Cheryl Silva tabbed for NFHCA Hall of Fame

Aug 13, 2021 | 2021-2022, Division III, News

BROCKPORT, N.Y. — The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) is honored to announce that Cheryl Silva, former head coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be inducted to the NFHCA Hall of Fame.

Silva is the all-time winningest coach in MIT-program history, amassing a 313-200-1 record in her 29 seasons on the Engineer sideline. She retired in 2020 with six conference titles, five NFHCA New England East Region Coaching Staff of the Year awards, and four conference coach of the year selections.

“Cheryl has made such a lasting impact on our game,” said Hall of Fame Committee chair, Katie Kloeckener. “Her success on the field speaks for itself, but her service to our organization and willingness to mentor so many young coaches throughout her career is incredible. She is truly deserving of the Hall of Fame honor.”

“I was stunned when I got the call from [NFHCA president] Anne Parmenter,” said Silva. “I truly had no words when she told me I was being honored in this year’s Hall of Fame. Thank you to the selection committee and those who nominated me to receive this incredible honor.”

Winning Ways

During Silva’s tenure as head coach, the Engineers advanced to the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Tournament five times and earned a place in the quarterfinals twice, during their 2011 and 2019 campaigns. She led the MIT squad to six conference titles, one in the former NEW-8 and five in the NEWMAC. Silva and her staffs have been recognized as the NFHCA New England East Region Coaching Staff of the Year on five occasions and have earned conference coaching honors four times.

Silva has also received high honors at her alma mater, the University of Bridgeport, when she was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame and was recognized with the Fran Bacon Award for Lifetime Achievement in Coaching in 2014.

Silva has coached a staggering 201 NFHCA National Academic Squad honorees, 50 NFHCA All-Region team honorees, 16 NFHCA All-Americans, four NFHCA Regional Players of the Year, and two Honda Sport Award Division III Athletes of the Year.

Off the field, Silva served on the NCAA New England East Regional Ranking Committee and the NFHCA Division III All-American Committee. At MIT, she was an associate professor, senior coach, and freshman advisor. Within the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation, she served as a member of the senior staff and was the intramural sports coordinator in addition to being an instructor in the physical education program.

Silva was also the first women’s lacrosse head coach at MIT. She led the team from 1992 to 2007, guiding the Engineers to a 71-111 record and a pair of semifinal appearances in the New England Women’s 8 Tournament.

Then and Now

Silva received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Bridgeport in physical education where she played field hockey and softball. Following graduation, she began her coaching career at Staples High School in Connecticut before moving on to the Princeton Day School as a physical education instructor — she also coached the field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse teams for seven years.

Silva earned a master’s degree in sport management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1989 while she was an assistant lacrosse coach at Mount Holyoke College and field hockey umpire. Her stint in umpiring was followed by two years at Wellesley College where she was an administrative assistant in the athletic department and the assistant field hockey and lacrosse coach. She found her way to MIT in 1991 where she coached for 29 years.

During her time at MIT, Silva mentored 26 different assistant coaches, many of whom were graduate students who went on to become lawyers, doctors, teachers, and engineers.

“Cheryl’s true service to the sport has been in mentoring and developing other coaches,” noted her nominator. “She mentors young assistant coaches, part-time coaches, and volunteer coaches. Cheryl creates an environment for these individuals to thrive and succeed. She is an incredible role model, teacher, and mentor.”

The Hall

Silva will be officially inducted into the NFHCA Hall of Fame as the Class of 2021 at the NFHCA Awards Dinner sponsored by AstroTurf® in January at the 2022 NFHCA Annual Convention. She will be joined on stage by the members of the Class of 2020, Diane Chapman and Penny Kempf, whose induction was delayed by one year due to COVID-19.

The NFHCA Hall of Fame was established in 1999 to honor exceptional field hockey coaches, administrators, and umpires for their success on and off the field. The Class of 2021 will be the 22nd cohort to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) is a nonprofit organization serving field hockey coaches and supporters of the game from across the United States. The mission of the organization is to champion, strengthen, and celebrate field hockey coaches and the game. The NFHCA strives to cultivate and recognize the professional contributions of its membership and to foster and promote the growth of the sport. The NFHCA is responsible for providing a recognizable presence and voice in regard to legislation affecting the sport as well as interscholastic and intercollegiate programs.