2023 IWLCA Outstanding Assistant Coaches Announced
The IWLCA has announced the 2023 Outstanding Assistant Coach awards for each Division. Kateri Linville (James Madison University), Sue Burmester (West Chester University), and Kelsey Howard (Colby College) will be recognized at the IWLCA Convention on November 15 for their achievements. The Outstanding Assistant Coach award recognizes an assistant coach from each Division who has made a distinct impact on the success of their program through hard work, commitment, dedication, and sportsmanship.
After assisting Head Coach Shelley Klaes to her sixth consecutive NCAA tournament in 2021, Linville was named the Associate Head Coach of the James Madison Dukes ahead of the 2022 season. Her four seasons on staff at JMU have been filled with great success and continued growth as she serves as the defensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator, community service coordinator, and academic skills liaison for the JMU women’s lacrosse team. In nominating Linville, Coach Klaes wrote, “Kateri’s impact is obvious and ongoing. She loves what she does and strives to be the ultimate professional in every capacity. Kateri has been charged to improve our team’s ability to lead as champions off the field, in communities, and in classrooms just as we do on the field. Her attention to detail and her ability to manage our entire roster has sparked a surge of improvement in all facets of character development within our program at JMU.”
Linville helped JMU to its best defensive season in 2023, marking a 7.86 scoring defense and holding 17 of 22 opponents to single-digit goals. Linville’s defense featured a pair of All-Americans in Mariead Durkin and Rachel Matey, who respectively led the roster in caused turnovers and ground balls. Her defense limited opponent shots all year, allowing just 22.2 shots per game.
"The IWLCA is an amazing organization," Linville stated. "It is an honor to be recognized amongst so many outstanding fellow coaches. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to love what I do and do what I love, especially at James Madison University. The support from our administration, coaching staff, team, alumnae, families, and fans is truly special. A sincere thank you to my family, teammates, coaches, and colleagues across the years, who have stood in front, behind, and alongside me on my coaching journey – this honor is shared with everyone who took the time to believe in me. It is my hope that I can pay that forward every day, every way."
In addition to influencing the JMU program positively, Linville has also shown a dedication to the IWLCA organization where she has been Chair of the Education committee and serves on the IWLCA Player of the Week committee. She is also a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at JMU.
Burmester has been a member of the West Chester University coaching staff since the Fall of 2004. Alongside Head Coach Ginny Martino, Burmester directed the Golden Rams to an NCAA Division II National Championship Game appearance with an overall record of 22-1 at the end of the 2023 season, marking the best record in the country in Division II. The 22 wins also tied the NCAA Division II record for a single season. “West Chester, honestly, would not be where they are or who they are without her,” stated Coach Martino in her nomination for Burmester. “I look to her to carry a lot of the weight in running our program. She is a tremendous help with recruiting, gameday operations, leadership activities and even serves as academic support to our players. The team has gone 284-51 (184-17 PSAC) in her 18 years as an assistant. With her running our defense, we have developed a great system in which our program has found a lot of success. She works incredibly hard and goes beyond what is expected of an assistant coach.”
Burmester was a part of the 2023 Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Her defensive guidance landed Golden Rams numerous performance accolades including Jessica Gorr’s Goalie of the Year and First-Team All-American honors (IWLCA and USA Lacrosse), as well as defender Grace Frasso’s Second Team All-America honors (IWLCA and USA Lacrosse). Burmester continues to add to the Golden Rams’ success over the years as she has been a part of 10 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships, a National Title in 2008, and nine National Championship game appearances.
“I am absolutely honored to receive this award,” stated Burmester. “I am blessed to have been a part of the WCU lacrosse program for the past 18 years, working alongside the GOAT, Ginny Martino. It is commendable the IWLCA recognizes the hard work and dedication that assistant coaches bring to the success of their program.”
Howard dedicated five years to the Colby College Women’s Lacrosse program where she has played a pivotal role in developing the offense, while also assisting in critical areas such as goalkeeping, the Draw, and the midfielder position. She took control of play-calling duties and developed scouting reports while also assisting in recruiting.
Head Coach Karen Henning wrote in her nomination for Howard, “Kelsey has been an incredible coach these past five years. She was involved in every aspect of the program from top to bottom. Kelsey did whatever I needed but more importantly whatever each individual player needed so that they could become the best player and person they could be. The best way to describe her is compassionate and competitive and I was blessed to have her for as long as I did.”
“To say I am humbled and honored to be recognized for this award is an understatement, and to me, there are truly so many people in my life who are the real reason for this award," stated Howard when notified about her honor. "I am so grateful to all the players I have had the privilege of coaching and all the people I have had the pleasure to be able to coach alongside. They have made my journey a true joy and blessing. Growing up my dad always told me to love what I do and if I did that, I would never work a day in my life. And all my time coaching, I have realized he was absolutely right.”
Howard was the first Assistant Coach to ever be promoted to Assistant Head Coach at Colby College in 2023. After finishing last year (14-6, 7-3 NESCAC), Colby had three IWLCA All-American honorees and two US Lacrosse All-Americans. Since then, Howard has transitioned into a new role as an Assistant Coach at Stanford University and will kick off her first season at The Farm in the Spring of 2024.
The 2023 IWLCA Convention will be held November 15-17 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Photo courtesy of James Madison Athletics.
Photo courtesy of West Chester Athletic Communications.
Photo courtesy of Colby College Athletics.