Already a legend in the game as a player, Kelly Amonte Hiller has established herself as one of the sport’s greatest coaches after building Northwestern Lacrosse into a dynasty. In May of 2005, Amonte Hiller etched her name in the annals of college athletics when she guided her upstart Northwestern team to an undefeated season and the first NCAA Lacrosse Championship ever won by a team outside the Eastern Time Zone, the first of an incredible seven national titles.
After resurrecting a Northwestern program that had not competed at the varsity level in more than 10 years, Amonte Hiller led the Wildcats to the national semifinals 10 years in a row from 2005 to 2014 and tied an NCAA record with eight consecutive title game appearances in the process. Northwestern’s dominance since its breakthrough 2005 season has been nothing short of legendary. Since 2004, Northwestern has gone 49-11 (.817) in the NCAA Tournament, making Amonte Hiller the winningest coach in Tournament history.
Along the way, Amonte Hiller has produced the nation’s Tewaaraton Award winner in five different seasons as well as the Honda Sports Award recipient on seven occasions. Additionally Northwestern has featured 61 IWLCA All-Americans and won a total of 11 IWLCA positional Player of the Year awards (two attacker, five midfielder and four defender).
Northwestern’s rapid rise to national prominence under Amonte Hiller — particularly in an area of the country rarely associated with women’s lacrosse. In 2011, ESPN The Magazine named Amonte Hiller one of the 20 best recruiters across all college sports, joining the likes of other multiple-time NCAA champion coaches Mike Krzyzewski of Duke (men’s basketball) and Anson Dorrance of North Carolina (women’s soccer). In 2012, the Big Ten Network profiled the NU head coach as one of 12 Big Ten coaching icons in the conference’s history, putting her in the company of Big Ten legends such as Bobby Knight (Indiana), Bo Schembechler (Michigan) and Dan Gable (Iowa).
Amonte Hiller’s stunning success as the architect of the Northwestern Lacrosse program comes on the heels of one of the most outstanding playing careers the sport has ever seen. The Massachusetts native won back-to-back national player of the year awards while starring for the University of Maryland, and continued her career as a standout for the United States National Team for nearly a decade. In 2012, Amonte Hiller reached the pinnacle of her sport when she was inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame in recognition of her achievements as a player.
At Maryland, Amonte Hiller was a four-time All-American in lacrosse and the school’s all-time record holder for career goals (187), assists (132) and points (319). In addition, she earned All-America accolades in soccer for the Terrapins and was named the ACC Female Athlete of the Year in 1996 for all sports. She graduated from Maryland in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication.