Katelyn O'Brien was hired in May of 2010 and completed her fifth season with the Quakers in 2014 as an assistant coach for Penn’s head coach, Colleen Fink. Working with the offensive unit, O'Brien's impact has been immediate at Penn.
In 2014, freshman Alexa Hoover earned Ivy League Rookie of the Year, the second consecutive season a Penn player was awarded the honor. Hoover was also named first-team All-Ivy, as she led the league in goals scored with 14. Seniors Emily Corcoran and MaryRose Croddick were named second-team All-Ivy, while senior Alex Iqbal earned honorable mention, giving the Quakers four players recognized by the league.
In addition to the Ivy recognition, Hoover and Corcoran would earn NFHCA second-team All-Region selections, the second consecutive year two Quakers had earned all-region honors. Corcoran was also selected to play in the NFHCA Senior Game, the first Penn player chosen since 2004, and Fink’s first in her tenure.
Penn improved each of the first four years that O'Brien has been on staff, and in 2013 the Quakers finished with a 13-4 overall record and played for the Ivy League title in its final game of the regular season. That continued the program’s progression during O’Brien’s time on campus (3-14 in 2010, 4-13 in 2011, 9-8 in 2012).
Of particular note, Penn tied the program record of 42 goals in 2012 -- a record originally set by the program’s 1988 team, an NCAA Championship semifinalist -- and then shattered the mark in 2013 with 57 goals. Penn finished the 2013 season ranked sixth nationally in goals per game, while freshman Jasmine Cole finished second nationally in goals per game and fifth in points per game and junior Emily Corcoran was 14th nationally in points per game.
These improvements have not gone unnoticed. After having one second-team All-Ivy player in 2010 and 2011, Penn had four women recognized with All-Ivy honors in 2012, a high since 2005. In 2013, two women earned first-team All-Ivy -- Jasmine Cole and Carly Sokach -- while two more were second-team selections. The last time Penn had a first-team All-Ivy player was 2007; the last time the Quakers had two was 2005. Cole is the first freshman in program history to be so honored, and also received Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors (first since 2004, second since 1985). At the regional level, Cole was Penn’s first first-team NFHCA All-Region selection since 2005, while Corcoran was a second-team pick. The last time Penn had two women receive NFHCA All-Region in the same season was 2004.
"Katelyn brings a great perspective to coaching the offensive unit," said Fink, who coached O'Brien as a player at both Archbishop Carroll High School and Saint Joseph's, at the time of O’Brien’s hiring. "She is passionate about scoring, innovative in her game plans, and clear and direct in her delivery. We are both eager to transform the Penn offense so it can be an Ivy League statistical leader. On a personal note, I am excited to continue working with her, because I trust her judgment and enjoy working with her day in and day out."
"I am extremely excited and honored to coach at the University of Pennsylvania and be part of its distinguished athletic and academic tradition," said O'Brien at the time of her hire. "I believe the opportunities for Penn field hockey are endless, and look forward to the challenges of competing at the highest level."
O'Brien made the move to Penn with Fink from Haverford College. During her four-year stint at Haverford, O'Brien's main focus was with the offensive unit where she led individuals and the team to break program scoring, assist, and point records, while also improving their overall statistics to the top three in the conference in every offensive category. In 2009, O'Brien helped lead the program to its first ever Centennial Conference playoff appearance and first playoff victory in program history.
O'Brien has experience running and working a number of field hockey camps, including Suburban Elite Field Hockey Camp at Haverford, as well as working event management for College Quest, a tournament for high school players to showcase their ability in front of college coaches.
A Havertown native, O'Brien played her college field hockey at Saint Joseph's, where she closed out her career fifth in program history with 28 goals and 66 points scored. She was a three-time All-Philadelphia honoree and All-Atlantic 10 first-team member. As a senior, O'Brien was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association's All-Mid-Atlantic Region first-team, Atlantic 10 All-Championship Team, and was chosen to compete in the NFHCA North-South Senior All-Star Game. She graduated from Saint Joseph's in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in business marketing.