Head Coach Jim Nestor enters his 19th season at the helm of the Salisbury University women's lacrosse team in 2020 after his 17th-consecutive trip to the national tournament with the program just a season ago.
Nestor guided the maroon and gold to an overall record of 20-4 during the 2019 campaign, advancing all the way to the 2019 Division III National Championship where the Sea Gulls eventually fell to No. 3 Middlebury College, 14-9. After strating the season 2-1 Salisbury won 14 of its next 16 games falling to only No. 5 Middlebury and York College of Pennsylvania in the Capital Athletic Conference championship. The team fiished the season as the second-ranked team in the country and landed six players on the IXLCA All-Region team with two player being named IWLCA All-Americans.
In 2018, Nestor guided the Sea Gulls to a No. 1 ranking for a majority of the season and an overall record of 21-2 while posting a conference record of 8-0. Salisbury earned its 18th Capital Athletic Conference Championship, downing University of Mary Washington 12-7. With the win, the maroon and gold advanced to its 16th straight and 19th overall NCAA Tournament, eventually falling to Gettysburg College in the NCAA Semifinals. For his efforts, Nestor was named the CAC Coach of the Year for the 13th time in his career as well as being named the 2018 ECAC Division III Coach of the Year and IWLCA Division III Chesapeake Region Coach of the Year.
In 2017, the Sea Gulls captured their 17th overall and 15th straight Capital Athletic Conference championship, completing the season with a 16-6 overall record and 7-1 CAC record. The team advanced to its 18th NCAA Tournament defeating Regis (Mass.) 19-2 in round one, Hamilton 7-5 in round two, and No. 17 Ithaca 15-8 in round three before falling to eventual national champion Gettysburg in the NCAA Regional Final. Kieran Kelleher and Allison Hynson led the Gulls with All-American honors as each landed on the third team.
In 2016, the Sea Gulls went 18-3, earning their 14th-straight Capital Athletic Conference championship after going a perfect 8-0 in conference play and extending their CAC winning streak to 94 games. Salisbury earned its 17th appearance in the NCAA tournament, making it all the way to the regional finals. The Sea Gulls had three student-athletes named All-Americans by the IWLCA, with Megan Wallenhorst and Gabbi Nieves landing on the first team and Gianna Falcone earning third-team honors.
Salisbury went 14-4 in 2015 to make its 16th appearance in the big dance after winning its 13th-straight Capital Athletic Conference championship. The Gulls went a perfect 8-0 in league play for yet another season to extend their Division III all-time record in regular-season play to 86-straight games without dropping a game, while maintaining 113-game win streak including postseason play. Two student-athletes were named All-Americans by the IWLCA in Megan Wallenhorst (Second Team) and Kara O'Rourke (Third Team).
The Sea Gulls went 23-1 in 2014 to defend its national title, defeating Trinity (Conn.) College, 9-6, for the second-straight year in the championship. Jumping out to an early 5-0 lead in the first half, Salisbury never trailed in the title game and hoisted the trophy for the third time in five years. Nestor kept the home turf unblemished again in 2014, for the third-straight season, as the Gulls ride a 41-game winning streak at Sea Gull Stadium. Salisbury named three First-Team All-Americans in senior Ashton Wheatley and juniors Bethany Baer and Laura Maskell. Baer was also named Most Outstanding Player for the NCAA tournament.
For his efforts guiding the team, Nestor was named the 2014 National Coach of the Year by the IWLCA.
Nestor guided Salisbury to its second NCAA title in 2013 with a 23-0 record. SU was rarely tested during the regular season, never trailing at halftime and winning all 16 regular-season games by no fewer than six goals. After rolling through the Capital Athletic Conference tournament and the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, the Sea Gulls ran into their first close game, never trailing, but battling to the final horn against Franklin & Marshall College in the NCAA quarterfinals, for an 8-6 win.
The Sea Gulls trailed in the national semifinal round, 5-3 at halftime, to Middlebury College, but battled back for an 8-7 win.
The next day, in the national championship game, Salisbury would breathe a bit easier, jumping out to a 4-0 lead against Trinity (Conn.) College in the first 12 minutes of the game. The Bantams would cut the edge to two, but would get no closer as Nestor and the Sea Gulls claimed the title, 12-5.
Nestor was named IWLCA National Coach of the Year for the third time, Chesapeake Region Coach of the Year for the seventh time.
Nestor led Salisbury to the NCAA title game for the fourth time in his tenure in 2012 as SU finished the season at 22-1 overall in and 8-0 in the Capital Athletic Conference. The Gulls claimed their 10 CAC championship under Nestor and placed seven players on the All-CAC teams, had the CAC Player of the Year, six all-regional selections four All-Americans and the National Goalie of the Year. Nestor has mentored 33 All-Americans in his Salisbury tenure.
