Kelly McCollum, a former standout player in the Northwestern field hockey program and a 1995 graduate of the University, is in her fifth season as head coach of the Wildcats.
In her first season, McCollum led the Wildcats to a 7-13 mark against one of the toughest schedules in the nation. NU began the year with a 4-0 record, and played games against three of the four NCAA semifinal squads.
In addition, Northwestern's 2004 record in the Big Ten was good enough for a fifth-place tie in the standings - the Wildcats' best finish since 2000. Individually, under McCollum's tutelage, Candice Cooper was named an NFHCA All-American, the first award since 1996.
In 2005, she again challenged her team with one of the toughest schedules in the nation, finishing 7-11 overall. The 2006 season was just as demanding as NU battled 12 ranked opponents. The Wildcats started the year strong with three wins in their first four contests, but ended with a record of 7-12.
McCollum continued to schedule quality competition in 2007, with seven games against opponents ranked nationally in the top 10. The Wildcats finished with a 4-14 mark, but the dynamic of their schedule bodes well for future success.
McCollum is the sixth head coach in the program's 25-year history. She replaced Marisa Didio, who retired following the 2003 campaign.
McCollum has influenced Northwestern's program on multiple levels. Under her tutelage, the program has been recognized for three-consecutive years as recipients of the NFHCA Division I National Academic Team Awards from 2005-07. She also competed on some of the greatest teams (1991-'94) the Wildcats ever fielded, before spending four years as Didio's top assistant from 2000-03. Prior to the 2003 season, McCollum was promoted to associate head coach.
As an athlete, McCollum captained the Wildcats' 1994 Big Ten champion field hockey team that advanced to the NCAA semifinal round and was ranked No. 1 for five consecutive weeks during the season. She was named to the Midwest Region All-America team and was an All-Big Ten selection in 1993 and 1994.
McCollum earned a degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern in 1995.
Prior to assuming coaching duties at NU, McCollum spent three years as an assistant coach at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., and two years as an assistant coach at the University of New Hampshire.
Since taking over as the head coach at NU, she has continued to stay involved in the development of field hockey outside of NU. McCollum has been involved with the Midwest High Performance Training Center, the U.S. Under-19 National Team and in the Futures program. She is also a master clinician for the Windy City winter club program.
In June 2008, McCollum took a huge stride in the field of women's coaching as a graduate of the Women Coaches Academy. The WCA was created in 2002 by the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics (CWA), and supports an initiative to train, support and retain women coaches.
In September of 2007, McCollum was inducted into the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame.