August 24, 2009

Four-Time All-American Jillian Byers Joins Yale Coaching Staff

Attacker Was a Finalist for Tewaaraton Trophy and Honda Sports Award at Notre Dame

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Jillian Byers, who was a finalist for the Honda Sports Award and the Tewaaraton Trophy as the top college women's lacrosse player in 2009, has joined the Yale staff as an assistant coach. A four-time All-American, Byers graduated from Notre Dame this past May as the Fighting Irish's all-time leading scorer. An attacker, her 262 career goals place her fourth in NCAA history.

Byers joins Brigid Strain, who coached the Yale defense to the 13th-best goals-allowed-per-game average in the country last year, as the assistant coaches for Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. Phillips is entering her second season in New Haven.

"I am really excited that Jill has accepted the position as assistant coach in our program," said Phillips. "Jill is one of the top attackers in the game and an extraordinary offensive mind.  She will help to make our attackers the best offensive players they can be.  We are fortunate to bring such an outstanding instructor, role model and mentor to the Yale women's lacrosse program."

Byers scored a team-record 83 goals this past season, finishing second in the country in goals and third in points (111). She also set the Notre Dame single-season draw control record with 55. In addition to being the school's all-time leading scorer she also leads in points (336, 10th in NCAA history), draw controls (154) and games played (76).

"I am absolutely ecstatic about joining the Yale women's lacrosse program," said Byers. "Yale's reputation academically and athletically is exceptional and it is an incredible honor to be a part of such a well-respected institution.  I look forward to working with Coach Phillips and Coach Strain as well as the Yale student-athletes to take this program to the highest level of college lacrosse."

 Byers was Notre Dame's captain and MVP this past season, leading the Fighting Irish to a 16-5 record, a Big East Tournament Championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance, the third NCAA appearance in Byers' four years. The team advanced to the Final Four in 2006, the first round in 2008 and the second round in 2009. Overall Notre Dame was 54-22 during her tenure. 

 Byers, who earned three second-team All-America honors and one first team honor in her career, was a unanimous first team All-Big East selection four times. She was named Big East co-attack player of the year her senior year, when she led the conference in goals (a record 31 in conference play) and was second in points (42). She is the Big East's all-time leading scorer with 78 career goals. Her 12 points in an Apr. 18 win over UConn this past year (seven goals, five assists) are a Big East single-game record.

 Byers was selected to the U.S. Lacrosse Developmental Team earlier this month. This is the second straight year she has made the roster for that team, which is designed as a feeder program for the U.S. National Team.

 A native of Northport, N.Y., Byers attended Northport High, where she played basketball, lacrosse and soccer. She led all three teams to Suffolk County League titles all four years, captaining the lacrosse and soccer teams. She also played club lacrosse for the Long Island Elite Club Program the Yellow Jackets.

 Byers was a film, television and theatre major at Notre Dame, minoring in theology. She was a three-time Academic All-Star Team selection and was a Rosenthal Leadership Academy Leader of Distinction Award winner in her senior year. She also took part in the Read to a Child program as a mentor.

 

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity