Liza Kelly completed her 14th season as head coach of the University of Denver in 2020, leading the Pioneers to a 7-1 record. DU entered the season at No. 10 in the IWLCA preseason poll, the highest preseason rank in program history. The Pioneers landed two players on the Tewaaraton watch list to begin the season and earned five BIG EAST player of the week honors. Denver finished the season ranked No. 16 in the final IWLCA poll.
In 2019, Kelly led the Pioneers to a 16-4 record, a runner-up finish in the BIG EAST Tournament and an NCAA Tournament appearance in their third season in the BIG EAST conference. DU finished as the BIG EAST Tournament runner-up for the third straight season after falling to Georgetown in the title game. Kelly guided the Pioneers to their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance, reaching the Quarterfinals for the first time in program history. All four appearances were under the guidance of Kelly.
During the 2019 year, Denver had an RPI of 17 and was ranked throughout the entire season for the first time in program history. DU ranked No. 1 in scoring defense for six-consecutive weeks, leading the Pioneers to their first perfect BIG EAST regular season title, going 5-0. The Crimson and Gold tallied a 4-1 home record, went 9-1 on the road and 3-2 at neutral sites. In eight instances the Pioneers held their opponents to five goals or less, and scored 20+ goals in four contests thoughout the year.
Kelly reached another milestone in her coaching career during the 2018 season. In the March 29 game versus Colorado, Kelly recorded her 150th win at the helm of the Pioneers’ program with the 10-8 victory.
In 2017, the Pioneers finished 4th in the nation in scoring defense (8.44), 8th in caused turnovers per game (11.61) and 11th in scoring margin (4.83). Denver led the BIG EAST in scoring defense, while on an individual basis, Voorhees led the conference in caused turnovers by game (2.33), Julia Feiss led in shots on goal per game (4.94) and Stevenson led in goals-against average at 8.65.
On March 12, 2017, Kelly recorded her 200th career win with a 14-4 victory over Vermont.
In 2016, DU went .500 at 9-9, while in 2015, Kelly led the Pioneers to a 13-5 finish and their fourth straight winning season.
Kelly led the Pioneers to their second-straight NCAA Tournament in 2014, where they beat Jacksonville to advance to the Round of 16. Denver went undefeated in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for the second season in a row in 2014 and finished the year with a 19-2 record.
Denver completed the 2013 season with an 18-3 overall record and a perfect 8-0 mark in the MPSF. DU was ranked No. 16 in the final IWLCA Coaches Poll. The Crimson and Gold ranked second in the nation in caused turnovers (11.76), fourth in win percentage (.857), fifth in points (433.0) and ninth in scoring offense (13.9). Denver broke a team record, set a season before, by winning 15-straight games.
In 2012, the Pioneers posted a 12-3 overall record and a 6-1 record in the MPSF. DU was No. 1 in the nation in caused turnovers (12.6 per game), 10th in scoring offense (13.93 goals per game) and 11th in scoring margin (4.2). The Pioneers also set a team record by winning 12-straight games.
The Pioneers went 13-5 overall and a perfect 6-0 in the MPSF in 2010. Denver advanced to the MPSF Championship Tournament final, which DU hosted at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium, but was edged 11-10 by Stanford in double overtime. Denver ended the season ranked No. 20 in the nation.
Kelly led the Pioneers to a record of 13-6 overall and 5-0 in the MPSF, concluding the 2008 season ranked No. 19 in the nation. In 2007, Kelly steered DU to a 16-3 mark and a 5-0 sweep of the MPSF schedule, ending the season ranked No. 15. In Kelly’s first two years at DU she led her players to success. Kristie Leggio (2007) and Kelly O’Connell (2008) picked up IWLCA All-America honors during their careers and were named MPSF Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
In addition to her duties with Denver’s team, Kelly serves on the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse committee.
Prior to DU, Kelly served five years as the head coach at Boston University. The Baltimore native posted an impressive 64-33 (.660) mark as head coach at BU, including consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and America East regular season and tournament championships in 2005 and 2006. The Terriers finished in the top-10 in the national rankings in Kelly’s final two seasons, and Kelly was named America East Coach of the Year twice during her five-year tenure at BU.
During Kelly’s tenure, 24 players were named to the America East Honor Roll, while five received selection to the Commissioner’s High Honor Roll. In addition, six Terriers received IWLCA Academic Honor Roll accolades. During her five seasons at BU, 15 different Terriers earned a combined 26 selections to the all-conference first team, while 11 players received a combined 19 regional All-America accolades, including the first two first-team All-Americans in program history.
Before taking over the reins at BU, Kelly served under Linda Ohrin as an assistant coach at Towson University for three years. Kelly coached the Tigers’ defense and assisted in scouting and recruiting.
As a player, Kelly was a standout midfielder at the University of Delaware from 1995-98, earning All-America honors in 1996, 1997 and 1998, before playing for the United States National team from 1997-2001. Kelly was inducted into the University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Baltimore Chapter of U.S Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2009.
Kelly has held a number of coaching positions. In addition to traveling throughout the U.S. teaching lacrosse, she has been an ambassador for the game of lacrosse all over the world. In 1995, she traveled to Tokyo, Japan, to teach the sport to Japanese university students.