A 2000 Brown University graduate and former Bears’ lacrosse standout, Keely McDonald returned to her alma mater to head the Brown women’s lacrosse program during the fall of 2004 following assistant coaching stints at Princeton and Northwestern.
In 11 years, McDonald has coached 12 Regional All-Americans and 29 All-Ivy honorees. The Bears notched back-to-back 9-6 campaigns in 2013 and 2014, their most successful seasons since 1997. McDonald and the Bears scored their most impressive victory on March 8, 2014, a 14-13 OT win over No. 16 Princeton, Brown's first win over the Tigers since 1991.
During the 2009 season, McDonald led the Bears to a 7-8 overall record and a 3-4 mark in the Ivy League, tying for fourth. The seven wins were the most since 1999 , while Brown's fourth-place finish was the highest since 1999 when the Bears went 4-3 and were fourth in the League. Highlighting the Ivy wins was a season-ending, 7-5, victory over Yale, Brown's first win over the Bulldogs in 16 years. The Bears also defeated Columbia, outscoring the Lions, 11-2, in the second half, and Harvard. Though Brown didn't come away with a win at Princeton, McDonald's squad was neck-and-neck with the 7th-ranked Tigers, falling by a single goal, 8-7.
In 2007, McDonald coached two freshmen, Kiki Manners and Molly McCarthy, who became her second and third Regional All-Americans, and were two of just five freshmen in the Northeast Region, nine nationally, to earn this distinction. The duo, who were Brown’s first-ever freshmen to earn Regional All-American recognition, also earned a spot on the inaugural womenslacrosse.com All-Freshman Team. In 2008, Vitkus became McDonald’s fourth All-Region honoree at Brown, as the Bears’ 2008 leading scorer earned Second Team All-Region honors. In all, McDonald has coached 19 All-Ivy players, including nine at Princeton. She has also coached three past Tewaaraton Award candidates.
The first assistant at Princeton during the 2004 season, McDonald helped to lead the Tigers to a #1 ranking for the entire season, winning 19 straight games before dropping their only contest of the year in the National Championship game. Working with three-time National Champion head coach Chris Sailer at Princeton, McDonald gained tremendous experience, helping to coach four First Team National All-Americans, the Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Year, and leading the #1 defensive system in the country with a 6.11 GAA.
Prior to joining the Tiger staff, McDonald served as the first assistant coach at Northwestern, playing an integral role in transitioning the team from Club level to varsity Division I status. During her three years with the Wildcats, McDonald worked alongside head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller to build a solid program which is now a national contender, losing to Virginia in the 2004 National Quaterfinals, in just the team’s third year of existence, and winning the past three National Championships.
As an undergraduate at Brown, McDonald started at Midfield/Attack all four years with the Bears, earning Second Team All-Ivy and Academic All-Ivy in 2000. She finished her career with 86 points (66g, 20a), including 27 (21g, 6a) as a freshman in 1997, and ranking among the team’s top five scorers in each of her four seasons.