The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) honors regional and national collegiate coaches of the year each season for Division I, II and III. The Regional Coaches of the Year were named in early December and can be viewed below. The National Coaches of the Year were announced this past Friday in Naples, Florida at the NFHCA's annual convention and awards breakfast.
This year's recipients all have one impressive thing in common: each coach led her team to a 2015 NCAA National Championship. For two of the three honorees, it was the first field hockey National Championship in school history.
Congratulations to the 2015 4U Sports/NFHCA National Coaches of the Year:
Division I National Coach of the Year
Ange Bradley, Syracuse University
Head Coach Ange Bradley led her Syracuse team to its first ever National Championship in 2015 and also made history for female athletics at Syracuse University, becoming the school's first women's team to claim a National Championship. After finishing the regular season at a perfect 16-0 and claiming the ACC regular season title, Syracuse fell to UNC in the ACC Tournament final. The Orange would go on to win four straight games in the NCAA Tournament, including a 4-2 victory over UNC in the championship game to win the title.
Bradley was also honored as the 2015 ACC Coach of the Year and NFHCA Mideast Region Coach of the Year, after leading Syracuse to back-to-back NCAA title game appearances. Her squad finished the season with a record of 21-1, ranking among the top of several national statistical categories, sweeping the ACC conference awards, and having three players being honored as First Team All-Americans. Her .751 win % ranks 6th in Division I history and 4th among active coaches.
Division II National Coach of the Year
Sandy Miller, East Stroudsburg University
Long-time Head Coach Sandy Miller led East Stroudsburg to a historical season in 2015. The Warriors claimed their first-ever PSAC Conference Championship and first-ever NCAA Division II National Championship. They also set a school record with 19 wins, finishing the season 19-3.
The Warriors defeated the reigning National Champions, Millersville University, in the PSAC Championship game 1-0 to win their first PSAC Tournament title in 13 appearances. Miller's squad then went on to knock off West Chester 6-2 in the NCAA semifinal and Merrimack 1-0 in OT in the final to claim ESU's first National Championship title in 7 NCAA Tournament appearances. Miller's squad finished the season with a 67-17 goal differential, outscoring opponents 11-3 in the postseason.
This is Miller's fourth NFHCA Division II Coach of the Year honor in 32 seasons at ESU (she was previously honored in 1993, 1994, 2001).
Division III National Coach of the Year
Katharine DeLorenzo, Middlebury College
The third time was a charm for Division III National Coach of the Year Katharine DeLorenzo and her Middlebury College field hockey team. The Panthers defeated the top-ranked Bowdoin College Polar Bears in the NCAA title game 1-0 to claim the program's second National Championship (first was in 1998). The Panthers had fallen to Bowdoin by a score of 2-1 in the previous two match-ups, once during regular season conference play and once just four games earlier in the NESCAC Tournament championship game.
The combination of the Panthers potent offense, that averaged 4 goals per game, and stingy defense that allowed only 14 goals all season (and 1 goal in the entire NCAA Tournament) enabled 3rd ranked Middlebury to knock of four of the nation's top teams en route to claiming the national title (#5 Franklin & Marshall, #6 William & Smith, #2 TCNJ and #1 Bowdoin). DeLorenzo's squad also set a school record with 20 wins, finishing the season 20-2.
This is DeLorenzo's second time being honored as the Division III National Coach of the Year in her 15 seasons at Middlebury.