Michigan fires men's and women's lacrosse coaches

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 5:48pm

The Michigan men’s and women’s lacrosse teams will be getting a fresh start on the field with the opening of the South Competition and Performance Complex in 2018. But this isn’t the Wolverines’ only fresh start – they will also have new coaches leading them into their new home.

Athletic director Warde Manuel announced Tuesday that men’s coach John Paul and women’s coach Jennifer Ulehla will not be returning next season.

After 70 years as a club sport, Michigan elevated its men’s lacrosse program to varsity status in 2011. Paul previously had coached Michigan’s club lacrosse team for 14 seasons, and continued as head coach with the Wolverines’ move to NCAA competition in 2012.

In six seasons at the helm, Paul recorded a record of 23-61, with a 2-24 record in Big Ten play. His last season was his most successful – Michigan won a program-record eight games, finished above .500 for the first time in program history, and defeated No. 10 Penn for its first-ever win over a ranked opponent. However, the Wolverines were winless in five games against conference opponents.

“We are extremely grateful to John for his personal and professional investment in helping to build the varsity lacrosse program," Manuel said in a statement. "John has invested over two decades in the growth of lacrosse at the University of Michigan and we owe a debt of gratitude to John for getting the men's lacrosse team to this point. Building a program is no easy task and, through his efforts, we are in position to take another step competitively on the national level." 

Michigan upgraded its women’s lacrosse team from club status to varsity program in 2011, along with the men’s team. However, the Wolverines only began play in 2014, two years after the men.

Ulehla posted a record of 20-49 in her four seasons as head coach. This season, Michigan went 5-12 and won its first-ever conference game – a 12-11 overtime victory at Ohio State.

"After evaluating our women's lacrosse program, I have determined that a change is necessary at this time,” Manuel said in a statement. “We are thankful to Jenny for her efforts in starting the program, and wish her success in the future."

Manuel announced that Michigan will begin a national search for its next lacrosse coaches immediately.