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Helen Knull
Helen  Knull

Head Coach



Michigan State Field Hockey vs. Kent State

Photos from Michigan State's 5-1 win over Kent State on September 6, 2015. Photo Credit: Matthew Mitchell.


Big Ten Champions

MSU rallied back to defeat Iowa 3-2 and win the Big Ten Tournament.


No. 15 Michigan State vs. No. 13 Iowa

Michigan State field hockey faces Iowa at Ralph Young Field in its first Big Ten game of the 2012 season.


No. 19 MSU vs. Louisville

Michigan State won 2-1 in OT against Louisville in the final round of the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational.


No. 20 Michigan State vs. No. 6 Virginia

Michigan State match against Virginia on Friday, Sept. 7 at Ralph Young Field. The Spartans fell in double-overtime 2-1.

Helen Knull concluded her sixth season as head coach of the Michigan State field hockey program in 2016. She was hired as head coach on Dec. 27, 2010 after serving as an assistant and associate head coach for five years. Her overall record on staff for the Spartans is 128-102 and she holds a 54-68 record as head coach.

"Helen is an enthusiastic and energetic individual, and we are thrilled that we could elevate her into the position of head coach," said MSU athletic director Mark Hollis of the hire. "Helen has helped build and maintain what has become a winning tradition at Michigan State in our field hockey program. The program has seen unparalleled success over the last decade, and we are confident that making Helen Knull our head coach will continue that success into the future."

The 2016 season saw the Spartans go 8-12 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten. MSU faced a slew of tough opponents, facing nine ranked opponents in the 18-game schedule. Kendal Anderson and Simone Vagnoni had successful junior seasons, as both were named Second Team All-Big Ten and NFHCA All-West Second Team. 14 members of the 2016 squad were Academic All-Big Ten selections.

MSU had its best season under Knull in 2013. Overcoming a slow start, the team finished 14-10, highlighted by a Big Ten Tournament Championship and Elite 8 appearance. The Spartans won seven of their final nine games, including NCAA Tournament victories over Miami (Ohio) and regional host and second-seeded Syracuse, snapping the Orange's 45-game win streak at home.

Knull was named the NFHCA West Region Coach of the Year, becoming the third coach in program history to earn the honor. Three players were named to the NFHCA West All-Region Team and five players were named to All-Big Ten teams. Abby Barker was a Third Team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten selection.

In addition to the on field success by the program in 2013, the Spartans excelled in the classroom as well. MSU was the recipient of the 2013 Gladiator by SGI / NFHCA Division I National Academic Team Award on top of having 13 student-athletes named to the 2013 Gladiator by SGI / NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad, recognizing them for their individual effort in the classroom. Nine of Knull's players were also named to the Academic All-Big Ten Team.

Kristen Henn became the third field hockey player in program history to be named the Big Ten's Medal of Honor winner, the conference's most exclusive award to recognize academic and athletic excellence.

The 2012 season was highlighted by many achievements both on and off the field, as the Spartans went 10-10 in Knull's second season as head coach. Abby Barker was named to the First Team All-Big Ten, while Kristen Henn and Becky Stiles were Second Team selections. Barker and Stiles were also named as 2012 Longstreth /National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I First Team All-West Region selections. Barker was then recognized nationally as a 2012 Longstreth /National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I Second-Team All-American. Two of Knull's players were also selected to play at the USA Field Hockey 2013 Women's National Championship.

During Knull's first season as head coach in 2011, the team tallied a season record of 7-13-0. Off the field, Corey Block was presented the President's Award at the Spartan Academic Excellence Gala. The award is given to the male and female graduating senior with the highest cumulative GPA. The team was recognized with the 2012 SGI/NFHCA Division I National Academic Team Award. The NFHCA also recognized nine athletes from the field hockey team to its National Academic Squad and senior Corey Block as a Scholar of Distinction. 13 members of the team were Academic All-Big Ten selections for the fall of 2012.

On the field, three Spartans earned NFHCA All-Region honors, while two of them also picked up second team All-Big Ten accolades under Knull's first year as head coach. In the classroom, MSU earned the NFHCA Collegiate National Academic Team Award, while 11 Spartans received NFHCA Academic honors, 10 were Academic All-Big Ten and three were Big Ten Distinguished Scholars.

Prior to being named head coach, Knull served as an assistant coach on the Rolf van de Kerkhof's Spartan staff from 2006-10, and was elevated to the title of Associate Head Coach in the spring of 2010. In the seasons in East Lansing before being named head coach, she helped the Spartans compile a 74-34 overall record, including an 33-10 mark in the last two seasons combined. In 2009, the Spartans won the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles, becoming only the second school in Big Ten history to finish the regular season and tournament play unbeaten. The Green and White also advanced to the NCAA Tournament four straight times (2007-10).

Knull arrived in East Lansing in 2006 from Kent State, where she served as an assistant coach for two years and as an associate head coach during her last season at her alma mater (2005). Knull was a four-year starter, two-year captain and a two-time All-American at Kent State, leading the Golden Flashes to the NCAA Tournament four straight years (1999-2002). In 2002, Knull was named Mid-American Conference Player of the Year. She was inducted into the Kent State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.

As a coach, Knull helped guide the Golden Flashes to two Mid-American Conference championships (2003, 2005), cultivating the development of two Freshmen of the Year and one MAC Player of the Year. In addition to her experience at Kent State, Knull has worked as a Regional Coaching Director for Region Nine of the United States Field Hockey Futures Program. As Regional Coaching Director, Knull oversees the training sites and coaching development in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Western Pennsylvania.

While growing up in Scotland, Knull played on the National U-16 and U-18 teams before coming to the United States for college. Knull earned a degree in sport management with a minor in coaching from Kent State in 2003, completing a master's degree in sport management in 2004. Knull obtained a Level II coaching accreditation through USA Field Hockey in November 2008.

Knull and her husband, Justin, have a daughter, Grace, and a son, Calum. The family resides in Laingsburh.

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