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Thursday, January 24, 2013

 Feature

Legendary Field Hockey Coach Beth Anders Honored at Retirement Dinner

After 30 seasons at the helm of the Old Dominion field hockey program and an NCAA-record nine national championships, Beth Anders retired following the conclusion of the 2012 season after claiming 561 career wins, the most of any coach in the sport in NCAA Division I history (see photos below).

"I leave a program with student-athletes who are strong and in a great position to continue ODU's tradition," said Anders. "I believe in the players and I will miss them, but I leave them with a great foundation."

ODU paid tribute to Anders and her heralded career during a dinner at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on Jan. 12.

Leading the Lady Monarchs to the NCAA tournament in 28 seasons, Anders has cemented her status as one of the elite coaches throughout intercollegiate athletics. Under her tutelage, ODU achieved more honors than any other field hockey program in NCAA history. Among the most prestigious, Anders and her teams have brought the NCAA championship trophy back to Norfolk an unprecedented nine times. In addition, the Lady Monarchs have won 15 CAA regular season championships and 14 CAA tournament titles since joining the league in 1991 and made 17 Final Four appearances.

"Few coaches in the history of any sport have left such a rich and successful legacy as Beth Anders," said Athletic Director Wood Selig. "She has positively impacted generations of national and international coaches and student-athletes. Fortunately for ODU, coach Anders was leaving her mark of excellence while representing our university and region of the country."

Anders made contributions throughout her career to the game of field hockey. As a player, she participated at every level possible, including World Cup and Olympic events. Considered by many to be a pioneer of her sport, her resume is dotted with a long list of incredible achievements and monumental firsts.

In national coaching records, Anders coached more games than any other active Division I coach, having been on the sidelines of 704 games over her 30-year career. She became the first Division I coach to reach the 400-career victory mark, a milestone only reached by seven other coaches in the sport. Anders posted an amazing .803 winning percentage and her 561 overall wins are the most of any Division I coach in history.

Internationally, Anders guided the 1991 U.S. National Team to the bronze medal and masterminded the qualifying campaign for the 1994 World Cup. In the summer of 2003, Anders was asked to take over the U.S. National Team and prepare it for the Pan American games in the Dominican Republic, where the team finished second.

The love affair between Anders and field hockey, however, goes well beyond her immediate reign in the coaching ranks. In 1980, she made the first of two Olympic field hockey teams as co-captain, but was forced - because of the boycott in Moscow - to wait four more years to realize her dream of winning a medal. In 1984, though, nothing stood in the way of Anders and her teammates as they cashed in on a bronze medal at the Los Angeles games. Anders, whose strong penalty corner was consistently clocked in the 90 mph range, nearly singlehandedly lifted the U.S. team to victory, scoring eight of her team's nine goals in its five-game performance for an Olympic record that still stands today.

"Beth Anders helped put Old Dominion University athletics on the map and quickly put ODU field hockey in the spotlight with three back-to-back NCAA titles in the early 1980s," said former athletic director Jim Jarrett, who hired Anders in 1980. "No other coach or program in ODU history has enjoyed the kind of national success and dominance that the field hockey program has commanded, and that is all due to Beth's outstanding coaching and incredible knowledge of the game."

Throughout her international playing career, Anders competed in more than 100 international matches, was a participant in every World Cup from 1971 to 1984, was on the National Team from 1969 to 1980 and was the high scorer for the United States every year she was on the team.

Anders participated in the first World Cup field hockey event to have both men's and women's competition at the same venue. She was one of just 24 field hockey coaches from around the world to be in attendance for a clinic during the 1998 World Cup in Holland. After three NCAA titles as coach of ODU and a bronze medal as a player and two-time captain with the Olympic team, Anders was named Olympic Athlete of the Year and Virginia Coach of the Year in 1984. Bringing the two realms of the sport together, Anders was recognized for her many contributions with an induction into the United States Field Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Anders' love for her sport is infectious, as many former ODU student-athletes have grown into standout players and coaches in and around the world's field hockey family. A total of 16 former players coached by Anders have participated in the last five Olympics, which include a bronze medalist in NCAA all-time leading scorer Marina DiGiacomo for Argentina and a silver medalist in Maacha van der Vaart of the Netherlands at the Olympics in Athens, Greece, in the summer of 2004. The list grew in the summer of 2008 as four Lady Monarchs - Tiffany Snow,Angie Loy,Dana Sensenig and Caroline Nichols - were named to the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2008 Beijing Games, while Nichols again represented ODU in the 2012 London Games.

Anders challenged her teams to not only excel on the field, but also in the classroom. Since 1989, the Lady Monarch teams have finished with a GPA of 3.0 or better. In 2009, her team boasted the highest GPA among all Division I field hockey programs, compiling a team average of 3.51. During the fall of 2009 and 2010, the Lady Monarchs had a total of 24 members named to the dean's list, while the 2011 team boasted the highest cumulative GPA of any Monarch squad at 3.34. Certainly the epitome of Anders' student-athletes is Samantha Salvia, the school's first-ever Rhodes scholar, who graduated in 1996 with a 4.0 GPA in environmental and civil engineering.

"I love ODU field hockey and I am extremely proud of our current program, as well as the program through the past years," said Anders on her announced retirement. "I have received many a letter from past players and parents telling me how grateful they were for my coaching. What a gift those letters have been, promoting my passion for coaching year after year. It is hard to truly express how grateful I am for having had the privilege of coaching so many great people."

The key to Anders' success on and off the field hockey field has been her love for and dedication to the game. Her development of the Futures Program during her national coaching stint in 1993 and her active mentoring of field hockey youth are just two examples of her will to succeed better than anyone in her vocation.

A fine all-around athlete herself, Anders was a four-time All-College field hockey and lacrosse player before graduating from Ursinus College with a B.S. degree in health and physical education. The Norristown, Pa., native was also selected to the national collegiate basketball team and won the intercollegiate squash championship in 1970. She is the author of the books "Field Hockey: Steps to Success," originally published in 1999 and updated in 2008, and "Lessons in Field Hockey," released in 1996.

ODU recently hired Andrew Griffiths, the head field hockey coach at Lafayette College the past six years, to succeed Anders. He becomes the fourth field hockey head coach in ODU history.


Pictured with Anders (far right) are, from left: All-Americans and Olympians Yogi Hightower Boothe, Cheryl Van Kuren and Christy Morgan.


Joining Anders for a photo are Jim Jarrett, former athletic director, and Mikki Baile, former senior associate athletic director, who, along with Jarrett, hired Anders in 1980.

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