Head field hockey coach Nicky Pearson rounded out a victorious season by adding another honor to her extensive list of accolades. On January 7, Pearson was unanimously selected as the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III National Coach of the Year.
This is the third time Pearson has been selected for the award, and only the eighth time a Bowdoin coach has been chosen.
The award comes following a 20-1 season that ended with a victory over Messiah College in penalty strokes to capture the team's third national championship in four years.
Pearson came to Bowdoin from Yale when the head coaching position opened up, and in her 15 years at Bowdoin, she has led her teams to three national titles—including the College's first in 2007—and has coached over 20 All-Americans. She has a 213-46 record and a .822 win percentage, which currently places her fifth among all active coaches in every division of the NCAA.
Pearson also received NESCAC Coach of the Year honors for the seventh time out of the 11 seasons since the NESCAC became a formal conference in 1999. She has received this award more times than any other NESCAC coach in any sport. No other coach has received it more than twice.
Despite having built a field hockey legacy at Bowdoin, complete with a staggering win percentage and three national titles, Pearson's humility is almost as impressive as her record.
"It most certainly is an honor, but when I receive an award like that, it's simply a reflection on the team's performance," Pearson said. "I feel that I accept it on behalf of the coaching staff and the team."
Director of Athletics Jeff Ward noted that Pearson's coaching style is comprehensive and covers both on-field directives as well as team morale.
"Both technically and tactically she is a very good teacher of the game," Ward said. "I think that she has created a culture within the team that is very positive and that I think helps people perform in the most stressful times."
With so much postseason success, Pearson's teams certainly have experienced stressful times. Sophomore forward Cathleen Smith believes Pearson's confidence in the team has been a key component of their success.
"Nicky has the exceptional gift of assuring everyone that they are an indispensable part of the team, which boosts everyone's confidence," Smith said. "She is an extremely calm and patient coach, and she really believes in all of us."
Pearson's unwavering confidence in her players seems to be directly at the heart of the program's continued success.
"It's all about the student-athletes that I coach and really trying to get them to take ownership of the program and really feel that each year is that team's particular year and that the program is in their hands," Pearson said.
Pearson concentrates on taking the pressure off of the players to live up to the achievements of the previous seasons.
"No comparisons," Pearson said—a statement that certainly applies to her coaching record as well.