Melissa Mariano was named head coach of the Hamilton College field hockey program in July 2017. In 2018 she guided the Continentals to a record of 10-6 including 6-4 in the NESCAC, and the program hosted a conference championship quarterfinal for the third year in a row. Her players collected an all-America award, three all-region honors and three all-NESCAC selections. Two seniors participated in the annual senior game and Hamilton finished the year ranked 18th in the final Division III Top 20 coaches poll. Ten student-athletes made the National Field Hockey Coaches Association National Academic Squad and the Continentals received a National Academic Team Award for the second year in a row under Mariano.
In mid-September of 2017 Mariano's squad climbed as high as No. 8 in the coaches poll, which is the best ranking in program history. She has coached two all-America selections and six all-region and all-conference athletes at Hamilton.
Mariano was the head coach at Franklin and Marshall College from 2008 to 2016. Her Franklin and Marshall teams boasted a winning record in each of her last eight years at the school. In 2016 Mariano directed the Diplomats to a record of 16-5, a share of the Centennial Conference regular season title and the NCAA championship quarterfinals. It was the team's fifth NCAA appearance in the last six years.
Mariano, who was the senior woman administrator at Franklin and Marshall, is the winningest coach in program history with a record of 129-46. Six of her players received a total of 10 all-America honors and the Diplomats collected 21 all-region selections. Mariano was named the 2011 NFHCA Division III South Region Coach of the Year and in 2014 she led the team to records for most goals, shutouts and wins (tie) in a season. The 2012 squad also recorded 18 victories. The team reached No. 1 in the NFHCA poll for the first time in program history in 2013.
The team experienced a great deal of success in the Centennial Conference under Mariano. Franklin and Marshall earned at least a share of five regular season crowns and captured the tournament title in 2012. She was named coach of the year in 2011 and 2015, and her players racked up a rookie of the year and two player of the year awards to go along with 33 all-conference honors.
Mariano was an assistant coach at William Smith College from 2004 to 2007 while the Herons put together a record of 69-16 and made four NCAA championship appearances. She helped guide the team to the national semifinals in 2004 and the quarterfinals in 2005 and 2006. The program garnered 11 all-America selections, 19 all-region honors and three Liberty League player of the year awards during her four years. William Smith won four league titles and Mariano was part of three league coaching staff of the year awards.
As a player at Middlebury College where she was known as Missy Krempa, Mariano was a four-year starter at midfield and finished her career with 21 goals and 48 points. In 2003 the team captain helped lead the Panthers to a 19-1 record, a NESCAC championship and the NCAA final. She was a first team all-American, first team all-NESCAC and selected for the NCAA all-tournament team. Mariano was on the all-region first team twice and earned a spot on the 2003 NFHCA National Academic Squad. She was chosen by her teammates to receive the Unsung Hero Award in 2002 and the Panther Contribution Award in 2003. Mariano was given the 2004 Deborah Parton Memorial Award for the Middlebury female athlete who exemplifies spirit and dedication.
The Johnstown, N.Y., native graduated cum laude from Middlebury with a degree in history and psychology.