RINDGE, N.H. (June 5, 2019) – Franklin Pierce University Director of Athletics Rachel Burleson has announced Hilary Duda has been named as the seventh head coach of the University’s women’s lacrosse program. A four-time All-Conference selection at the Division II level at Regis (Colo.) University, she will make her head coaching debut with the Ravens.
“Becoming a head coach has been my dream ever since I started coaching,” said Duda. “I am so honored that Rachel Burleson has chosen me to take over the women’s lacrosse program. My goal is to create a culture that will allow us to succeed and be competitive within the Northeast-10 Conference. I am eager to get started and can’t wait to begin this new chapter in my life.”
Though it will be her first opportunity as a head coach, it will be the third collegiate coaching stop overall for Duda, who heads to the East Coast for the first time in her career. Duda comes to Rindge immediately following a two-year stint as an assistant coach at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., which also competes at the Division II level. She joined the Wildcats in just the program’s second season (2018), and the 2019 squad captured the team’s first ever postseason berth, with a trip to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championship quarterfinal.
“When I came to visit the campus, right away I instantly felt welcome,” added Duda, speaking about Rindge. “Everyone seemed so supportive of each other and that was something that really made me want to join the Franklin Pierce family.”
Prior to her time in the Wolverine State, Duda spent one season (2017) as a graduate assistant coach at her alma mater of Regis University, in Denver. The Rangers took home the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) title and qualified for the NCAA Championship for the first time in school history during her lone season as the assistant coach.
“I am excited to welcome Hilary as the next head coach of our women’s lacrosse program,” said Burleson. “She brings with her an upbeat energy I believe our student-athletes will connect with immediately, and I look forward to watching both her and the program grow over the coming years.”
As mentioned above, Duda was a four-time All-Conference selection at Regis as a student-athlete, including back-to-back selections to the All-RMAC First Team as a junior and a senior. She piled up a team-leading 78 points on 31 goals and 47 assists as a senior in 2016, on the way to All-Region Second Team honors from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA). She finished her career with 214 points (121-93-214), which ranks fifth all-time in program history.
Arguably, Duda is one of the most important building blocks in the history of the Regis women’s lacrosse program, which began play in 2000. As a player, she was a part of the program’s first-ever RMAC title in 2014, as a junior, after helping the team earn the RMAC regular season crown for the first time as a freshman in 2012. As mentioned earlier, her year as an assistant coach saw the program earn its first ever NCAA Championship berth. Since her departure, the Rangers have gone on to back-to-back appearances in the national semifinal in 2018 and 2019, establishing a new high-water mark for the program.
Originally from Minnetonka, Minn., Duda was the first-ever “Miss Lacrosse” selection in the North Star State, in 2011. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Regis in 2015 and followed up with a master’s degree in coaching leadership from the institution in 2017. Duda will take the reins at Franklin Pierce on July 1 and take her initial foray into head coaching with the Ravens in spring of 2020.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (https://www.fpuravens.com). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics’ official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce lacrosse apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics’ online store (https://www.fpuravens.com/store).