Both hires have Vermont connections and will start in early August

Norwich University’s athletics programs made two key hires last week. Jess Moore became an assistant athletic trainer and Tyler Willard became assistant women’s hockey coach. 

Head Athletic Trainer Dave Botelho announced Moore’s appointment July 12. She starts at Norwich on Aug. 2, returning for her third stint in Vermont after spending the last three years at Pacific University in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Moore earned a Doctor of Education in counselor education with an emphasis in sport psychology from the University of Montana in 2017. She also has a Master of Science in Education degree from Old Dominion University and a Bachelor of Science in sports medicine from Castleton University.

Jess Moore earned a Doctor of Education in counselor education with an emphasis in sport psychology from the University of Montana in 2017. She also has a Master of Science in Education degree from Old Dominion University and a Bachelor of Science in sports medicine from Castleton University.

Moore spent seven years as an athletic trainer at St. Michael's College and for a while was acting head athletic trainer. While working on her EdD in Montana, Moore worked as an athletic trainer at Missoula Bone and Joint, an orthopedic surgery center. 

At Pacific University, Moore complemented her athletic training work by serving as an assistant professor and assistant coordinator of clinical education and preceptor. She also worked in athletic training for Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers and Special Olympics Oregon. 

“I am thrilled to be joining the talented athletic training staff at Norwich University and returning to the Green Mountain State," said Moore, who’s been a National Athletic Trainers Association member since 2002. "I look forward to collaborating with the staff, sharing ideas and expertise, and working as a team to support the Norwich student-athletes and coaching staff in their pursuit of excellence on and off the playing surface.”

Behind the bench

Meanwhile, Norwich head women’s hockey coach Sophie Leclerc announced Willard’s appointment July 16. Willard will start at Norwich in early August, joining Leclerc and volunteer assistant coach Jon Guiffre.

Willard replaced Mollie Fitzpatrick ’12 M’17, who left Norwich in June to join Boston University’s women's ice hockey coaching staff.

Willard served the last two years as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Vermont. She helped guide the Catamounts to a 16-23-8 overall record and back-to-back Hockey East quarterfinal appearances.

tyler willard min
At the University of Vermont, Tyler Willard was a two-year captain, playing 145 games to tie for the second-highest total in program history. She ranks in the program's top 10 for points, assists, power-play goals and most power-play goals in a season. (Photo courtesy University of Vermont Athletics.)

Willard played for and worked under former Amherst College head coach Jim Plumer at the University of Vermont. Plumer won back-to-back NCAA Division III national championships at Amherst in 2009 and 2010. She was a two-year captain, playing 145 games for Vermont, which is tied for the second-most in program history.

Willard ranks in the program's top 10 for points (62, ninth place), assists (41, tied for fourth place), power-play goals (12, ranking fourth place) and most power-play goals in a single season (six, tied for fifth place). Her point total is the program’s highest ever for a defenseman.

Willard was a two-time Hockey East Second Team All-Star (2015-16, 2016-17) and an honorable mention All-Star in 2017-18. She was named to the New England Hockey Writers Association Division I All-Star following her 2016-17 season.

Willard won the 2018 Sarah Devens Award, presented annually to a player who “demonstrates leadership and commitment both on and off the ice.” The Devens Award is given as a joint honor between ECAC Hockey and Hockey East and aids a deserving student-athlete with a postgraduate scholarship of $10,000. Willard was the first Vermont player and the first Hockey East player since 2006 to earn the honor.

Willard played professionally for the Montreal Canadiennes in the Canadian Women's Hockey League in 2018-19. She had seven points (two goals, five assists) in 26 games for the Canadiennes, who won the Clarkson Cup.

"I am extremely honored to be given the opportunity to join such an established and successful program at Norwich University as an assistant coach," Willard said. "I am thrilled at the opportunity to work for Sophie Leclerc. She is an amazing person and coach, and I'm excited to get to know and build relationships with our driven student-athletes.”

Norwich’s women's ice hockey team is coming off a 7-1 COVID-19 shortened season in 2021. The Cadets have won four straight New England Hockey Conference Championships and are expected to hold their first official 2021-22 practice in October.


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