Hilary Witt is in her ninth season at Yale, and eighth as head coach, having overseen a historic turnaround in the program. The team's 63 wins in her first five seasons as head coach are one more than Yale had in the 13 seasons prior to her arrival combined. Yale made the ECAC playoffs for seven straight seasons with her on the staff. The 2007-08 squad broke the school record for goals in a season with 96 and finished with the second-most wins in school history, 15. The Bulldogs also claimed their first Nutmeg Classic championship, beating UConn and Quinnipiac in the annual tournament pitting rivals from Connecticut against each other.
Witt joined the Bulldogs as an assistant coach in 2001-02 before moving up to the head coach role the following season. She was named ECAC Women's Coach of the Year in 2002-03, leading Yale to what was then a school-record five conference wins. In 2003-04 the Bulldogs broke that mark with eight wins and tied the school record for overall wins (12) -- marks that fell again the following year. The 2004-05 squad set the school record for overall wins (16) and conference wins (12), earning a trip to the ECAC semifinals for the first time. With Yale's 3-0 win over Vermont on Feb. 19, 2005, Witt became Yale's all-time leader in wins. During Witt's time Yale has had three NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge selections, three NEHWA Division I All-Star team selections, one first team All-ECAC selection, three second team All-ECAC selections and three ECAC All-Rookie selections. In 2007-08, the team earned the ECAC's Turfer Award for sportsmanship.
The Bulldogs have also maintained a standard of academic excellence under Witt. Yale has had a total of 106 ECAC All-Academic honorees in Witt's eight years as head coach. The Bulldogs also have had three finalists for the ECAC Student-Athlete of the Year Award (Kelsey Johnson '07 and Danielle Kozlowski '09 (twice)). Yale has an Academic All-Ivy League selections in each of the last six years.
In addition to academic excellence the Bulldogs have also been heavily involved in community service during Witt's tenure, participating in numerous fund-raisers and events with local youths. In 2007 Kristin Savard '07 won the Hockey Humanitarian Award and was honored in a ceremony at the NCAA men's ice hockey Frozen Four for founding "Teaming Up," a charity designed to raise funds and awareness for maternal health issues in South Africa. Savard and Erika Hockinson '04 both earned Yale's Thomas W. Ford '42 Community Outreach Award under Witt's watch. Crysti Howser '09 was a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award in 2009.
Witt has also helped expand Yale's presence on the international level. Witt, who played for the U.S. Women's National Team in 2001, earned a pair of silver medals as an assistant coach for the U.S. at the 2006 Four Nations Cup and the 2007 IIHF World Championship. One of the players on Team USA for both of those events was defenseman Helen Resor '09, who achieved a milestone when she was selected to play for Team USA in the 2006 Olympics. Resor was the first Bulldog to achieve that status, and when she won a bronze medal she became the first Yale hockey player of either gender to earn a medal since five Bulldog men won silver with Team USA in 1932.
Witt has coached at numerous USA Hockey camps. Resor, junior forward Crysti Howser and forward Sheila Zingler '07 gave the Bulldogs three players at the 2007 USA Hockey Women's National Festival, meaning that the 2006-07 Yale team tied for the most representatives at the camp among all ECAC schools.
A 2001 graduate of Northeastern and a member of the Huskies' Hall of Fame, Witt completed her senior season in 1999-2000, leading the team in goals (30), assists (24) and points (54). She earned her third Patty Kazmaier Award finalist spot that year and was ranked among the top 10 scorers in the ECAC in all offensive categories. During the year, Witt was invited to play for the United States Select Team but turned down the honor because she felt a captain should not desert her team in the middle of the season. She led the Huskies in scoring in three of her four seasons and finished her career as Northeastern's all-time leader in goals and points (113-94-207) in 139 games. During her four-year career Northeastern went 100-31-11 and made the post-season every year, including an ECAC championship in 1996-97. Witt was named tournament MVP that year. Northeastern also won the Beanpot tournament twice.
A communications major at NU, Witt graduated from Canton (Mass.) High School in 1996. She is a member of the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Beanpot Hall of Fame in 2010.