The Legend

The Student News Site of Austin Preparatory School

The Legend

The Legend

The Student News Site of Austin Preparatory School

The Student News Site of Austin Preparatory School

The Legend

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Erin Matson’s Journey as UNC Field Hockey Head Coach

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Erin Matson, 23 year old head coach of UNC field hockey has just won a national championship. Again. But, the last time she won one (last year) she was on the field. Matson is the youngest head coach in NCAA history and now has a title under her belt as coach and no less than four as an athlete. But why is her victory so important? 

Well for starters she is a woman. *Cue incoming misogynistic men* But Erin Matson’s gender identity does matter. She is the first female student-athlete to accomplish such a feat and it is certainly a win for the feminists. Having female influence in sports, specifically coaching in a male dominated world is important because it grows opportunity for all women in sports. 

Specifically why Erin Matson’s accomplishments were so revolutionary was because she stepped up to the challenge of being head coach right out of college. Imagine this: You’re playing on a team with no less than eleven NCAA state titles and one of the graduating seniors that you’ve been playing with for the past few years announces that she is going to be your coach next year! It’s a remarkable story. Matson worked hard to try and fill the shoes of former head coach Karen Shelton but I think she made her own path, and not only just because of her young age and impeccable style.

Erin Matson grew up in Pennsylvania with both her parents being collegiate athletes. Her mother played both field hockey and softball for Yale and her father played baseball at Delaware. (Quite an impressive family dynamic). Matson started playing field hockey in 2006 and by the time her high school career ended she was committed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under head coach Karen Shelton. Through her career at UNC she won four national championships out of her five years spent at the school, and immediately after graduating she took the position as new head coach following Coach Shelton’s retirement. 

When Matson tells the story of how she got the job, she recounts that some of her team was tossing around the idea when she decided to go to the athletic director at UNC, Bubba Cunnigham. There, she was told, “Bring home a national title and then we’ll talk”. A few months later, she did just that. Erin Matson’s story is one of grit and determination, but most boldly a story of loving a sport. 

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