|NFHCA 2012 National Coach of
the Year Tina McDavitt
MEDFORD - In three week's time, Tufts University field hockey head coach Tina McDavitt has led the Jumbos to the NCAA Div. III championship, got engaged, and is now the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) DIII National Coach of the Year, which was announced this morning.
It started on November 17, when McDavitt's team won the national title with a 2-1 final over Montclair State University. Tufts has been a major player on the national scene under Coach McDavitt since 2008, but their national title definitely took some by surprise. They had lost in overtime to a good Trinity squad in the 2011 conference quarterfinals, which led to missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years.
The 2012 squad proved any uncertainty about them was unfounded, running off a 14-game winning streak in-season and then posting five wins in NCAA play to take the championship. The Jumbos became the first woman's team in Tufts history to capture an NCAA title.
After returning to Tufts with the national championship trophy in tow, McDavitt spent Thanksgiving week recruiting in Florida. Two weeks later, her boyfriend Chuck Mattera proposed to her on Newbury Street in Boston while wearing a red Speedo during the annual Santa Speedo Run in the city.
Just two days later, topping it all off is the NFHCA's National Coach of the Year announcement today.
"This has been unbelievable," McDavitt said. "I'm still pinching myself about the national championship. Then to get engaged and national coach of the year in the same week. I feel so lucky and overwhelmed."
The national championship crowned a five-year stretch in which McDavitt has lifted Tufts into the national spotlight. They were the new kid on the block in 2008, advancing to the national final. In 2009 they returned to the "final four." This past fall, they moved on to the program's third "final four" in the last five years with a 2-1 victory against rival Bowdoin in the national quarterfinals. In the semi-finals, they knocked off upstart DePauw 2-0 to reach the championship game.
"Tina is a talented, experienced, and knowledgeable player and coach, but what really sets her apart from other coaches is just how much she cares about this program and every girl who is or has been a part of it," said Taylor Dyer, an All-American player for McDavitt from 2008-11, and now a graduate assistant coach for the program. "She makes a genuine effort to get to know everyone on our team, not just as players, but as people. She will ask you how your exam went earlier that day, see how your family is doing, and will never think twice about spending hours sitting in a hospital waiting room with you to get an x-ray. At our banquet, (Tufts master swimming coach) Don Megerle said a very fitting quote about Tina coaching our team: "They don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."