra.
Her husband, Andrew Bawcombe, and her sister, Laura Klaes Tourge, are 1995 JMU graduates. Laura is a former lacrosse player and was a two-year starter on defense for the Dukes.
The Bawcombes are parents of Otis Andrew, born in November 2008, and a daughter, Maya Ann, born in February 2012.