This afternoon, USA Field Hockey announced the resignation of Craig Parnham as the head coach of the U.S. women’s national team.
The resignation comes after the U.S. women’s program earned fourth place at the 2014 World Cup and fifth at Rio 2016. But, it must also be said, Parnham’s replacement with Team GB, Danny Kerry, was able to win gold this year.
The States had some tremendous runs of form during Parnham’s tenure. This included winning the Applebees their first major international trophy in the team’s 94-year history with the gold medal in the 2014 FIH Champions’ Challenge.
Usually, a good coach is able to go through, at most, two Olympic cycles with a particular team. But Parnham has been through five Olympics as both player and coach, and it’s understandable why he would like to step out of the coaching role.
It is also understandable how Parnham wouldn’t want to go on without his longtime colleague and friend Dave Hamilton, who is now plying his trade in fitness for Penn State University.
But I think the reason for Parnham’s resignation goes back four years. You see, since the resignation of Terry Walsh four years ago, USA Field Hockey has not had a technical director, a figure who could assist the national coaching staff for both genders and set the direction for the professional development and training of coaches at all levels in the United States.
Instead, what has happened is that Walsh’s former position has been left vacant, with the video portion of his former job being disaggregated. Nate Franks took over Walsh’s expertise in video, and received the title of Performance Analyst.
Parnham is scheduled to become USA Field Hockey’s Director of Coach Education and Learning as of January 1, 2017. This puts him in a position where he can oversee the pathway leading to high-performance coaching on the men’s and the women’s side.
Replacing Parnham on the touchline is former Holland international Janneke Schopman, who led the Oranje to gold at the 2006 World Cup and the 2008 Olympics as team captain. She’ll be the first woman to lead the U.S. women’s national team since the legendary Beth Anders was brought in as an interim coach after the resignation of Tracey Belbin.