Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Dec. 10, 2017 — Recognizing a collective

Sports leagues and news organizations have had the same way of recognizing the value of coaching: an end-of-season award which is bestowed upon the head coach. And even as the art of coaching has evolved in so many areas, the attention and reward (and, let’s face it, blame) is focused on one person, whether it is Knute Rockne, Geno Auriemma, John McGraw, or Bill Belichick, no matter who is working with them as assistant coaches.

About three years ago, this site added language to its criteria for selection for the United States Coach of the Year to include and recognize the growing number of schools which have designated co-head coaches.

This year, the National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association took it a step further. Instead of bestowing an award for the national or regional Coach of the Year, the organization changed their award to recognize a Coaching Staff of the Year.

The NFHCA has done something brilliant here. For all of the plaudits that coaches may receive for winning games and championships, it’s always an open question whether certain coaches are bolstered by the presence of a top assistant.

How much of the 1985 Chicago Bears championship team can be credited to defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, for example? Or how good would the University of Maryland women’s lacrosse team have been without Gary Gait as an assistant coach? What kind of influence was Mickie DeMoss on Pat Summitt for Tennessee women’s basketball?

It’s a fun mind exercise, one which is likely to continue once more athletic leagues start recognizing coaching staffs and not just head coaches.

It’s also notable that the awards also show the growth of male coaches in the game of field hockey. Each of the five regional awardees for NCAA Division I has at least one male coach on staff, something you might not have seen 20 years ago.




1 Comment»

  Mary Werkheiser wrote @

Good Morning Al, For as long as I have been coaching, I have always introduced Catherine and Laura as co- coaches. The time, energy and commitment that they have put forth, is no different than my efforts. I am more than happy to have them publicly acknowledged as well!! Laura Scimeca Gibson- Washington College player and former assistant coach. Been with me for 10 years.

Catherine McCallum- William and Mary player, coached at Cox HS before joining NA 5 years ago.

I am a very lucky women. And while I have always thought the best person for the job can be a man or women, I do think it is important for our girls to see strong, self confident women at the head! Thanks Al for the nomination!!

Mary Werkheiser

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