University of Iowa graduate and former Hawkeye All-American Jess Barnett is entering her third season as an assistant coach with the field hockey program. She was named to her position in July, 2021.
In Barnett’s two seasons on campus, she has coached six NFHCA All-Americans, nine NFHCA All-West Region and nine All-Big Ten selections. She has also coached Anthe Nijziel to NFHCA West Region Player of the Year, Big Ten Player and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. In the classroom, Iowa had a school record 17 Academic All-Big Ten honorees in consecutive seasons and 33 NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad honorees.
During the 2022 season, Barnett helped guide the Hawkeyes to their fourth straight NCAA Elite Eight appearance, finishing the season with a 12-8 overall record. Iowa, which finished the year ranked 11th in the NFHCA poll, advanced to its 21st Elite Eight with a shootout win over No. 5 Virginia in the Sweet 16. The season ended in a shootout fashion, falling in a 2-1 heartbreaker at No. 3 Northwestern.
Graduate student Anthe Nijziel capped her storied Hawkeye career with her third straight NFHCA first-team All-America honor. She is just the second Hawkeye all-time to earn three straight first-team All-America nods. Senior Esme Gibson also was an All-American, garnering second-team honors.
The Hawkeyes had three first-team all-region selections and four All-Big Ten honorees. In the classroom, the program had a record 17 Academic All-Big Ten honorees for a second straight year, nine players were named to the NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad and four players were NFHCA Division I Scholars of Distinction.
During her first season on the coaching staff, Barnett helped guide the Hawkeyes to the outright Big Ten regular season title in the fall of 2021 – the first for the program since 1999. It was Iowa’s second regular season title in three seasons.
The Hawkeyes started the season with 16 consecutive victories, the second-longest winning streak in school history. The program won five consecutive games against top-seven ranked foes from Sept. 19-Oct. 3 and went 10-3 against ranked opponents during the year.
Iowa won with a stingy defense and an opportunistic offense. Iowa’s defensive unit had an NCAA-best 11 shutouts, which included a school record eight consecutive clean sheets during the month of September. The Hawkeyes rose to No. 1 in the NFHCA rankings for the first time in program history – a spot they held for six straight weeks heading into postseason play.
The Hawkeyes hosted NCAA Sweet 16 games at Grant Field for the first time since 1999 and finished the year in the Elite Eight for the 20th time in program history. The team finished the year with a 17-3 overall record.
Iowa had four players earn All-America distinction – tied for the most nationally and the most for the program since 1996 — including Anthe Nijziel, who was a first-team selection. Maddy Murphy, Grace McGuire and Esme Gibson earned All-America nods with Murphy becoming the second four-time All-American in program history. Murphy was also a Honda Sport Award finalist – the 12th Hawkeye to be up for the distinction.
Nijziel was also named the NFHCA West Region Player of the Year (the third Hawkeye to accomplish the feat) and the Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for a second straight season. She is the third player in Big Ten history (all Hawkeyes) to earn Player of the Year honors more than once.
Iowa had six players earn all-region, five earn All-Big Ten and the program had a record eight Big Ten weekly and four NFHCA National Player of the Week honors during the season. Academically, the program had a record 17 Academic All-Big Ten and 24 NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad selection – tied for the second-most nationally.
Barnett, a three-time All-Big Ten honoree, regional All-American, Big Ten All-Tournament selection, and two-time NFHCA All-American, returned to Iowa City after playing at Grant Field from 2009-12. The North Vancouver, Canada, native started every game of her career and helped lead Iowa to two-straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearances in 2011 and 2012.
Barnett was honored as Iowa Athletics Female Athlete of the Year in 2011 and 2012. She was also a two-time team captain and named team MVP her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. In 77 career games, Barnett scored 27 goals and registered seven assists, while anchoring the Hawkeye defense.
Following her collegiate career, Barnett was a member of the Canadian National Team where she won bronze in the 2013 Pan American Cup in Argentina and garnered over 40 international caps with Team Canada.
Barnett returned to Iowa City after serving as an assistant coach at Yale from 2016-21. She began her coaching career in 2014 with Field Hockey Canada, assisting in their Junior National Program. In 2015, she returned to the Hawkeyes as a volunteer coach for the 2015-16 season before beginning her tenure at Yale.
In her first season with the Bulldogs, she helped the program double its win total from the previous season. In her second and third seasons, Yale continued to best its win total each year. The team ended its 2019 season, winning five of their final six games.
Barnett graduated from the University of Iowa in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies.