Leslie LaFronz has been the head coach of the Kean University field hockey program for nine years entering the 2018 season. She has won 120 games at Kean and qualified for the postseason in every year but one during her time in Union.
2017 proved to be a banner season for Kean field hockey. The Cougars were ranked as high as No. 8 nationally with a program record 21 wins that included their first NJAC Regular Season Title and their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars tallied a program record 15 game winning streak with 12 shutouts and four victories over nationally ranked opponents. LaFronz earned Coach of the Year honors from the NJAC and ECAC with five All-NJAC selections and two NFHCA All-Americans.
The program posted arguably its best season in history in 2016 with a school-best 18-4 record. The team was ranked as high as No. 16 nationally. LaFronz was named the NJAC Coach of the Year and the team set another program record by winning 14-straight games at the start of the season. Each of Kean's losses came against teams ranked in the Top-20. The Cougars advanced to the ECAC Championship final.
LaFronz guided the Cougars to 14 wins in 2015, the fourth-most ever by a Kean squad. Senior Marissa Robinson was an All-American on the field and an academic All-American as well. She is the third All-American in Kean program history. Krista LaMaina smashed the team’s scoring record and the Cougars won both the Connie Harnum Classic and Wilson College Invitational in 2015.
The program enjoyed one of the most accomplished years in its history in 2013. The Cougars won 15 games with a .750 winning percentage; both tied for the second-best marks in the history of the program. Kean also tied a school-record with eight shutouts and for a long stretch of the season the Cougars were the No. 1 statistical defense in the NCAA. Kean hosted all three rounds of the ECAC Tournament.
The Cougars consistently rank among the best in the country in numerous NCAA statistical categories year in and year out.
LaFronz was tabbed as the head coach of the Kean field hockey program in the fall of 2009. She came to Kean with over 20 years of coaching experience at the high school, club and collegiate levels. She most recently served as the head coach of both the field hockey and women's lacrosse programs at Ramapo College from 2003-2008. Prior to her time at Ramapo, she spent 10 years as the varsity head coach at Wayne Valley High School and was named the County Coach of the Year on four occasions. In addition to her coaching duties, LaFronz was the athletic academic coordinator for Division I Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan from 1992-1999.
LaFronz is a member of the College Conversation Subcommitee of espnW; espnW connects young women with the sports they love and follow. It is ESPN’s first dedicated content and digital business initiative designed to serve, inform and inspire female athletes and fans.
As a full-scholarship student-athlete at Northwestern University, LaFronz competed in the NCAA Division I tournament all four seasons as a field hockey player and for two seasons while playing women's lacrosse. Her field hockey team advanced all the way to the Final Four in 1984 and she was a First-Team All-Big Ten defender for the Wildcats.
LaFronz currently owns Rapid Fire Field Hockey, a year-round field hockey business that assists in the development of the youth, including summer camps, instructional clinics and league play. In 2012, Rapid Fire introduced beach hockey events, the first of their kind in the United States.
LaFronz earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Northwestern University in 1985 and is a Level 2 USA Certified Coach.
|Title:||Assistant Coach/Goalie Specialist|
Cliff Odendo returns for his fifth season as an assistant for the Cougars. Odendo played professionally in Italy for 10 years (1997-2007) in Sardinia and Bologna and played over 200 games between the pipes for Kenya’s national team as a former captain.
Odendo won the Italian Indoor Championship with CUS-Bologna in 2010 and was voted the Most Valuable Player in the Kenyan Hockey League three consecutive years from 1997-1999 and was the 1997 MVP of the African Club Championship where his team won the gold medal the next season.
Internationally, Odendo won both silver and bronze medals with Kenya at the Africa Cup, won a bronze medal at the Olympic Qualifier when Kenya hosted the tournament in Nairobi in 2007.
Odendo has coached at numerous levels internationally, is a Level 2 USA Certified Coach, was a member of the staff of the Rapid Fire Camp at Kean University and is also a qualified field hockey umpire.
Lopes enters her fifth overall season with the field hockey program in 2018, after last coaching with the Cougars in 2016.
Most recently, Lopes was a coach for the Ridge High School JV squad in 2017.
A four-year starter on the field hockey team, Lopes - then known by her maiden name Olivia Triano - became the first player in program history to earn National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association First-Team All-American honors and became just the second player in Kean history to participate in the NFHCA Division III Senior All-Star Game. The 2010 and 2011 New Jersey Athletic Conference Midfielder of the Year, she played in 70 career games, recording 59 goals and 147 points, both second in school history. Despite a two-year hiatus from the game, she was a three-time NJAC first-team all-star and two-time All-American and concluded her career tied for the all-time assist mark with 29.
Lopes also played for two seasons on the women’s basketball team as she recorded 130 points to go along with 44 rebounds, 17 steals and 34 assists.
Lopes, a two-time Kean University D’Angola Female Athlete of the Year award winner, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education from Kean in 2012 and earned her Master of Arts degree in Special Education from Kean in the Spring of 2014.
Lopes is currently a full-time teacher at the William Annin Middle School.
Carly Celkos joins the Cougar staff for her second season in 2018.
Celkos comes to Kean after a four year career at Penn State University where she played in 70 games. She compiled three goals and eight assists from her midfield position and was apart of two Big Ten championships. Off the field she was a member of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-Academic Squad in all of her four seasons.
In addition to her time at Penn State, she was a member of the 2013 U-19 National Touring Team, a member of the U-17 National Team and the U-19 National Team, competed in the U-17 Canada Tour, the National Futures Championship (2007-11), the Futures Elite Tournament (2012) and the Junior Olympics (2010-11). Celkos was a four-year varsity letterwinner for Eastern High School, helping the squad to its 14th consecutive State Group Four Title, as well as its 14th Sectional Championship and 14th Conference Championship.
She is currently training with the Elite High Performance squad with aspirations for the US National Team.
Celkos earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services from Penn State in 2017 and is pursuing her Master of Science degree in Occupation Therapy from Kean.
Patrone joins the Cougar staff for his first season in 2018.
Patrone recently graduated from Holy Family University in 2018 with a B.S. in Nursing. He is currently studying for his Nursing Boards.
Patrone is a coach with Spirit of USA Field Hockey Club, based in South Jersey.
He was a member of the US U-21 Men's Field Hockey team from 2009-2015 and a member of the US U-21 Men's Indoor Field Hockey team in 2014-2015. During his time with the national time, Patrone has earned numerous awards including a 2010 Junior Pan/Am Cup Sliver Medalist, US U-21 Men's 2014 Dek Hockey Team Bronze Medalist and US U-21 Men's 2017 Dek Hockey team Bronze Medalist.
Patrone is also the older brother of current field hockey student-athlete Jenna Patrone.
Former Cougar Julie Knodt joins the Kean University field hockey coaching staff for her first season on the sidelines in 2018 as a Graduate Assistant. Knodt earned a B.A. in Communications from Kean in 2014.
Most recently, Knodt coached with the Mount Laurel field hockey and lacrosse recreation teams from 2014-18.
As a player, Knodt was a four-year member of both the Kean University field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams. On the field hockey team, she finished with 23 points on nine assists and seven goals in 55 starts. On the lacrosse team, she totaled 151 points on 107 goals and 44 assists, including 99 groundballs, 41 draw controls, and 35 caused turnovers.
Knodt is currently pursuing her M.B.A in Global Business at Kean.