The National Coach of the Year: Sue Butz-Stavin

If Sue Butz-Stavin had simply broken the win record and become the winningest coach in the history of the High School game this season, she very well likely could have received this award.  Then you consider what she did in the 2015 season-- she led her Emmaus team to a perfect 27-0 season and won the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship, District XI Championship, and the Pennsylvania AAA State championship, quite arguably the most difficult championship in the nation to win!  To us, it wasn't even a question: Sue Butz-Stavin is the 2015 National High School Coach of the Year.

Final Record: 27-0-0
Final National Ranking: #2
Final PA/NJ Region Ranking: #2
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Champions
-defeated East Stroudsburg 1-0 in OT (Emmaus lost to East Stroudsburg in the title game last year)
District XI Champions (27th Straight)
PIAA AAA State Champions (Butz-Stavin's 10th state title)
-defeated nationally ranked #7 Penn Manor in the semifinal, 2-1
-defeated nationally ranked #4 Palmyra in the final, 1-0 in OT

On September 9, 2015: Emmaus defeats Dieruff High School and Sue Butz-Stavin earns her 840th victory, surpassing the record of 839 held by retired coach Nancy Williams of Shore Regional High School (NJ).  Butz-Stavin's record, and the national record, would be extended to 865 victories by the end of the season.

When you look at the big picture of what Butz-Stavin has been able to accomplish at Emmaus High School in her 40 year coaching career it is remarkable- the wins, the championships, the All-Americans, the future college stars.  What resonates most with us after researching her career and her field hockey program is the tradition of excellence and the field hockey family she has built at Emmaus.  It is the kind of atmosphere and community that all players and families want to be a part of and that coaches strive to build.

We were given access to literally thousands of photos from the Emmaus Field Hockey program to use in this story.  Sure there were tons of action shots from their games and photos of the championship celebrations, but there were almost as many from the annual golf tournament, the program picnic with team building competitions, costume practices, the special senior appreciation event, the championship send-off by families and the Emmaus community, and on and on.  These are the type of things players rarely have the opportunity to experience until they get to college and Sue Butz-Stavin has created this experience for young female field hockey players for 40 years at Emmaus High School.

It seems like this question comes up more and more these days: Is it possible to win at the highest level AND do things the right way?  Read our Q&A with Coach Butz-Stavin that follows and hear from someone who proves it absolutely is!


QUESTION: How does it feel and what does it mean to you to be the nation’s all-time winningest coach?

Butz-Stavin: "I just want to continue to inspire the young ladies I coach to achieve their goals in life by dedication, hard work and having a love in what they choose to do to pursue their dreams."

QUESTION: What made this year’s team and season special and different than the rest?

Butz-Stavin: "Having a group of ladies with different levels of skills band together to achieve a goal, a goal that many teams find hard to achieve – conference, district and state championships."


QUESTION: After 40 years of coaching, what motivates you to keep doing what you do?

Butz-Stavin: "The love of the game and enjoyment of coaching high school athletes. Every day is a new challenge. It’s fun. It keeps you young."


QUESTION: Do you have any mentors or coaches that you look up to that have helped shape the type of coach you are today?

Butz-Stavin: "Vonnie Gros. I had the privilege of having Professor Gros at West Chester State College. A wonderful person, that instilled the history of the sport, technical training (fundamentals) and tactics of teamwork. A simple saying “KISS”: keep it simple stupid!

My mother, Lucille Butz, taught me the spirit and sportsmanship of sports. She also instilled that hard work and the pursuit of excellence would produce a positive outcome."

QUESTION: What advice would you give to a young female that is considering getting into coaching field hockey?

Butz-Stavin: "Coach for the love of the game while inspiring the youth to achieve life skills on the playing field."
QUESTION: What are the biggest changes you have seen in the athletes you have coached over the last 40 years?
Butz-Stavin: "The opportunities for athletes to play year round. The Computer Age.  Girls were more natural athletes than they are today. The playground atmosphere has disappeared. Sports are more organized by parents."

QUESTION: Now that you have accomplished the highest of achievements (You are the winningest coach in the game!)- what’s next?

Butz-Stavin: "To continue to share the passion of the game and inspire the spirit & sportsmanship of competition."

QUESTION: How much longer will you continue coaching?

Butz-Stavin: "No timeline."

QUESTION: If you could change one thing about the sport of field hockey in the U.S., what would it be?

Butz-Stavin: "The sport needs to grow across the country in middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities."


QUESTION: If you weren’t coaching field hockey, what would you be doing?

Butz-Stavin: "House projects, travel, golf and spending time with my husband Bob."



Butz-Stavin with her Class of 2016 Seniors

Becoming the all-time winningest coach in the nation - Win #840

2015 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Champions

2015 District XI Champions

PIAA AAA State Champions


Photos Courtesy of Bryan Tietz