Onstead is a pioneer in the sport of field hockey, particularly at the collegiate level, aiding in the West Coast development of a traditionally East Coast game. The San Jose, Calif., product has also made an impact in the game at the national and international levels through her work with USA Field Hockey. More notably, she served as an assistant coach to the U.S. women's team in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games.
The first All-American player for the Golden Bears, Onstead is now in her 18th year at the helm of her alma mater, which she has built into a West Coast powerhouse. Onstead has compiled a 203-11 career record and has led Cal to 11 conference titles, including guiding the 2011 squad to the NorPac Tournament championship. The six-time NorPac Coach of the Year has guided the Bears to five NCAA Tournament appearances.
Cal has posted some impressive firsts over the past few seasons. In 2007, the Bears upset then-No. 4 Michigan, 1-0, for their first victory against a top-five team in Onstead's tenure. During 2006, the Bears had one of their most successful seasons, earning their highest ranking ever at No. 12 and an appearance in the first round of the postseason. The Bears 2011 reached a new high in the national rankings, rising to No. 11 in the national rankings, a place they held for two weeks during the season as well as returning to that ranking in the final season poll.
Onstead, who earned her latest NorPac Coach of the Year honor in 2006, also coached two-time NorPac Player of the Year Valentina Godfrid to her 200th career point, oversaw the Cal star as Godfrid topped the nation in goals (33) and coached Rachel Moffitt towards becoming Cal's all-time assist leader (36) and the NorPac Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.
Onstead won the 200th game of her coaching career on Oct. 23, 2011 in a thrilling come-from-behind 4-3 overtime victory at UC Davis.
Aside from Cal, Onstead has served in numerous coaching capacities at the national and international levels. She was an assistant coach for the U.S. women's team that competed in the 2008 Olympics. Onstead is one of the few females on the U.S. men's national team coaching staff and was the first woman ever to be named head coach of the men's under-16 national team.
In April of 2012, Onstead was a member of the coaching staff for the U21 Junior National Squad took on the England U21 squad in four matches from April 3-7 at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire, England. In March 2010, she coached the Under-17 U.S. National team at the 2010 Pan American Youth Championships in Montevideo, Uruguay. In April 2009, Onstead led the U.S. U-17 National team to a 6-2 record at the 22nd DOMO International Easter Tournament in Hod Valkenswaard, The Netherlands. Her keeper was named the Goalie of the Tournament.
In 2005, she served as an assistant coach for the U.S. under-21 men's national team. The U.S. team competed in the Junior Pan American tournament held in Havana, Cuba, where it finished fifth.
In April 2004, she was an assistant coach for the U.S. men's national team on a tour of Malaysia. In May, she served in the same capacity at the Pan American Cup in Ontario, Canada, where she also attended the Pan American Federation Coaching Clinic. In May 2002, Onstead coached the men's under- 21 and men's senior national teams at the California Cup, an international tournament contested in Moorpark, Calif. Also in 2002, Onstead was a video analyst for the U.S. Women's World Cup team that competed in Perth, Australia.
Onstead was the head coach of the U.S. men's under-16 national team from 1999-2001, earning the 1999 U.S. Field Hockey Association's National Coach of the Year. Onstead served as an assistant coach on the men's senior national team in 2000 at the America's Cup Tournament in Cuba and a 2001 World Cup Qualifier in Scotland.
A member of the U.S. national team in 1985 and 1986, Onstead also competed at the Veteran National Team World Cup in the Netherlands in the spring of 1998. She played for Jailbreak in 2006 and for the Rush in the 2008 Cal Cup and in the 2007 Super Division.
Onstead has coached at numerous USFHA development and elite camps during the offseason. In May 2007, Onstead served as an assistant coach for the U.S. women's national team that competed in a tournament in Chile as it prepared for the Pan Am Games. Also in the spring of 2007, she took the U.S. under-19 Olympic Development Select team for a slate of games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the spring of 2006, she coached the Elite under-16 team, which toured the Netherlands and took fourth at the International Easter Hockey Tournament in Valkenswaard. She led the U.S. U-16 team to a third-place finish in the same tournament in 2009.
As the head coach of the USFHA Western Region women's high performance training site, Onstead coached the California team at the USA Women's National Championships in Virginia Beach, Va., in the summer of 2006. In addition, she coached the men's Western Region Team at the 2006 USA Men's National Championship in Chula Vista, Calif., where it took second place. Locally, she is the director of California Field Hockey Camp at San Jose State and the Cal Elite Camp during the summer.
Onstead participated in an FIH coaching course that ran concurrently with the Champions Challenge in Virginia Beach, Va. in July 2005. In addition, she served a four-year term on the NCAA West Region Advisory Committee and was a member of the Division I Field Hockey Officiating Subcommittee.
Prior to taking over the reins at Cal from long-time head coach Donna Fong in 1995, Onstead was a first-team All-American for the Bears in 1982. She served as an assistant coach to Fong for 11 seasons. As a player, Onstead still ranks among Cal's all-time leaders in scoring. She is tied for eighth in career goals (26) and ranks seventh in career assists (18) and seventh in points (70). She was elected into the California Hall of Fame in 2008.
Onstead came to Cal in the fall of 1980 as a transfer from UC Davis. In her first season, she led the Bears to a runner-up finish in the 1980 AIAW national tournament, the program's best postseason showing. Onstead propelled Cal to a pair of fifth-place postseason finishes, first in 1981, in the AIAW Tournament, and in 1982, in the NCAA Tournament. She was a two-time all-conference selection.
Onstead graduated from Cal in 1983 with a degree in physical education.