NFHCA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
“Nancy has spent most of her life giving back to our sport at every level! She is the most passionate, competitive, and loyal coach that I know and has made an impact on thousands of lives. Nancy is a fighter for young women and girls — she empowers them and they are stronger for knowing her. In the Midwest, not only has she been one of the most dominant coaches in her sport for decades at Pioneer High School, but now she has made hockey relevant in the Midwest, creating opportunities to allow field hockey athletes to be successful in the club system and beyond.”
— Tracey Fuchs, head coach, Northwestern University
“Nancy always is teaching young women to be strong and to stand up for what they believe in. She starts her clinics by asking players to shake hands and look each other in the eye while introducing themselves. She is constantly giving life lessons and goes way beyond the description of what a head coach normally does. Following tournaments, she invites all players and parents to a group huddle. In that huddle she will review the tournament, explain situations, and express gratitude. Since creating Pinnacle Field Hockey Club, over 30 players are now playing in college, many at the top programs in the nation. Nancy has put Michigan field hockey on the map. Grow the game isn’t just a slogan to her, it’s a way of life.”
— Erica Reilly, head coach, Saline High School
“If I had to pick three words that personify Nancy Cox it would be strength, courage and leadership. She did revolutionary things in the 80’s and 90’s for a team out of Michigan: she took a high school team to the National Festival, nominated her girls for B camp, or for HS All-American consideration. She made plans for her high school team to travel to Chicago to play year after year — something no other high school team in Michigan ever considered doing. She was demonstrating great courage and leadership in the way she forged a path for her young athletes to experience more in hockey than just the 12 teams in Michigan. One of the most wonderful things about Nancy — and if you know her, you know it’s true — she does all of this for the game, for her girls, year after year after year without ever asking for recognition. She is my hero.”
— Amy Kilgore, director, Live Oak Field Hock Club
“The impact Nancy has had on each individual player she has coached is incredible. She is inspiring, motivating, fun, challenging, and an amazing leader. Nancy has a special gift to reach each player deep down and help them reach their potential. Everything she touches — team, program, club, organization — has been successful. Field hockey has been lucky to have Nancy Cox as an incredible representative and advocate for the sport we love.”
Marcia Pankratz, head coach, University of Michigan
NFHCA Hall of Fame — Class of 2019
“Ms. Donahue has not only made me the field hockey player I am today, but the person I am today as well. She has made the Watertown community so proud and I am so lucky to have had her as a coach. Her commitment to the program and all of her players is unmatched and I couldn’t imagine anyone better for this amazing honor!”
— Michaela Antonellis, alumna, Watertown High School
“Ms. Donahue has instilled a work ethic in me that has helped me in all aspects of life. If it wasn’t for Ms.Donahue I would not have been able to accomplish anything that I have so far. Her dedication and love for the sport of field hockey has created a dynasty in Watertown.”
— Ally McCall, alumna, Watertown High School
“Eileen Donahue is everything that is right with high school athletics. She has put Watertown on the map across the country due to her team’s continued success. No one pushes student-athletes to be the best they can be more than Coach Donahue. Eileen also pushes student-athletes year in and year out to play field hockey at the next level. The whole Watertown community, especially our student-athletes, are extremely blessed to have Eileen on our coaching staff.”
— Ryan Murphy, athletic director, Watertown High School
“If you were to ask anyone what they know about Watertown, Massachusetts, they will say ‘they’re unbelievable at field hockey, right?’ Coach Donahue changed the lives of girls for generations. She is extremely hard working and passionate not only about field hockey or winning, but of cultivating an environment where her athletes work just as hard as she does. If she doesn’t have the most talented team, she is sure going to have the team that will outwork anybody. There are so many lessons these girls are able take from Coach and actually utilize in college and beyond.
Coach Donahue has one of the most popular high school camps in the state, with hopes to grow the game and reach all ages of the community. She truly just loves to coach field hockey and teach P.E. to children of all ages. She is extremely humble and caring of those she coaches and those around her. This is the perfect culmination of years of hard work and success for Coach Donahue. She is absolutely the most deserving.”
