Shining a Light on Dedication: Honoring the Impact of Mimi Smith’s Service

Apr 3, 2024 | 2023-2024, Blog

By Laurie Temple, NFHCA Digital Communications Specialist

Manahawkin, NJ – In celebration of National Volunteer Month this April, we’re highlighting some of our dedicated members. Our first spotlight shines on Mimi Smith, the varsity field hockey coach at Garrison Forest School in Garrison, Maryland.

Before her coaching stint at Garrison Forest, Smith had a prolific career as a player. She was a fixture on the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team roster from 1999 to 2004, representing the United States at the World Cup Tournament, the Pan American Games, and the 4 Nations Tournament. Smith also appeared with the U.S. master’s indoor team in 2017 and the U.S. Master’s team in 2018. At Old Dominion University (ODU), she was honored with the 1999 Honda Broderick Award for Field Hockey and earned NFHCA All-American status. Smith was also inducted into the ODU Sports Hall of Fame and was named to the Colonial Athletic Association’s 25th Anniversary Team.

Since shelving her cleats, Smith has harnessed her energy into volunteering with the NFHCA and was the first Black Coaches Council representative to sit on the NFHCA Board of Directors.

We are honored to recognize Smith for her longstanding commitment to the field hockey community. She currently serves on the NFHCA Board of Directors as the Black Coaches Council representative while also serving on the NFHCA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEI).

Q: What motivated you to volunteer within the NFHCA?
A. When I participated in the Annual Convention this past year, so many people had questions and wanted guidance on various things that I was able to offer some insight into. I thought it would be cool to offer support in an official capacity, so I signed up.

Q: What is one thing you learned about yourself during your time volunteering with the NFHCA?
A. I learned that I know way more than I give myself credit for. We often minimize what we know or do because it comes so naturally or we’ve done it for so long. And although everyone has a different starting point, we all have something to offer someone else, no matter how small it may seem.

Q: Tell us about a mentor who helped guide you and challenge you.
A. Reggie Garrett. While Reggie is family, he was instrumental in every aspect of my field hockey career. He taught and modeled the behaviors necessary for me to be a great player, especially off the field. Little things like packing my bag the day before a game and leaving it by the door. As a coach, he also modeled what a good coach is and does; how important it is to study, and know your craft. And being prepared; especially being prepared. I am always prepared and have a plan just in case the plan doesn’t go as planned. This has been an invaluable lesson.

Q: As a high school coach, can you explain the value you see in the NFHCA?
A. I think one of the greatest benefits for a high school coach is that there are tons of ways to network and learn from others who have done what you’re doing. Not only are there resources available on the website, but coaches are willing to help and support you; you just have to ask. This is such a gem that I don’t think people take advantage of it.

Q: Give us your elevator pitch as to “Why should other high school coaches volunteer within the NFHCA?”
A. If you want to grow professionally and personally, you should volunteer within the NFHCA. You will not only learn a ton of new things but also challenge your own beliefs and ideas. The cherry on top is that you will meet people along the way that you will foster amazing friendships with that you otherwise would not have connected with.

Q: Where do you see the NFHCA five years from now?
A. Thriving; having doubled in scholastic and club membership size, and offering programming that those in the field hockey community feel they can’t go without.

Rapid Fire Questions

Q: Most memorable field hockey moment.
A. So many! More recently, winning the state championship 3-1, against a rival school that beat us 6-2 regular season. Two games before the championship, we lost one of our best defenders to an injury. I didn’t make any subs during the game and we didn’t have our best defender! We won a back-to-back championship, playing the same school as the year before, with no subs, and without our best defender, when no one expected us to win. Hands down, the top five most memorable for me of all time.

Q: Your top three hobbies outside of field hockey?
A. Listening to music and podcasts, shopping, cooking.

Q: You win the lottery tomorrow and it can only be used for travel – where would you go?
A. Egypt and Fiji

Q: Would you rather coach in 90+ degree heat or a snowstorm?
A. 90+ all day.

Q: #1 life lesson you have learned while coaching.
A. People are always watching and listening, even when you don’t think they are. Speak with intention and be professional.


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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.