Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

March 14, 2023 — Another all-time great field hockey coach retires

Linda Kreiser, who helped the U.S. women’s national team to a bronze-medal finish at the 1979 World Championships and coached Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) with distinction for more than 40 years, has announced her retirement from coaching.

She is yet another coach of veteran stature who has decided to hang up her whistle, following on the retirements of Enza Steele, Anne Parmenter, Karen Shelton, Lori Hussong, Karen Klassner, Lori Hussong, Ange Bradley, Ann Simons, Beth Arsenault, Lori Smith, Michele Martin-Moore, Sharon Coulton, Sharon Gallant, Jody Harmon, Gloria Hewitt, Pat Toner, and Becca Main from various teams in the American collegiate and scholastic scenes.

Kreiser is a person who has devoted her life to the game of field hockey. Her arc started at Millersville University, where she not only played top field hockey, but was also a fine lacrosse, basketball, and even a squash player.

She played for the U.S. women’s national team and was in the pool of players for Vonnie Gros’ side for the 1980 Olympics, but the team never got to play because of the Western boycott. Kreiser still played long after her retirement from the national team, distinguishing herself in club play with the Red Rose field hockey club.

At Lower Dauphin, she taught an unbroken blue line of athletes for 45 years. The players were skilled, mentally tough, and able to make their teammates better.

The Falcons have won seven state championships in the always-tough commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but there have been times when Lower Dauphin teams have been more memorable in falling short of state championship glory. On numerous occasions, Lower Dauphin would encounter Emmaus (Pa.) in the state semifinal round, and the teams often played games which were worthy of a grand final.

There was also a situation in the early 2000s when Lower Dauphin, sailing along with an undefeated regular season record, and playing as well or better than anyone else in the country, received the top seed in their District 3 championship, only to fall out of the tournament in the first round, thereby missing the state championship.

In 2019, Lower Dauphin fell a goal short in a penalty shootout against West Lawn Wilson (Pa.). But the Falcons got their revenge in 2022, beating Wilson in overtime of the state final.

It turns out that was the last game Kreiser coached.

She has been honored with membership in numerous athletic Halls of Fame, and with co-naming of the bandbox of a hockey stadium just north of the main high school that bears her name and that of Bea Hallman. She also carried the American flag at the most recent FIH World Masters championship and carried the Olympic torch before the Salt Lake Olympics.

One might say that she also carried the torch for the game of field hockey in a highly competitive area of the country.

And for that, I think hundreds of young women in Dauphin County and elsewhere owe her a debt of gratitude.

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