Swords to Lead UC Women's Lacrosse

Feb. 16, 2007

CINCINNATI, Ohio--Lellie Swords, an assistant at Johns Hopkins University for the past six years, has been appointed head coach of the University of Cincinnati's first intercollegiate women's lacrosse program.

"We are excited to have secured a talented coach to lead the Bearcats," stated Director of Athletics Mike Thomas. "Lellie is held in high regard within the women's lacrosse community and will bring an outstanding knowledge of the sport to UC."

Swords helped Johns Hopkins build one of the premier women's lacrosse program's in the nation. The Blue Jays posted a 56-28 record during her time on the Baltimore campus. In 2003 and again in 2005, she directed a defense that was ranked in the top-10 nationally.

Swords mentored 2005 All-American Lacey-Leigh Hentz, who was a four-time first team All-American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) defender. This past season, sophomore Sarah Gallion earned second team All-ALC honors.

"I'm thrilled to join the University of Cincinnati athletics department," commented Swords. "The chance to build a program from the grassroots is very exciting. I would like to thank Mike Thomas and Bob Arkeilpane for giving me the opportunity to lead the women's lacrosse program. I am looking forward to joining the Bearcat family. I would also like to thank Janine Tucker and the Johns Hopkins community for their support."

Swords served as the defensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins and was promoted to associate head coach in the fall of 2006. She was a volunteer assistant for one season before being promoted to full-time status in August 2002.

After beginning her coaching career at George Mason, Swords moved on to Cornell where she worked primarily with the Big Red defense. During her three-year stay in Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell was ranked as high as No. 15 in the national polls and won the ECAC Championship in 2000.

In 2001 , Swords was an assistant coach at the St. Paul's School for Girls in Baltimore while concurrently serving as a volunteer assistant at Hopkins.

A four-year letter winner at James Madison, Swords started all 35 games over her final two seasons. She led the team in interceptions in each of her final two seasons and was awarded the squad's Unsung Hero Award in 1996. She also garnered Virginia I/South II honors as a senior.

The Cherry Hill, N.J. native graduated from JMU in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and minor in business. She continued her playing career on Team Toyota until retirement in 2005.

Swords' husband Kyle played professional soccer in the A-League with the Hershey Wildcats and Charleston Battery, and in the indoor league with the Harrisburg Heat and Baltimore Blast. He is a physical education teacher and the head varsity soccer coach at Loyola Blakefield. The Swords have three children, Ryanne, Killian and Jameson.

UC will be the eighth member institution in the BIG EAST to sponsor women's lacrosse: Connecticut, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Rutgers, Villanova and affiliate member Loyola-Maryland. Set to begin play in Spring 2008, Cincinnati will be eligible to compete for the BIG EAST championship in women's lacrosse in 2009.

Women's lacrosse is currently an active club level sport at the University of Cincinnati. The club team competes in the Women's Collegiate Lacrosse League (WCLL), which includes 39 colleges/universities in the Midwest, which are divided into six divisions. The WCLL is in its12th year of operation and the largest women's college club league in the country.