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Nancy Stevens, UConn’s Hall of Fame field hockey coach, retires – The Collinsville Press
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Nancy Stevens, UConn’s Hall of Fame field hockey coach, retires

The UConn field hockey celebrates after winning their second straight NCAA national championship in 2014 with a 1-0 win over Syracuse. Head coach Nancy Stevens is second from left in the back row. (Keith Long photo courtesy of UConn Sports Information)

STORRS, August 21, 2020 – Nancy Stevens, the winningest coach in NCAA field hockey history and leader of the University of Connecticut’s field hockey program for the past 30 seasons, has announced her retirement as head coach of the Huskies, effective September 1.

Stevens’ long-time assistant coach, Paul Caddy, has been named as her successor and Stevens will remain involved with the program as a volunteer assistant coach.

“After 43 years as a collegiate coach, I have decided to announce my retirement.  It has been my great privilege to lead the UConn Huskies for the past 30 years and I look forward to supporting our remarkable student-athletes as their volunteer assistant coach this year,” Stevens said.

Stevens led the Huskies to three national championships (2013, 2014 and 2017) and helped revive a program to elite status in Division I field hockey. Under Steven’s tutelage, the Huskies reached the last 17 NCAA Tournaments and advanced to 10-consecutive NCAA quarterfinals.  Stevens finishes her career with an all-time record of 700-189-24 and is the only coach in the history of the sport to reach the 700-win plateau.

“I was given opportunities to coach at four amazing institutions:  UConn, Northwestern, Penn State and Franklin & Marshall,” Stevens said. “Working with bright and talented student-athletes has been a source of great joy and for that I will remain incredibly grateful.  They have enriched my life immeasurably.”

“Nancy has had a legendary career and has positively impacted countless student-athletes,” said David Benedict, UConn’s director of athletics. “UConn field hockey has been a tremendous source of pride for the university community for decades and we are all grateful to Nancy for her leadership.”

There was going to be no field hockey season this fall at UConn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, the Big East announced that fall sports would not be held. The Big East will investigate if they could hold fall sports competition next spring.

“Elevating Paul (Caddy) to the head coaching position was an easy choice though as he learned a great deal, and contributed greatly to the success of the program, over the last 20 years,” Benedict said. “Paul is up to the challenge of succeeding a legend.  I am thrilled that Nancy will remain connected to the program in a volunteer assistant coach capacity as Paul, and the entire program, will continue to benefit from her expertise.”

“I am honored to follow Nancy and the legacy she has built here at UConn, “ Caddy said. “I am fortunate to have coached 20 years here at UConn mentored by Nancy. Who better to learn from than a three-time national champion and the winningest coach in NCAA Division I field hockey history.”

In Stevens’ 30 years as head coach, UConn appeared in 24 NCAA Tournaments, reached 18 NCAA quarterfinals, 10 NCAA semifinals, won 19 Big East Tournament titles and 19 Big East regular season titles while producing 50 first team All-Americans.

Stevens led the Huskies to a No. 1 national ranking in five different years (2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 1999).

A 2007 National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Hall of Fame inductee, Stevens won NFHCA National Coach of the Year honors on three occasions. She earned nine Mideast Region Coach of the Year, 13 Big East Coach of the Year awards and saw 11 of her former players on the U.S. National Team.

She was awarded a Gold Key by the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance in 2013.

Before taking over at Connecticut, Stevens served as the head coach at Northwestern University for nine years. She led the Wildcats to eight NCAA tournaments, three NCAA semifinal games (1983, 1985 and 1989) and four Big Ten Championships (1983, 1984, 1985 and 1988).

Stevens also acted as Northwestern’s assistant lacrosse coach for nine years and helped guide the Wildcats to five NCAA championship appearances in her final seven seasons.

Prior to coaching at Northwestern, Stevens was head field hockey and lacrosse coach at Franklin and Marshall College for two seasons. Her 1979 F&M team placed second at the AIAW national championship, while her 1980 team reached the quarterfinals.

A member of the U.S. National Team from 1974-79, she competed in the 1975 World Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland. That team was captained by former UConn coach Diane Wright.
Originally from Manheim, Pa., Stevens received her bachelor’s degree in education, summa cum laude from West Chester University in 1976. She captained the 1975 field hockey team at West Chester that won the AIAW national championship.

In 1979, she received her master’s degree in sports psychology from Penn State. There, she also served as assistant field hockey and lacrosse coach from 1977-79, with the lacrosse squads winning AIAW national championship titles in 1978 and 1979.


Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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