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Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University Athletics
Freeman Athletic Center 161 Cross Street Middletown, CT 06459
Division 3 Connecticut Northeast
Private Small Developing team

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Kim Williams

Kim Williams has brought the Wesleyan women’s lacrosse program into national prominence in just six seasons as she enters her seventh year at the helm in 2022. She also serves as an adjunct assistant professor of physical education at the university and holds the position of Club Sports Coordinator.


Williams took over a program that was coming off eight consecutive losing seasons and just four conference wins from 2010-2015. In her first season, Wesleyan finished 5-9 overall and 2-8 in the NESCAC--the two conference wins were the most in seven years. One year later, Williams led the Cardinals to their best season in program history as Wesleyan set program records in overall wins (11) and NESCAC victories (7) as it finished 11-6 and 7-3. Additionally, the Cardinals ranked in the top-20 in the country for the majority of the season, qualified for the NESCAC Tournament for the first time in eight years, and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships for the first time ever. Williams was named the 2017 NESCAC Coach of the Year and the 2017 IWLCA Berkshire Region Coach of the Year for her efforts in turning the program around.


The following season, in 2018, Williams guided the Cardinals to their second-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Wesleyan defeated No. 12 Messiah in the First Round for its first postseason victory ever, and the next day, the Cardinals earned an 11-6 win over No. 18 St. John Fisher to reach the Sweet 16. Wesleyan concluded the 2018 campaign with a 12-7 mark, as the 12 wins set a new program record by surpassing the win total from the year before.


In 2019, Williams’ program improved once again as she led the team to the Final Four of the NCAA Championships for the first time ever. The Cardinals had arguably the most difficult road to the semifinals, defeating No. 9 Mary Washington (11-6), No. 2 Washington & Lee (13-7), and No. 1 Gettysburg (10-7), before falling short to the eventual national champions, No. 3 Middlebury. The historic campaign saw Wesleyan set another program record in wins (17) and NESCAC victories (7) as the Cardinals finished 17-4 overall and 8-2 in league play.


Wesleyan entered the 2020 campaign ranked No. 5 in the IWLCA Division III Preseason Poll and were off to an incredible start, going 4-0 and outscoring its opponents 60-22 before the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly ended the season.


In the most-recent season, despite dealing with COVID-19 restrictions and a roster that featured just 15 available field players, Williams put together one of the most impressive coaching jobs in the country as she led Wesleyan to a 3-1 league record and a spot in the NESCAC Championship game for the first time in program history. The 2021 season featured two wins over nationally-ranked Trinity while the Cardinals were ranked in the Top 20 for the entirety of the campaign. Johanna Copeland and Indigo Pellegrini de Paur were both named IWLCA All-Americans for the first time in their careers while seven Cardinals earned All-Region laurels.


Prior to her tenure at Wesleyan, Williams served two seasons as head coach at Stockton University in New Jersey, three seasons as an assistant coach at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and four seasons as a stellar competitor at C.W. Post University in Brookville, N.Y. Bringing the Ospreys at Stockton into their first varsity season in 2014, Williams met with immediate success behind a 16-4 victory over Notre Dame (Md.) in the team's varsity opener. Stockton posted a 10-5 record in 2014 and featured the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Year. The Ospreys followed up with a 10-6 mark in 2015 while boasting the NJAC Goaltender of the Year.


Williams began her collegiate coaching career with the Mules of Colby from 2011-13, in which the team qualified for the NCAA Tournament each year and amassed a brilliant 43-13 overall record, including a 22-7 mark against NESCAC rivals. The NESCAC is the top Division III women's lacrosse conference in the nation and had eight teams ranked among the top-20 nationally in the final 2015 Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Association (IWLCA) poll, led by NCAA Tournament runner-up Trinity College. No other conference had more than three teams in the top-20.


After a tremendous high school playing career at West Morris (N.J.), where she earned Third Team All-State recognition, Williams played four seasons at C.W. Post, helping Post reach the NCAA Division II Tournament each year with one title and three other appearances in the Final Four. She was recognized as an IWLCA All-American three times along with IWLCA Division II Defender of the Year accolades as a sophomore and Womenslacrosse.com Division II Midfielder of the Year recognition as a senior. She also earned First Team All-Conference accolades three times.


In addition to her on-the-field laurels, Williams was lauded by the IWLCA, the East Coast Conference, and the College Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA) with academic honors during her college playing days. She also earned a Woman of Achievement Award and Distinguished Graduating Student Leadership Award from C.W. Post before graduating magna cum laude in 2010 with a degree in childhood education.

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Clara Bissell

Clara Bissell joins the Wesleyan women’s lacrosse coaching staff as an assistant coach for the 2022 season. Bissell arrives in Middletown following three seasons (2018-21) as an assistant coach for Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.


In her time with the Pioneers, Bissell was part of two NCAA Tournament teams as Transylvania went 15-5 in 2019 and 11-5 in 2021, sporting a perfect 10-0 record in league play and winning the HCLC Championship both seasons. Bissell’s day-to-day duties included planning and executing player and team development across individual seasons, practices and games. Her administrative duties included managing compliance requests, coordinating team meals, managing film, organizing volunteer events, preparing scouting reports, developing social media content and producing recruiting communications.


Outside of collegiate lacrosse, Bissell helped coach the Sizzle Select Lacrosse Club based in Lexington for two seasons (2019-21). She worked with youth players in Central Kentucky through private lessons and prepared the student-athletes for tournament play through planning and executing practices.


Prior to Transylvania, Bissell’s first collegiate coaching experience came as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. This was her first glimpse at recruiting in college, planning practices, lifts and conditioning with the head coach.


Bissell’s experience outside of lacrosse includes an interim assistant field hockey coach title while at Transylvania in the fall of 2019. She also was a team manager for the Berry College football team for three seasons (2014-16) while an undergrad.


She was a three-year letterwinner in lacrosse at Berry College (graduated a semester early) as she totaled 38 goals and four assists for 42 points in 42 career games played.


Bissell graduated from Berry College in Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in English (literature) in December 2016. She went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from the Univ. of Charleston (W.V.) in May 2018.

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