By Meaghan Cahill ’20
“We are excited to welcome Matt Kelly as head coach of our women’s ice hockey program,” Providence College Athletic Director Bob Driscoll announced on June 18. Kelly, the sixth coach in the history of the program, was hired after the abrupt firing of former Head Coach Bob Deraney, who had been with the program for 19 years.
The decision to replace Deraney came after the team was ousted from the Hockey East Tournament in Game 3 of the quarterfinal round by the University of Connecticut.
Kelly’s “extensive experience as a coach” began in 2008 when he was hired as the assistant coach for Clarkson University’s women’s ice hockey team. During his six years with the program, he helped the Golden Knights qualify for the ECAC playoffs six years in a row, claim three league titles, reach the NCAA Tournament three times, and win a National Championship in 2014.
Following his time at Clarkson, Kelly went on to become the assistant coach for Quinnipiac University for the 2007-2008 season after volunteering as an assistant coach for Wayne State University from 2006-2007, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
The former goaltender for the Wayne State Warriors took a break from coaching when he became a Head Scout for USA Hockey and the women’s national teams, which was the role he was serving in at the time of his hire. With the primary responsibility of overseeing and maintaining the player pools for the U-18, U-22, and women’s national teams, Kelly was the one responsible for assembling the team that won gold in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics—a feat that has not been accomplished by the U.S. in 20 years.
“As a scout for USA Hockey, he has continued to refine his skills as one of the top evaluators of talent in the women’s game,” Driscoll stated. “We look forward to the future of our women’s hockey program under Matt’s direction, competing for Hockey East championships, and returning our storied program to the national stage.”
Upon his hiring, Kelly commented, “I want to thank Father Shanley, Athletic Director Bob Driscoll, and Associate Athletic Director Kyle Murphy for this tremendous opportunity. The vision, support, and rich women’s hockey history at Providence College are second to none and my family and I are excited to be a part of the Friar family.”
Since he joined the program, Kelly brought Jake Anderson, the former assistant coach at Merrimack College; Alison Domenico, the former assistant coach at Syracuse University; and Doug Ferry, the team’s graduate assistant for the past two years onto his staff.
Kelly and his staff will not be the only new faces in Friartown this year. PC’s Softball Team will be welcoming in an entirely new coaching staff this season. In early July it was announced that Jill Karwoski will be the new head coach of the team.
Karwoski, who previously served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Friars during the 2012-2013 season, was acting as the head coach of the Quinnipiac softball team when she was picked up by Providence.
In the announcement of her hire, Driscoll said, “We are excited to have Jill come back to Friartown and lead our softball program. She has 10 years of head coaching experience and she has recruited at the highest level in the ACC. We believe we have one of the top facilities in the conference and with Jill’s leadership we can become one of the top programs in the Northeast and compete for the Big East title.”
Along with her experience at both PC and Quinnipiac, Karwoski served as the head coach at both Merrimack (2011-2012) and Morehead State University (2004-2007), and as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Boston College (2007-2011).
“I could not be more excited and grateful for this opportunity to return to Friartown as the next head softball coach,” Karwoski said. “I strongly believe Bob and I share a similar vision that success is built around strong core values, talented athletes, and dynamic students. Providence softball is rich in tradition, resources, and Friar pride. It is my mission to instill a championship mindset, which will lead to a promising future in the Big East.”
In regards to her plans for her first season with the team, Karwoski claims she will “hit the ground running and make an immediate impact.”
Since her own hire, Karwoski has announced that she will be bringing in Bree Nasti to join her as the team’s assistant coach.
Holding the single season national high school record with a .774 batting average, Nasti previously coached at Adelphi University for the past six seasons. While at Adelphi, Nasti led her team to the Northeast-10 Tournament Championship three times, as well as five NE-10 regular season Southwest Division titles. She also coached her team into six-straight NCAA Division II regional appearances, four NCAA Division II super regional appearance, and advanced to the NCAA Division II Women’s College World Series twice. As a result, Nasti and her staff were honored as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association East Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 2013, 2015, and 2016.
“I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to bring Bree to Friartown. Proven in her track record…I am confident she will be a positive influence and make an immediate impact on our program,” Karwoski stated on her hiring choice.
After a disappointing season last year that ended with a record of 13-32, all eyes will be on Karwoski and Nasti as they look to turn the program around.
With the extensive experience that each coach brings to the table, hopes are high for success in the 2018-2019 season for the women’s hockey and softball teams.