|Title:||Head Field Hockey Coach|
During the last two years, Gia Cillizza has led the CUA field
hockey program on its most successful run in its 42-year
history. The Cardinals won a school-record 17 games in both
seasons, captured the 2011 Landmark Conference championship, played
in their first NCAA Tournament (2011) and won the 2010 ECAC
2012 will mark Cillizza’s 11th year as head coach at CUA. During her time on the sideline, she has become the Cardinals’ winningest coach and elevated the program into one that is consistently nationally recognized.
In 2011, CUA reached new heights, winning its first conference championship and advancing to the second round in its NCAA Tournament debut. The Cardinals tied the school record for wins with 17, which included a perfect 6-0 march through the Landmark Conference regular season. CUA also earned its first-ever win over a team ranked No. 1 nationally, and the Cardinals received their first top-ten ranking in school history.
Eight Cardinals received All-Landmark Conference recognition, including Player of the Year Tracey Scanlon and Rookie of the Year Colleen Harwood. Cillizza and her staff were also recognized as the Coaching Staff of the Year.
In addition, a school-record five student-athletes were named All-Region, and Scanlon became the first-ever First Team All-American in program history. Mary Swarthout was also named an All-American, garnering Third Team honors.
Off the field, Cillizza’s team continued to excel with its academics, as the Cardinals received another National Team Academic Award from the NFHCA and 12 student-athletes were named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad. Six student-athletes received Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll accolades, including Scanlon and Swarthout, who both went on to be named Academic All-District and Academic All-American selections.
In 2010, Cillizza led the Cardinals to a then school-record 17 wins and the program’s first-ever ECAC Championship. She also earned her 100th career victory, becoming the first field hockey coach at CUA to accomplish the feat.
Cillizza and her staff have been named Landmark Coaching Staff of the Year on three occasions (2007, 2008, 2011) and Cillizza was honored as the Capital Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2006. During her tenure, she has coached seven of the program’s eight All-Americans, 19 All-Region selections, 48 All-Conference selections, three Conference Rookies of the Year, two Conference Defensive Players of the Year, two Conference Players of the Year and eight NFHCA All-Star Game participants. She has also coached several CUA Athletics Department award winners including Swarthout, Andrea Baick, Ro Dixon and Erin Swift (Donley Cup); Scanlon, Michele Repass, Jayme Dinsmore and Stephanie Roselle (Outstanding Senior Athlete) and Carley Walko, Kelly Burke and Kathleen Langan (Jone Dowd Role Model) as well as Megan Payne, who received the President’s Medal in 2007.
During Cillizza’s tenure the Cardinals have won four regular season titles (2006-08, 2011), played in six conference championship games (2005-08, 2010-11), and advanced to the ECAC post-season tournament six times (champion in 2010, runner up in 2008, semifinalist in 2005, 2006, 2009). They have also taken down several nationally ranked teams including No. 1 Salisbury in 2011, No. 8 Rowan in 2010, No. 4 Salisbury on the road in 2006, No. 15 Juniata in 2007, and No. 15 William Patterson in 2008, and earned ratings in the top 30 nationally from 2005-11, with its top poll ranking of No. 9 coming in 2011.
Cillizza began her career as head coach in 2002 after serving for three years as an assistant at CUA. In 2004 after a two-year stint as a part-time head coach, Cillizza left her career in publishing where she was an assistant production editor, reporter, and marketing manager for National Journal Group (now Atlantic Media) to follow her passion, full-time coaching.
Cillizza has coached at U.S. Field Hockey's National Futures Championship, served as a site director, selector and coach in the U.S. Field Hockey Futures development program, directed Revolution Field Hockey camp at CUA, and coached camps with the University of Maryland, Nike, Gateway Field Hockey, Cecil County Field Hockey and Archbishop Spalding High School. She has also served on various National Field Hockey Coaches Association and NCAA committees.
From 2006-10 Cillizza served as associate athletic director and senior woman administrator (SWA) at CUA. In this role she oversaw seven varsity programs, directed the department's major events and programs, mentored coaches and handled special projects and committees. She is working on a master's degree in psychology at CUA.
Cillizza is a 1998 graduate of Division I Miami University in Ohio where she was a four-year letter winner and twice earned a trip to the Mid-American Conference championships. She was elected co-captain of her team both junior and senior year and was a three-year starter at midfield and defense. She earned a bachelor's degree in English literature and journalism and was a reporter and editor for the university's newspaper.
A St. Louis, Mo., native, Cillizza was co-captain of the Visitation Academy 1993 Midwest Championship team, which finished an unblemished 21-0, and was named first team all-conference her junior and senior years. During high school she participated in the U.S. Futures program and played on all-star teams at the National Field Hockey Festival. Her background includes high school and club softball and soccer as well as musical theater and dance.
Cillizza, her husband, Chris, and two sons live in Falls Church, Va.