Dec. 27, 2010
East Lansing, Mich. - Athletics Director Mark Hollis has announced the appointment of Helen Knull to the position of head coach of the Michigan State Field Hockey program. Knull, who has served on the Spartan staff the last five years, replaces Rolf van de Kerkhof, who recently accepted the head coaching position at Delaware.
"Helen is an enthusiastic and energetic individual, and we are thrilled that we could elevate her into the position of head coach," said Director of Athletics Mark Hollis. "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."
"I would like to thank Mark Hollis and the Michigan State University administration for the opportunity they have given me to lead the Spartan Field Hockey Program," noted Knull. "I could not be more excited to be continuing my coaching career, and more importantly starting my Head Coaching career, at Michigan State. The past five years as an Assistant Coach and Associate Head Coach have prepared me well, and I am ready to take the reins of the Spartan program. I am excited to continue with some old traditions and also build many new ones within the Spartan program."
Knull has announced that she will be joined on the MSU staff by assistant coach Molly Maloney, who will remain in her current role. Maloney recently completed her third season on the Spartan sideline. A search for an assistant coach to complete the staff will begin shortly after the new year.
Knull served as the assistant coach on the Spartans' staff for the past five seasons, and was elevated to the title of Associate Head Coach in the spring of 2010. In her five years in East Lansing, she has 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 have also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in four consecutive seasons.
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 as a coach 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.
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. She and her husband, Justin, have a daughter, Grace, and are expecting a second child in the spring. .