Tess Ellis is beginning her 20th year as a William and Mary coach and third as head coach after being promoted just prior to the 2013 season. Ellis rejoined the Tribe for the third time in the spring of 2010 and was elevated to Associate Head Coach in May of 2011.
In just two years, Ellis has established herself as one of the brightest coaching lights in the CAA, winning a share of Coach of the Year honors in both of her first two seasons. She is just the third coach in league history to be named Coach of the Year more than once, joining former W&M coach and friend Peel Hawthorne '80 as well as long-time ODU mentor Beth Anders; and Ellis is one of just two coaches (along with Anders) to ever win Coach of the Year accolades in consecutive seasons.
In 2013, her first season, Ellis led the Tribe into the CAA Tournament thanks to a double-overtime win against Hofstra in the regular-season finale. That 2013 year also saw W&M go on the road and deliver the biggest upset of the season, downing No. 5 Virginia 2-1 in regulation. At year's end, senior Taylor Hodge was named first-team All-CAA, CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Hodge was also chosen by the W&M Kinsiology department as its most distinguished graduating senior in 2013-14.
2014 saw the Tribe endure some trials early, losing captain Jesse Ebner for the first half of the season with an injury five minutes into the season opener, but the Green and Gold bounced back strong and played for the CAA regular-season title in the very last game of the year. Ebner's return and the maturation of several freshmen led to a swing of almost three goals a game over the second half of the year, and junior Pippin Saunders rode a career year to her second-straight first-team All-CAA nod. Fellow Australian Emma Clifton was also picked to the league's top squad, after breaking W&M's long-standing career assists record. In the summer of 2015, another sign of the growing regard for the Tribe was when six underclassmen were selected to the NFHCA Futures regional development program. Five progressed to the National Futures Championship, and one, Erin Menges, was invited to try out for the U-21 national team at its selection camp.
Ellis previously served at W&M for eight years as first assistant from 1993-2000, and another six years as volunteer assistant coach from 2003-08. From 2000-2003, Ellis served as the head coach of the U.S. Field Hockey Association's Under-21 and Under-23 National teams, as well as coaching the U.S. in the 2001 Junior World Cup and as an assistant coach with the National Senior team. During her time with the national Olympic program, Tess helped Head Coach Tracey Belbin develop the first Olympic residency program in Virginia Beach. Her duties with the program included daily training programs for both field players and goalies, and she had the privilege to train legendary U.S. keepers Peggy Storrar and Amy Tran.
An internationally experienced player, coach, and clinician, Ellis has been afforded many opportunities to travel the globe through her work in advancing the sport of field hockey. Other accomplishments over the years include training and traveling with the U.S. Olympic Team in the run up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, as well as coaching many junior travel teams. Tess has also served in a coaching and directors role for many U.S. development camps and in the USFHA Futures program.
Ellis was also a member of the Australian National Indoor team for eight years, and was on the Australia National Under-21 squad. She represented her state of New South Wales for 11 years in both indoor and outdoor field hockey. In 1993, Ellis founded the Williamsburg-based Colonial Field Hockey Club.