“I am pleased to announce an extension for Coach Puzo,” said Sayler. “We have had a lot of success with the program the past two years in winning our first two MAC Tournament Championships and going to the our first NCAA Tournament. Going forward we believe Coach Puzo can take the Miami field hockey team to unprecedented heights.”
Puzo will be entering his fourth season as the RedHawks’ field hockey head coach in 2014. In 2012, he was named Mid-American Coach of the Year after leading Miami to a share of the MAC regular season championship, as well as its first ever MAC Tournament Championship crown. In 2013, Puzo’s ‘Hawks repeated as MAC Tournament champs, and made their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
In three years under Puzo, 10 student-athletes have won a total of 14 All-MAC honors, while four different athletes have won All-Region honors the past two seasons. Puzo saw forward Olivia Miller win MAC Player of the Year and midfielder Bea Dechant win MAC Freshman of the Year in 2012. Dechant also earned MAC Tournament MVP that year, while back Ali Froede took home MAC Tournament MVP honors in 2013.
Puzo has made academic success at Miami a top priority. Five student-athletes have won a total of eight spots on the MAC All-Academic Team, while an incredible 15 student-athletes have won a total of 20 spots on the SGI / NFHCA Collegiate National Academic Squad in his first two seasons (the 2013-14 team will be released in March). In 2013, goalkeeper Sarah Mueller and Dechant were honored as Scholars of Distinction by the NFHCA for having a cumulative GPA of 3.90 or higher through the first semester of the 2012-13 academic year. The team as a whole has earned the SGI / NFHCA Collegiate National Academic Team award in each of Puzo’s first two seasons, and expects to receive that honor again for this season after recording a GPA of 3.44 this fall.
“Life is great at Miami for me and for my family,” said Puzo. “We are in a fantastic place surrounded by good people. Under these conditions, it is easy for me to commit to this program for the next five years. I enjoy what I am doing and I am getting the support I need to help the field hockey program excel in the academic and the athletic arenas. We have accomplished important goals in my first three years as head coach, and we are willing to accept new challenges. We will continue working to establish a program that can compete every year for championships while maintaining high academic standards. Our mission is to help our athletes to become good citizens. We have done it for three years and we are dedicated to keep doing it.
“I am very thankful to Miami University, David Sayler and Jennie Gilbert for the support I get here every day to succeed and for the opportunity they are giving me to keep doing it.”