BALTIMORE—Less than two months after leading the Retrievers to their first-ever America East championship game, UMBC head women's lacrosse coach Kelly Berger has signed a three-year contract extension that runs through the 2012-13 season, Director of Athletics Dr. Charles Brown announced today.
"I am honored that UMBC has given me the opportunity to not only do what I've already done but have faith that I can accomplish more in the years to come," Berger said. "With their tremendous support, I feel that UMBC will be a great place to continue my career for years to come. Coming off a great first year with lots of fun and success, I feel that we can accomplish that again and more, and I'm really looking forward to it."
In her first season as a head coach, Berger guided the Retrievers, who were picked to finish fifth in the preseason coaches' poll, to the four-team America East Championship for the first time since 2006. UMBC knocked off regular-season champion and host Albany in the semifinals before falling to six-time defending champ Boston University in an 11-10 heartbreaker in the title game.
The Retrievers' win over the 19th-ranked Great Danes was their first postseason victory since 2003 while a member of the Northeast Conference. It was also the program's first win over a top-20 team since defeating No. 11 Boston U. on April 1, 2006.
UMBC finished with an 11-7 record in Berger's inaugural campaign, the most victories for the team since 2002 and the most wins for a first-year head coach in program history.
Berger's Retrievers were prolific on both ends of the field, ranking second in the conference in both goals per game (12.39) and goals-against average (8.85). In addition, freshman defender Jamie Fahey became the first Retriever ever to be named America East Rookie of the Year and the first UMBC freshman to be recognized on an IWLCA All-Region team.
"Kelly has done an outstanding job in her first year as head coach," Dr. Brown said. "The team achieved all of its preset goals and exceeded all expectations by getting to the championship game and losing to an outstanding Boston University squad by one goal. We think the best is yet to come."
Berger, 25, was named UMBC's fourth head coach on May 18, 2009, after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach for the Retrievers, making her one of the youngest Division I head coaches in the country.
Berger was a four-year starter at James Madison University, where she led the Dukes in scoring in each of her last three seasons and finished her career in 2007 ranking second all-time in career goals (184) and points (262). A highly decorated midfielder, Berger is a two-time IWLCA All-American, and she was named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year in 2006 and a Tewaaraton Trophy nominee in 2007. In addition, she has been involved with the U.S. National Team since 2005.
A native of nearby Columbia, Md., Berger graduated from James Madison in May 2007 with a degree in kinesiology with a concentration in sport management.