2013: Susan Ellis, the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association's 2009 Division I Assistant Coach of the Year, enters her 14th season as an assistant coach for the Commodores. Ellis has been a part of all six of Vanderbilt's NCAA Tournament appearances since signing on to assist former collegiate teammate Cathy Swezey in 2000.
Responsible for Vanderbilt's defensive philosophy, Ellis has been a key component of the Commodores' success over the past 13 seasons. She shaped the defensive unit that advanced to the 2004 NCAA Final Four by holding fifth-ranked Loyola and fourth-ranked James Madison to four goals each in the first two rounds of the tournament.
Ellis was in her third season with the Commodores when the squad became the first team from outside the eastern time zone to advance to the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Tournament in 2002. Since then Vanderbilt has returned to the postseason five more times. In 2009, Ellis was part of the first class of IWLCA Assistant Coach of the Year recipients.
Prior to her time at Vanderbilt, the former Susan Pley was the assistant lacrosse and field hockey coach at Moorestown Friends High School (N.J.) from 1997-2000. She helped lead the team to the 1999 Friends League lacrosse championship.
"Our players consistently count on Sue's knowledge and experience to assist them in their development," Swezey said. "She will continue to play an integral part in our success and growth as we position ourselves to remain one of the elite programs in the country."
Ellis was a two-time All-America selection at Trenton State (now called the The College of New Jersey). She received Defensive Player of the Year recognition in 1994 from the IWLCA. Ellis earned a bachelor's degree from Trenton State in sociology.
Off the field, Ellis assists with numerous aspects of team coordination, including travel arrangements. She also played an important role in building Vanderbilt's CHAMPS/Life Skills program to enrich the off-the-field lives of student-athletes.
The former Susan Pley resides in Nashville with her husband, James Ellis, and their three children.