Having led Miami to two consecutive Mid-American Conference Championships, head coach Iñako Puzo returns for his fourth year in charge of the RedHawk field hockey program.
Last season the RedHawks went 7-12 overall and finished third in the MAC with a 4-2 record. The team lost in the semifinals of the MAC Tournament to end a two-year run of winning the conference. During the season Miami played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country playing a school-record seven ranked teams in the non-conference. On Sept. 20 against Appalachian State Puzo's RedHawks rewrote the school record book posting 10 goals, a nine-point winning margin and 34 shots in the 10-1 rout of the Mountaineers.
In 2013, Miami was 12-10 overall and 3-2 in the MAC. For the second straight season, the RedHawks went on to win the MAC Tournament Championship, taking a 2-0 victory over Central Michigan in the championship game. The win gave the Red and White its first berth in the NCAA Tournament in school history. Miami traveled to Michigan State for the play-in round, where it fell, 3-0.
At the conclusion of the 2013 season, Puzo was rewarded for his success with a five-year extension that takes him through the 2018-19 season.
“I am pleased to announce an extension for Coach Puzo,” said Miami Athletic Director David 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.”
In 2012, the RedHawks finished 12-10 overall and tied for the MAC regular season title with a 4-1 record. Hosting the conference tournament, Miami defeated Kent State, 2-1, in the championship game winning the MAC Tournament title for the first time in school history. The RedHawks advanced to take on No. 12 Stanford in an NCAA Play-In game, taking an early lead before falling, 4-1.
For his efforts, Puzo was named the MAC Coach of the Year, while he saw senior Olivia Miller win MAC Player of the Year and freshman Bea Dechant win MAC Freshman of the Year. In his three seasons at Miami, 10 different players have won a total of 14 All-MAC awards. That includes tying a record with six All-MAC selections during the 2013 season. The team has also seen significant success in the classroom, as the RedHawks have won a total of three team and 34 individual academic honors from the National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association.
"I have enjoyed my time here at Miami," said Puzo. "It is great to be associated with such a prosperous academic institution. This is a great place for my family and I am looking forward to many more successful years in Oxford.”
Prior to his time at Miami, Puzo spent the previous two seasons as the associate head coach at Virginia, where he helped lead the Cavaliers to the NCAA Semifinals in 2009 and 2010. Virginia had an overall record of 28-8 and was ranked in the top-10 nationally every week during his time there.
Prior to his time at Virginia, Puzo was the head coach of CD Terrassa, which plays in the Honor Spanish Division, the top division in Spain and one of the top men's field hockey leagues in the world. He also was an assistant coach at Ohio State from 2001-07, helping lead the Buckeyes to two Big Ten Championships (2001 and 2006) and three appearances in the NCAA Tournament (2001, 2005 and 2006). He began his collegiate coaching career at American University, where he was an assistant from 1997-99.
Outside of the college game, Puzo was involved with the United States Field Hockey Association’s High-Performance Developmental Program for the past three years. He coordinated the Mid-Atlantic Junior High-Performance team in 2010 and 2011. He led the team to a Futures Elite Championship in 2012.
Puzo was a 21-year member of the Venezuelan National Team (1988-2008). He earned over 150 caps for playing in international competition and served as the team's captain during the 1992 Junior Pan-Am Games, the 2000 World Cup Qualifier and the 2006 Central American Games. He served as the Venezuelan National Federation's technical director of both the men's and women's teams from 1996-97 and again from 1999-01.
Puzo earned his bachelor's degree in international relations from the University Central de Venezuela in 1992. He earned his master's degree in human resources from ESERP in Barcelona, Spain in 2009. Puzo and his wife, Keli, a two-time United States Field Hockey Olympian (2008 and 2012), have two sons, Xavi and Ian.