Former Notre Dame All-American and U.S. Women's National Lacrosse Team member Jill Byers is entering her first season as an assistant coach after returning home to the Golden Dome when head coach Christine Halfpenny brought her on board on June 29, 2012.
"I am thrilled to welcome Jill back home to Notre Dame," said Halfpenny. "She has established herself as one of the best young assistants in the country through her work ethic and ability to break down skill sets of the game, along with her positive attitude. Jill's passion for the sport of lacrosse and the University of Notre Dame are a unique combination that will be a major asset to our program as we compete for a conference and national title.
"Bringing an alum back to the sidelines is an incredible advantage for our staff and the student-athletes that she will mentor," Halfpenny continued. "We look forward to getting started with Jill and allowing her to put her fingerprint back on the Notre Dame women's lacrosse program."
Byers, who spent the last three seasons as an assistant at Yale, replaces Sarah Dalton, who left Notre Dame after one season to pursue other career opportunities.
"It's a privilege to come back to a place I called home for four years," said Byers. "I love Notre Dame and all that it represents as a world-class institution. The passion for excellence in the classroom and on the field is inspiring. As an Irish student-athlete, I had an experience that was second to none, and I am excited to work with the young women in this program to provide the same phenomenal experience. I am truly honored by this appointment and will do my best to contribute to the success of this program."
The Northport, N.Y., native comes to the Irish from the Bulldogs, where she helped in all of the day-to-day aspects of running the Ivy League program. Under Byers' tutelage, Yale scored 137 goals on the year in 2012, a 65 percent increase from 2011 and the most goals scored since 2008. In addition to her on-the-field responsibilities, Byers served as the recruiting coordinator and also dealt with equipment, meals, lodging and travel throughout the year when the Bulldogs went on the road.
In addition to her job with the Bulldogs, Byers is a four-year member of the U.S. Women's National Lacrosse Team. With Team USA, she competes with and plays against the best players in the world, participating in the Stars & Stripes Tournament and the Champions Challenge among others.
Arguably the best player ever to wear the Irish blue and gold, Byers still remains the Notre Dame career leader in all-time goals (262) and points (336). She also is second in draw controls (154), tied for second in games played (76), fifth in assists (74) and 10th in caused turnovers (61).
In looking at the NCAA Division I record books entering the 2012 season, Byers was fifth in goals (262), 10th in points (336), 15th in goals per game (3.45) and 19th in points per game (4.42) for a career.
Over her four years with Notre Dame, the Irish went 54-22. She also helped the program reach its lone Final Four in 2006 as a freshman and helped it secure its only BIG EAST Tournament title in 2009 as a senior.
Byers' senior season was one for the record books as she found the back of the net 83 times, which sits 12th in NCAA history. For her efforts, Byers was runner-up for the Tewaaraton Trophy, given to the nation's best player, and the Honda Award Trophy. She also was selected as the BIG EAST Co-Attack Player of the Year and was named the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player.
A four-time first-team IWLCA West/Midwest all-region and all-BIG EAST honoree, Byers was named second team IWLCA All-American three times and was a first team IWLCA All-American as a senior in 2009.
Following graduation, Byers played in the North/South Senior All-Star Game.
A two-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star, she graduated from Notre Dame in May of 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in film, television and theatre.
Active in the community, Byers has been a coordinator for the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and the Smilow Cancer Hospital since January of 2010.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT JILL BYERS
"Jill came to us right out of college and worked her way up from second assistant. I really hate to lose her, but I understand first-hand how special it is to be able to go home to your alma mater. It's an opportunity of a lifetime for her. If she had to leave, I'm glad it was the place she called home for four years.
"Jill just loves the game. She loves playing it and coaching it. I think that her ability to relate to players is her biggest asset. She has first-hand experience with every aspect of the game. She is a very positive person and knows how to motivate players to be the best they can be. Her personality is her strength. For as good of a player that she is, she is an even better person. I know she will thrive at Notre Dame. It's a fantastic fit for both her and the Notre Dame program."
Anne Phillips Women's Lacrosse Head Coach Yale University
"Jill is a student of the game and the players will benefit from her experience as a player and coach. She has a passion for lacrosse that is only matched by her passion for Notre Dame!"
Ricky Fried Women's Lacrosse Head Coach Georgetown University/U.S. National Team