In 2011, Nestor led the team to its ninth straight and 11th overall Capital Athletic Conference championship, which allowed the program to make its 12th NCAA tournament appearance. Two players from that squad were named to All-American teams.
Nestor guided the Sea Gulls to the programs first national championship in 2010 as the Gulls went 21-1. Salisbury captured the championship with a come-from-behind 7-6 victory over Hamilton College in the national championship game. Additionally the Sea Gulls had three players garner All-American honors and seven players capture All-CAC accolades. The trip to the national championship marked the sixth time in Nestor's nine seasons that he brought the Sea Gulls to the Division III final four.
Nestor's eighth season was another one for the record books as the Sea Gulls made a run at a number of program records in 2009. Salisbury's 244 caused turnovers in 2009 were the most in program history. The Sea Gulls' 385 goals both 577 points both ranked second in program history while the 192 assists the team had were fourth best. Seniors Robyn Bishop, Sarah McKinley and Sonja Stuart were all named IWLCA first team All-Americans while junior Beth Rhodey was named to the second team and senior Holly Johnson was an honorable mention All-American. McKinley was named the National Defender of the Year and Stuart was named the National Goalie of the Year.
In 2008, Nestor and the Gulls put together quite a record-breaking year as they finished the season 22-1 overall and 7-0 in the Capital Athletic Conference. The Sea Gulls claimed the CAC crown for the sixth consecutive year. For the majority of the season, SU held the No. 1 ranking in the Division III polls. Their quest at a perfect season ended when the Gulls were defeated by eventual-national-champion Hamilton in the NCAA semifinals, 11-10. Under the guidance of Nestor, the Sea Gulls compiled a school record 22 wins for the season (which was matched in 2012). They also set NCAA records for goals scored (433), assists (230) and total points (663). The Sea Gulls advanced to the program's fifth overall national semifinal at the time and fourth in the past five seasons, and have finished as national runner-up three times in Nestor's tenure.
In his 13 seasons as head coach, Nestor holds a remarkable .907 winning percentage (244-25) and has advanced to the NCAA tournament in each of the past 10 years. His overall women's lacrosse coaching record is 323-64-1 (.832) in 19 seasons.
As a by-product of the team's success, Nestor has been named CAC Coach of the Year 11 times (2003-10, 13-15), had 87 players named to the all-conference team; which includes the 2005 Player of the Year Linda Ackermann, 2006 Player of the Year Kate Scott, 2007 & 2008 Player of the Year Sue Ackermann, 2010 Player of the Year Kim Cudmore, and 2012 and 2013 Player of the Year Katie Bollhorst. He has also had 39 players earn Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-American honors and had seven players earn national position player of the years awards in Kate Scott (2006 National Attacker of the Year), Kelly Phillips (2007 National Defender of the Year), Sarah McKinley (2009 and 2010 National Defender of the Year), Sonja Stuart (2009 National Goalie of the Year), Ashton Wheatley (2012, 2013, and 2014 National Goalie of the Year), Katie Bollhorst (2013 National Attack Player of the Year), and Bethany Baer (2014 National Midfielder of the Year). In addition, Nestor was named IWLCA's Chesapeake Region Coach of the Year from 2004-08 and the IWLCA South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year in 2009. He was selected as the 2005 IWLCA Division III Coach of the Year and was again honored as the top coach in Division III following the 2010, 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Nestor, who also coached the Salisbury women's soccer team until the end of the 2012 season, is a 1990 graduate of Salisbury and returned to his alma mater after serving as the head coach for both women's lacrosse and women's soccer at Division II Gannon University in Erie, Pa., for six years.
Nestor compiled a 73-20-1 record in six seasons with the Gannon women's lacrosse program. He guided the team to a winning season every year during the program's six-year history. Gannon won three straight ECAC championships from 1998-2000, and was named the co-national champion by the IWLCA following the 2000 season. Nestor was named the IWLCA's Division II Coach of the Year in 1996 and was recognized as the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year in 2000 by CollegeLacrosseUSA.com. Gannon had 21 players recognized as IWLCA All-Americans during Nestor's tenure with the program. His coaching resume also includes stints at Frostburg State University (1991-92), Colby-Sawyer College (1992-94) and Lafayette College (1994). Nestor was the head coach at Colby-Sawyer for two seasons where his teams went 6-19.
Originally from Laurel, Md., Nestor received his bachelor's degree in physical education from Salisbury in 1990. He was a four-year letterman on the Sea Gull lacrosse and wrestling teams during his collegiate career. Nestor earned his master's degree in health and physical education at Frostburg State in 1992. His wife, Linda, is also a Salisbury graduate and was a four-year letter winner on the women's lacrosse team.