There have been a number of high-school field hockey coaches who have spent decades — willingly — as an assistant without even having the beginning of an idea of succeeding the boss and becoming head coach.
Names like former U.S. national teamer Diane Angstadt, who has patrolled the sidelines at Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) for some three decades, come to mind. Same with Kim Barbacci at Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) and Holly Becker at The Lawrenceville (N.J.) School.
But occasionally, long-time assistants find success moving up a space closer to the scorer’s table. A decade ago, Ann Beckley of Mifflinburg (Pa.) had taken over after 13 years of coaching at the JV level, and won a state championship.
This fall, a similar situation might occur at Factoryville Lackawanna Trail (Pa.). After 25 years of being an assistant at Trail, Gary Wilmet is taking over for veteran coach Sandy Spott.
Wilmet has a lot to live up to, since Spott had two losing seasons in 37 years of coaching. That’s saying a lot in an area which includes Wyoming Seminary, Dallas (Pa.), Mountain Top Crestwood (Pa.), Lehman Lake-Lehman (Pa.), and Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa.).