One of the most decorated athletes to play the game of lacrosse, Hannah Nielsen will enter her fourth season in the 2021 campaign as the head coach of Michigan women's lacrosse after being announced as the second head coach in University of Michigan women's lacrosse history on June 26, 2017.
A four-time national champion and two-time Tewaaraton Award winner, Nielsen boasts 10 years of coaching experience at the Division I level.
Nielsen saw her third season as the head coach of the Wolverines cut short by the global COVID-19 pandemic. U-M played six games, including winning all three of its games at U-M Lacrosse Stadium in 2020.
In her two full seasons at Michigan, she has propelled the Wolverines to the best campaigns in program history. U-M went 16-4 in just Nielsen's second season at the helm, earning is first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament in which it hosted the first and second rounds. Furthermore, the Wolverines went 9-0 at U-M Lacrosse Stadium in the regular season and defeated six ranked opponents.
Under Nielsen's tutelage, Michigan earned its first-ever ranking in the IWLCA Coaches Poll and remained in the top-10 in the nation from week five to the end of the 2019 season. U-M also held the nation's longest winning streak in the 2019 campaign, going 13-0 to start the season to extend its win streak to 15 games. As a team, the Wolverines broke the school single-season goal record (257) tallied the most ground balls in a single game (30), ranked second in fewest turnovers in a single game (nine) and recorded the third-highest total of goals ina single game (20).
For the first time in the history of the program, Nielsen guided three players to 40-or-more points in the same seasons, while three Wolverines broke single season records. On the defensive end of the field, Michigan gave up the fewest goals (182) in program history in the 2019 campaign.
Nielsen has led four Wolverines to Big Ten honors in her first two seasons, while Mira Shane became the first Michigan player to be a nominee for the Tewaaraton Award and Molly Garrett earned a spot on the watch list in 2019. Moreover, four U-M student-athletes earned IWLCA West/Midwest All-Region Second Team honors for the first time in program history in the 2019 season.
Off the field, 19 women's lacrosse players have been named Academic All-Big Ten in Nielsen's two seasons, while four have been named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars.
An Adelaide, Australia, native, Nielsen continues to compete at the highest level as a member of the Australia women's national team. She has competed in four World Cups, most recently leading Australia to the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup semifinals. After recording seven goals and nine assists in the tournament, she was one of 12 players named to the All-World Team. At previous World Cup events, she helped lead Australia to a gold medal in 2005, and was named an All-Star in 2009 and 2013.
Prior to coming to Michigan, Nielsen spent the 2017 season as an assistant at her alma mater, Northwestern University. She helped lead the Wildcats to a spot in the Big Ten Tournament championship game and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
As a player at Northwestern (2006-09), she achieved the ultimate success, winning four national championships and receiving the sport's highest honors as a two-time Tewaaraton Award and Honda Sports Award winner in 2008 and 2009. She finished her career in Purple and White as NU's all-time leader in points (398) and assists (224) and still owns those records to date. Her assist record also holds the top spot in the Division I record book. A winner at heart, Nielsen started all 88 games in her Wildcat career and registered an 85-3 record in her four seasons. She was recognized by the Big Ten Conference for her success on the field and in the classroom, being named a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, and was also the recipient of the conference’s 2008 Suzy Favor Award, presented to the league's Female Athlete of the Year.
Nielsen earned her bachelor's degree in human development and psychological services from Northwestern in 2009. She was later inducted to the Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.
Before joining the staff at Northwestern, Nielsen was an assistant coach at Colorado University for two seasons (2014-15) under former NU teammate Ann Elliott. In its inaugural season, CU posted an 11-8 record overall and 6-3 mark in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation to earn the No. 3 seed in its first MPSF tournament. The Buffs went 11-7 in Nielsen's second year as an assistant, compiling a 22-15 record overall during her two years in Boulder.
Prior to transitioning to Colorado, Nielsen was a member of Towson University's staff and helped the Tigers to a 27-11 record in two seasons. During her stint at Towson, the Tigers captured two Colonial Athletic Association regular season championships, as well as the 2011 CAA Championship title. Towson was 11-7 in her first season in 2010 and improved to 16-4 in her second, setting a program record for wins in a season.
Following the conclusion of her playing career at Northwestern, Nielsen spent a season at Penn State University, helping the Nittany Lions to a 10-7 mark.