April 11, 2011
OXFORD, Ohio - Miami University has hired former Virginia Associate Head Coach Iñako Puzo as its new head field hockey coach, Director of Athletics Brad Bates announced Monday. Puzo begins his duties immediately and replaces Jill Reeve, who accepted a position as the head coach at Brown University.
"It is an honor to become part of Miami University," said Puzo. "To be associated with such a prosperous academic institution is an exciting opportunity. I am thankful to Athletic Director Brad Bates, Associate Athletic Director Josh Fenton and the entire Athletic Department for believing in me and opening the doors to their athletic family."
Puzo has spent the past two seasons as the associate head coach at Virginia, where he helped lead the Cavaliers to the NCAA Semifinals each year. Virginia had an overall record of 28-8 and was ranked in the top-10 nationally every week during his time there.
"Iñako brings a wealth of successful experience at the collegiate and international levels, a history of maximizing the intellectual development of his students and a focus on servant leadership within the community that will ensure our program continues its trajectory of being one of the premier field hockey programs in the nation," said Bates. "We are very excited to have Iñako lead our program and help realize our lofty visions."
Prior to his time at Virginia, Puzo was the head coach of CD Terrassa, which plays in the Honor Spanish Division, the top division in Spain and one of the top men's field hockey leagues in the world. He also was an assistant coach at Ohio State from 2001-07, helping lead the Buckeyes to two Big Ten Championships (2001 and 2006) and three appearances in the NCAA Tournament (2001, 2005 and 2006). While at Ohio State, Puzo was also a site director and head coach for the local section of USA Field Hockey's National Futures Program. He began his collegiate coaching career at American University, where he was an assistant from 1997-99.
"I would also like to thank all the coaches that I have worked with and players that I have coached at the University of Virginia, The Ohio State University and American University for providing me with instrumental guidance and giving me the opportunity to coach at the top level," said Puzo.
Puzo was a 21-year member of the Venezuelan National Team (1988-2008). He earned over 150 caps for playing in international competition and served as the team's captain during the 1992 Junior Pan-Am Games, the 2000 World Cup Qualifier and the 2006 Central American Games. He served as the Venezuelan National Federation's technical director of both the men's and women's teams from 1996-97 and again from 1999-01.
Puzo earned his bachelor's degree in international relations from the University Central de Venezuela in 1992. He earned his master's degree in human resources from ESERP in Barcelona, Spain in 2009. Puzo and his wife, Keli, have one son, Xavi.
"I am entering into a great program that Coach Reeve has built over the last seven years, and my job is to keep propelling the team forward," said Puzo. "The journey to the top is never an easy one, but this team has all the elements to get there. I am excited to assume the leadership of the Miami field hockey team and its new challenges. I promise you that Miami and all RedHawk fans will be proud of this program and the student athletes that are part of it."
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT PUZO
"Miami made a great decision to hire Iñako to lead its field hockey program. The team will develop a deeper understanding of the game in a fun way. He will be missed by the staff and players at Virginia but we wish him and Keli all the luck in the world as he takes on this new challenge in his coaching career."
-- Virginia Head Coach Michele Madison
"I am excited Iñako is getting this opportunity at Miami University. He did an exceptional job for us at Ohio State and was instrumental in our winning two Big Ten titles during his time here. He is great fit for Miami and its field hockey program."
-- Ohio State Head Coach Anne Wilkinson