Karen Nell is in her first season as the Head Women's Lacrosse Coach in 2020. She is also the first-ever head coach of the inaugural field hockey program, which is set to begin competing in the fall of 2020.
Nell comes to USJ from New Fairfield Public Schools, where she spent the previous 12 seasons as the head coach of the field hockey team, and last seven seasons as the head coach of the girl's lacrosse team. Nell was extremely successful at New Fairfield, winning three-straight Class S State Championships in girl's lacrosse from 2017-2019, and back-to-back South-West Conference Championships in 2018 and 2019. In seven seasons, she compiled a record of 124-32, and was named Connecticut Class S Coach of the Year following the 2018 season.
Nell also saw success as the head field hockey coach, racking up a 12-year record of 148-76-24. She led the Rebels to the 2008 Class S State Championship, and was named the NewsTimes Coach of the Year. Nell has also successfully helped establish a youth field hockey program, and runs camps in conjunction with World Camp USA throughout the New Fairfield area.
Nell also spent a season coaching at the collegiate level as the assistant women's lacrosse coach at Division III and intrastate opponent Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) in 2015. There, she helped guide the Colonials to the second round of the Little East Conference (LEC) Tournament, a 10-8 overall record, and a 4-2 mark in the LEC. It marked just the fourth winning season in WCSU program history since the school started sponsoring women's lacrosse in 2000.
Nell attended Boston College on a field hockey scholarship, but an injury prematurely ended her playing career. She went on to earn her associate's degree in physical therapy from Housatonic Community College, before obtaining a bachelor's degree in psychology from Charter Oak State University.