Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Archive for February 18, 2019

Feb. 18, 2019 — Anne Sage, 1944-2019

A few months after starting this site in 1998, I got an email from Anne Sage, the head field hockey and lacrosse coach at the University of Pennsylvania.

She wanted to know what I knew about the recruiting scenes in both sports.

For a writer who was just starting to develop a space for both sports on the Internet, this was a surprise — a most welcome one — that a coach with such experience and gravitas would seek me out for a fresh perspective.

Only a few months later, however, came the lowest point in Sage’s professional career. During a disastrous one-win season in 1999, she was the target of a petition, signed by all 22 players on the Quaker women’s lacrosse team, asking her to step down. She did only after the season ended, under an enormous cloud of silence as an interim coach was brought in.

I never liked the way this situation went down.

And I still don’t.

The episode tarnished an amazing career, record, and life story. She died on Valentine’s Day, and I’m not sure she ever got the right treatment from people in the lacrosse and field hockey communities for all she did for both sports.

She played seven years for the U.S. senior national women’s lacrosse program, started both the field hockey and women’s lacrosse programs at Penn, and even coached the Quaker field hockey players to the 1988 Final Four.

But the last we saw of her, regrettably, was in the spring of 1999. The events of that season spawned one of this site’s unofficial Laws of Field Hockey:

There are distinct roles in sport that, if violated, constitute an imbalance in the order: “Players play. Coaches coach. Officials officiate. Spectators spectate. Administrators administer.”

I have called this maxim the Third Law of Field Hockey.

Perhaps it’s time this law gets renamed for Anne Sage.