Michelle Eisenreich
Photo: Beverly Schaefer

Michelle Eisenreich, head coach of women’s track and field, led the women’s and men’s programs at Brown before leaving in 2012 to become the associate head coach at Stanford. She is excited to return to the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, which she said are “unlike any other conference championships.” Eisenreich’s first impressions of the athletes in her program have been positive, from their attitude toward training to their willingness to help the coaching staff when recruits visit campus. “They just want to be exceptional,” she said.

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“Both my parents were teachers. When I was little and people would ask what do you want to do when you would grow up, I would say ‘I want to be a teacher.’ My dad loved his profession but would always answer with 20 reasons why I should not be a teacher. So I went to college thinking I might get into policy or law. I studied international relations. But along the way, I had some really influential coaches. My college coach in particular was a very strong mentor for me in a lot of ways — more than just on the athletic side — and really helped me become a stronger, more confident individual. I decided that that was the path I wanted to pursue, hopefully to be able to give back in the same way that my coaches had given to me.”


“When I got to Stanford, I decided, probably within a year, that I wanted my last coaching job to be back in the [Ivy] League. I didn’t expect it so fast, but this job also hasn’t been open in the last 37 years. … One of the things that has been really fun is discovering what makes Princeton unique. It is a very intimate and very personal experience [for students]. It’s not just about getting that valuable degree at the end but also giving them a valuable experience, which starts from day one when they step on campus for orientation.”


“I’ve been telling this to recruits lately, maybe because I’m getting older and more philosophical: I’ve been very fortunate to coach national champions, Olympians, that sort of thing. But when I get together with kids that I’ve coached in the past, we don’t talk about the championships. What we talk about are the goofy things that went off in practice, or their teammates and their time on the team. … The championships are really fun, but what you remember, what stays with you are the experiences you had getting there — that process of becoming a stronger individual.”

Brad Hunt
Photo: Beverly Schaefer

Brad Hunt was named head coach of women’s cross country and also will be an assistant on Eisenreich’s track and field staff. A former assistant at Wake Forest and Virginia, Hunt said he pursued coaching for the chance to “influence and support young, eager, motivated minds.” He inherits a team that won the Ivy Heps and finished third at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional meet last year, but three of six Princeton runners who scored points in those races have graduated. The good news: His roster includes last year’s individual Heps champion, Lizzie Bird ’17.

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“The girls have put me in the hot seat, so to speak — I’ve given them an open forum to ask questions about anything and everything in regards to who I am. That’s how we started our experience together. Not at practice, but sitting down and having the opportunity to connect, as coaches and athletes should do away from the competitive arena.”


“Unlike maybe college football or college basketball, where your power rankings have so much value and every game is sort of a do-or-die moment, we kind of think of [the early part of the season] as dress rehearsals for the big opening weekend of Heps, and beyond.”


“At Bryant Park in New York City, we had a gathering with the Friends of Track. They came out to essentially show their support for the new staff and obviously for Fred [Samara]. … These are all proud Princeton alums that are here to support us because they’ve had remarkable experiences and are paying it forward to another set of athletes that are pursuing the same levels of excellence. I think that’s obviously a reflection of Peter [Farrell] and all the success that he’s had, and all the lives he’s impacted.”

Matt Madalon
Photo: Beverly Schaefer

Matt Madalon, a former assistant who served as the interim men’s lacrosse coach after Chris Bates’ dismissal last spring, was named head coach in June. His first fall will include an exhibition game against former Princeton coach Bill Tierney’s Denver team and a training trip to Portugal, where the Tigers will play the English national team. Madalon sees an up-tempo attack as a key element of his team’s future success. In a program that has won six national championships and 26 Ivy titles, “there are expectations,” he said, “and we fully embrace that.”

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“As a staff, we’ve evaluated where the program’s been and where we’d like to get it. We spent this summer recruiting, and evaluating our offensive systems and defensive systems and the entire structure of the organization. … We’re starting at the foundation and we’re going to build up. We’ve got great leadership in our captains and we’re excited.”


“As a player, I was a goalie, so maybe I see the game differently — coming at me and kind of looking out. You’re that last line of defense. It’s helped me with my offensive approach and my defensive approach. Defensively, you’re constantly trying to learn offensive schemes and figure out how you can best defend it. From the offensive side of the ball, having an understanding of where those weak points and pressure points are gives you insight into how to teach your offensive guys to put pressure on a defense.”


“You’re going to see more of an up-tempo style. It’s a wonderful game where you can play more slow-down manufactured lacrosse and be very successful, and you can play a very up-tempo style of lacrosse and be very successful. We’re going to be a very disciplined, well-coached team, but we’re going to have fun and we’re going to push the tempo. We’re going to let our athletes play. We’ve got incredible talent, incredible athletes, and we’re going to make sure our athletes are in the right spots to become very successful.”

Carla Tagliente
Photo: Beverly Schaefer

Carla Tagliente, the new field hockey coach, was a three-time All-American and three-time Academic All-American at Maryland before joining the U.S. national team and eventually pursuing a career in coaching. She came to Princeton from the University of Massachusetts, and a little more than a month later, the Tigers started fall practices. “I’ve never gone through this quick of a transition,” she said. “I don’t know if there’s really a playbook that you can go by. … But their approach to things has been great. They’re open to new ideas and changes.” 

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“It’s definitely broken up into short- and long-range. A big focus for us is staying very present and playing game by game. I think we have a really tough schedule. There aren’t goals, per se, like win x number of [games against] non-conference teams. … Longer term, obviously win the Ivies, but I’ve really tasked them to take that to another level. … Every game is a contest, but if they can play at a significantly higher level and put those games away sooner, that will be a sign, a marker that this team is where we want it to be.”


“[Having international players] just adds an element of diversity to the team. I think adding the cultural diversity is helpful. You get different styles of play and different experiences, hockey-wise, but I think culturally, blending in some different personalities and different cultures adds an element of cohesion in a way.”


“I think when you look at the performance, year over year from World Cup to Olympics over the past few years, there’s no question that the level of hockey in the U.S. has improved significantly. In terms of excitement from the young group [of players], it’s sparked that, and that’s really where the growth needs to happen. … I think good things are on the way.”