– Virginia head field hockey coach Michele Madison announced the hiring of Iñako Puzo as the associate head coach for the Cavaliers.
“I couldn’t be more excited to have Iñako on our staff,” Madison said. “This is a major addition to our program. He is a proven winner with a wealth of hockey knowledge. Iñako is a first-class person and is well respected by coaches and players around the world. He is enthusiastic and passionate and will complement what we’re trying to accomplish here.”
Puzo returns to the college ranks after spending the past two years serving in several capacities with Spanish national teams in his native of Barcelona, Spain. He was the head coach for the top men’s program at CD Terrassa in addition to overseeing the coaching of the U-18 and U-16 men’s teams. Prior to his appointment with the men’s team, Puzo assisted the women’s team of Junior FC and led them to a second-place finish in the Spanish League. During the same year, Puzo also was the head coach of the women’s U-18 and U-16 squads of the club (Junior FC), reaching the championship games with the U18 team in both indoor and outdoor competition.
“I am excited to return to NCAA competition with the Virginia Cavaliers,” Puzo said. “UVa plays in one of the best and most traditional field hockey conference in the nation. The institution is a place where players are challenged every day on and off the field, forcing us, the staff, to perform our best and provide the players with nothing but the best opportunities to succeed."
Puzo is no stranger to the American college ranks. He served as an assistant coach at Ohio State for seven seasons, helping the Buckeyes to three NCAA Tournament appearances, Big Ten championships in 2001 and 2006 and a conference tournament title in 2001. During his time in Columbus, Puzo also had stints with the United States Field Hockey Association as the site director and head coach for the state’s national futures program. He got his start in collegiate coaching as an assistant at American University in 1997, where he coached for two seasons.
“Michele and I coached against each other in the Big Ten for many years,” Puzo said. “I have always had a great admiration for her as a coach and as a person. It was fun to compete against each other and I believe it is going to be even better to do it together. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work and learn next to her in Charlottesville.”
Before coaching at Ohio State, Puzo spent three years with the Venezuelan Field Hockey Federation in Caracas, Venezuela, as the national technical director where he assisted with the coordination, administration and development of the Venezuelan national teams.
Puzo spent 10 years as a member of the Venezuelan national team from 1998-2008 and was a member of the junior national team from 1988-92.
Puzo graduated Venezuela Central University in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations. He is a recent graduate of ESERP Business School in Barcelona with a master’s degree in human resources.