In nearly a decade at West Chester University, Amy Cohen has taken the Golden Rams to six NCAA National Championship semifinals and this year, secured West Chester’s third Division II National Championship (their seventh overall).
But, while winning is a sweet reward, Amy finds satisfaction and motivation through building relationships with her student-athletes and assistant coaches. As a part of our Ask a Coach series, Amy agreed to sit down and answer your questions about life as a coach, how she resets, and what it’s like working for one of the most storied programs in field hockey’s history.
What is your favorite part about coaching the Golden Rams?
My favorite part about coaching the Golden Rams is getting to wear purple every day as it’s my favorite color! In all seriousness, my favorite part about coaching my team is going to work every day — I get to spend time with my team and watch them all grow into these impressive young women. I am very fortunate as I love my job.
How do you motivate your team?
Every team has a different trigger for motivation, so the key is to find that one thing that gets them going.
I teach them to become the best version of themselves, and if everyone on the team is working toward that goal every day, I don’t have to do much motivating. When those things don’t work we can always give the team a break — I find that nice dinners and nights off from study hall always work as good motivators.
What was your favorite game of the season? (We think we know the answer.)
There were a lot of great games this year that when I think back on them I smile.
Typically, my favorite games are wins on the road. This year’s, NCAA Championship semifinal and final games both equally stand out to me for various reasons — big wins against great opponents on the biggest stage.
What’s the first thing that stands out when you are looking at a recruit?
I recruit a complete field hockey athlete of good character and I very rarely recruit an actual position. The only position we recruit for is the goalkeeper. In a goalie, I am always looking for someone athletic that can take care of business while on their feet first! For field players, I am known as a stickler for ball control, and I obviously love a specialty skill set as well.
What made you want to coach at West Chester University?
The program was moving from Division I to Division II and I knew it was going to be a great challenge, so that’s why I applied for the job. I love a challenge. I love the rich history of field hockey at West Chester — that history is something I want to be a part of and continue to honor on a daily basis.
What do you do to unwind after the season?
If you asked me this question a few years ago, I would have a different answer. Now, after having a family, I just look forward to spending more time with my wife and my three kids. Family time is the best time. You’ll typically find my family at the Elmwood Park Zoo, at a local park, or strolling the streets of West Chester.
Is Tep the best coach or what?
Having Abby Tepper come on as an assistant coach this season has been a lot of fun. Having a young, energetic, and passionate assistant coach who wants to become a head coach one day makes coming to work even better for me. I get to spend my day trading ideas with my assistant coaches and with our team — to me that’s not work, it’s my passion, it’s my hobby, and it truly is a great time.
Coaching is certainly not always easy but at the end of the day it is always rewarding. I have doctors, business women, respiratory therapists, teachers, occupational therapists, physician assistants, insurance saleswomen, nutritionists, coaches, and moms who are all alumni of this program, and this is what I am most proud of.
Thank you, Amy! And thanks to everyone who submitted a question!
Want more answers? Catch some advice from Charlotte Ambush director, Miki Osherow, University of North Carolina head coach, Karen Shelton, Trinity College assistant coach, Katie Kloeckener, and Shippensburg University head coach, Tara Zollinger!