— Emily Sideris, alumna, Watertown High School
NFHCA Hall of Fame — Class of 2019
“Every game you play against Lynchburg you know you will get a fierce opponent — Enza’s teams always leave everything on the field. I have been able to experience this as a player and as a head coach. After every game, you can walk away knowing that both teams were involved in a very good hockey game.”
— Michelle Andre, head coach, Rowan University
“For over 41 years, Coach Steele has been an inspiration to all students attending University of Lynchburg through her prominence and leadership. These credentials are also reflected throughout the Lynchburg community where her student-athletes volunteer in an array of activities. Through coaching and as a professor, she has found real success in the work that she loves and well deserves this recognition.”
— Jennifer Releford, assistant coach, University of Lynchburg
“Coach Steele’s induction into the NFHCA Hall of Fame is a testament to the legacy of championship teams and players she has developed over the years. Coach Steele is the ultimate competitor, strategist, teacher, and mentor. She always went above and beyond. She taught me the value of trust, loyalty, hard work, and demanded excellence. She balanced that with a good van conversation when traveling to a game, asking about your family and always found a way to connect.
Her mentoring did not stop after college. As I embarked on my field hockey and lacrosse coaching journey, Coach Steele was there every step of the way to listen to my struggles, share a new play, challenge me, and encouraged me.
Coach Steele is an amazing women, leader, Icon, mother, coach, and friend to so many. Her journey has touched multiple decades of women’s lives. I am so proud to be an alumna of Lynchburg and watch her legacy live on. More than 600 wins is an unreal professional accomplishment and so is the way she’s transformed so many of our lives. I am honored to still call her coach and I am blessed to call her friend. Congratulations Coach! I love you!”
— Mindy McCord (Manolovich), head women’s lacrosse coach, Jacksonville University
“I think the 2019 season was a true testament to why Coach Steele is a Hall of Fame coach. In many of our highly competitive games, we were typically the underdog team that she believed in and found the way to make the team believe in themselves too. That belief led to an incredible run in the NCAA tournament. She wants to play those top level, ranked teams despite their rank or record, because she believes in the hard work, skill, and dedication of her team. She works tirelessly to prepare her team so that they can earn a seat at the table. As a player for her, this type of mindset made me someone who is up for the challenge and pushes myself to achieve my goals. As a current coach for her, I am learning to see how many aspects there are to the job that are just as challenging as actually being on the field — and she does it remarkably. Her many years of commitment to her job will leave an everlasting impact on Lynchburg Field Hockey. Her love for the sport and eagerness to give back to the field hockey community make her the Hall of Fame legend that she is. It’s been an honor to be a small part of her journey and I am happy for her to receive this award that she is so deserving of.”
— Hannah Krause, assistant coach, University of Lynchburg
NFHCA Hall of Fame — Class of 2019
“Cindi created and cultivated the sport of field hockey for years in Upstate New York — across several generations, at various levels, and at multiple institutions. She’s the truest kind of teacher of the game and has left an indelible and practically unattainable mark on our sport.”
Tarah Christenson, head coach, Nazareth College
“A leader at the highest level of Division III field hockey, Cindi has been successful on and off the field for over 20 years. She has elevated our game and the coaching abilities of those around her. Her contributions have been tremendous and although she is retired, her impact continues to be felt.”
Kelly Harchetts, head coach, Union College
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this recognition. Cindi’s 18-year career at SUNY Cortland was highlighted by 13 NCAA appearances, an NCAA championship and 11 SUNYAC conference championships. She established a standard of continued excellence we in the region worked hard to emulate. Even more impactful, as a quiet and thoughtful mentor, her legacy lives on in the numerous Cortland graduates that are giving back to our sport as coaches, officials, and educators.”
Sally Scatton, head coach, William Smith College
This year’s NFHCA Awards Dinner sponsored by AstroTurf will recognize these four exceptional women who have devoted their lives to the sport of field hockey.
Eileen Donahue, Enza Steele, and Cynthia Wetmore will be inducted into the NFHCA Hall of Fame and Nancy Cox will receive the NFHCA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards ceremony will take place on the evening of Thursday, January 16, 2020 during the 2020 NFHCA Annual Convention in Lake Mary, Florida.