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Archive for August 3, 2018

Aug. 3, 2018 — When “who’s not here” is as important as who is

The American scholastic field hockey community, a few years ago, was losing centuries’ worth of coaching experience every year with the retirement of a number of prominent coaches.

And there were a number of significant moves in the offseason; let’s concentrate on five of them.

Two are from programs which have been extremely successful over the years, engaging in their own intramural competition for the most all-time state titles.

Ann Andrews of Severna Park (Md.) and Robin (Adair) Harvey of Wilmington Tower Hill (Del.) have left their respective positions. Harvey won 10 state titles with Tower Hill between 1997 and 2008. The Hillers have won 17 DIAA championship in total in a state where, until a couple of years ago, every kind of school — public, private, charter, and parochial — played for exactly one state title. Harvey coached a number of superb players, including her replacement, Meredith (Keller) Giacco. She even has a current member of the U.S. national team pool, Caitlin Van Sickle.

Andrews won three of Severna Park’s 23 state titles in a three-year span from 2013 to 2015. She was harshly let go by the school district after a long-established playoff prank by her players was reported to authorities, and she has now taken over as the head coach at Hood College.

The other two coaches left their positions after winning championships. Jamie Tierney-Harris, the head coach of Fredericksburg James Madison (Va.) left to coach NCAA Division III contender Mary Washington after leading Madison to the state Class 3A title.

Daan Polders, the well-traveled Dutchman who is one of a very few coaches to win state titles in more than one state, has stepped down after leading Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.) to the state Class 2A title. He now coaches the U.S. Under-17 national team program while maintaining a presence in the club coaching scene with his own company.

The last coach we’re touching on is a true legend, Cathy McGuirk of Branford (Conn.). She coached for 41 years, winning 558 games. She is being replaced in the coaches’ box by middle-school coach Pete Frye, who not only had a daughter play for McGuirk, but who coached his middle-school team to an 11-0 record, outscoring its opposition by a goal differential of +41.

These are all quality coaches, and I’m hoping all are in a good place this fall.

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