Cellucci to remain as interim field hockey coach

Iowa all-time saves leader steps in for longtime former coach

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IOWA CITY — Iowa tabbed longtime associate Lisa Cellucci will serve as interim head coach of the women’s field hockey program this fall, Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta announced Wednesday.

Cellucci, a 1998 Iowa graduate, is Iowa’s all-time saves leader and competed for the U.S. national team in 1999 and 2000. She replaces longtime coach Tracey Griesbaum, who was fired Monday.

“Lisa Cellucci is fully prepared to lead our field hockey program,” Barta said in a statement. “She is well respected in the field hockey community, by our current student-athletes in our field hockey program, and by our former student-athletes. As a graduate of the UI and a three-time All-American at the UI, she is well aware of what is required to achieve at a high level at the UI, in the Big Ten Conference, and nationally.

“I have complete confidence in Lisa’s ability to lead the program. She shares my goals of successfully guiding the program through this difficult transition while providing our current student-athletes the absolute very best opportunity for success, competitively and academically, this year.”

Griesbaum, 48, was dismissed after a summer-long investigation led to allegations of verbal and mental abuse of former athletes. Griesbaum and her supporters vehemently deny the claims.

Celluci had served as Griesbaum’s assistant for the last 14 years. Celluci, who is a member of the board of directors for the National Iowa Varsity Club, described the situation as difficult.

“The last few days have been very emotional for me,” Cellucci said in a statement. “Tracey (Griesbaum) has been my coach, my mentor and best friend. I love the field hockey program at the University of Iowa. I am a product of this program, this university, and the Iowa City community.

“The tradition of excellence in play and care for our current and former student-athletes that has defined this program will continue to be my priority in the year ahead. The program that our student-athletes committed to is the program that will continue as long as I am privileged to be a coach at the University of Iowa.”

New assistant coach Michael Boal, a Sunderland, England, native, also will remain with the program. He served as an assistant at James Madison last year and coached at Virginia in 2012.

l Comments: (319) 339-3169; scott.dochterman@thegazette.com

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