Cathy Nelson Reese
Head coach of perennial contending Terrapins, ACC coach of the year, All-America attacker, national champion player, NCAA all-tournament team selection, NCAA tournament outstanding player, team captain, North-South MVP, member of US Elite team, University of Maryland graduate, national champion assistant coach, generous clinician and promoter of lacrosse.
When Cathy Nelson arrived in College Park in the fall of 1994, this young athlete had already earned a career’s worth of accolades. An All-America attacker and North-South MVP from Mt. Hebron High School, she had led the Vikings to three Maryland state championships. There was more to come.
During her first stint the University of Maryland, Cathy spent nine seasons total, four as a varsity athlete and five as an assistant coach. During that span, the Terps won seven national championships. She did not lose in her first two seasons as a student- athlete, eventually winning 50-straight games without a loss. As a player, Cathy and her teammates amassed an incredible 75-4 record, as she went on to earn All-America honors in 1997 and 1998. A pivotal leader on the most dominant team of the 1990’s, she led the Terps to four national titles. As a senior, she was tabbed the NCAA Tournament most valuable player.
In her first three seasons as assistant coach, the Terps went 65-1 and Cathy learned both the science and art of coaching. She shared the sidelines with some of the most influential names in lacrosse: Cindy Timchal, Gary Gait, and former teammate Jen Adams. Along the way, she added another trio of national titles to her resume, before heading west in 2003.
Cathy returned to Maryland as head coach in 2007 after spending three seasons at the helm at the University of Denver. She guided the Pioneers to their most successful season in school history and earned league coach of the year honors. In her first season back with the Terps, Cathy led the team to a 16-4 record, including a first-place finish in the ACC at 4-1, earning her second conference coach of the year award. In her second season, the team again earned first-place honors in the conference with an 18-3 overall mark. In both seasons, the squad advanced to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals.
Cathy’s guidance produced more than just team success. In just two short years as head coach, her players were recognized as IWLCA midfielder of the year, Tewaaraton finalists (3 times), ACC players of the year (2 times), All-America selections (8 times), and All-ACC honorees (10 times).
Cathy has served the lacrosse community well. She serves on the NCAA lacrosse committee and selection committees for Tewaaraton, All-America, and North/South. She is chair of the Regional Advisory committee. She has promoted the game with many clinics and camp appearances.
Cathy and her husband Brian reside in Ellicott City with their three children, Riley, Brody, and Cayden.