This past August, Nicky Pearson was selected to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Hall of Fame.

Pearson is one of three coaches selected this year. She will be inducted at the 2015 NFHCA Annual Convention in January.

For Pearson, the honor has less to do her own achievements and more to do with the success of the entire program.

“I see this award as collective recognition,” Pearson said. “When I had a couple moments just to reflect on what an honor it was, I automatically thought about the players I’ve coached and the assistant coaches that I’ve had. This award is really acknowledging what we’ve achieved together. I will accept it but on behalf of an awful lot of people.” 

In her 18 years as coach of the Polar Bears, Pearson has led the team to four DIII NCAA championships in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2013. 

Pearson credits the school with much of the success the field hockey team has had over the last two decades.

“At Bowdoin, I’m at a school that’s committed to supporting female student athletes. I believe that if we work hard, we can attract some very talented field hockey players,” Pearson said.
Team camaraderie has also played an important role in the squad’s success.

“We focus a lot on leadership and creating a positive team culture where everyone feels that they can be who they are and be respected,” Pearson said. “That’s really important. We have a group that is incredibly passionate about the sport and believes that if they work hard every day, they can be successful.”

Pearson was introduced to field hockey at the age of ten. She played for her home town team of Hereford, England, before playing for St. Mary’s College. After graduation, Pearson took a year off to travel around the world, eventually finding herself in the United States. 

Anne Parmenter, then Head Coach of the Connecticut College field hockey team, offered Pearson an assistant coaching job, which she accepted. After one season, Pearson had to choose whether or not she wanted to continue coaching. 

“I had to make a decision if I wanted to stay in this country and continue to coach or if I wanted to go back to England,” Pearson said. “I really enjoyed the profession, and it was something I wanted to do, so I made the decision to stay in the U.S.”

When the coaching job at Bowdoin opened up Pearson, who also coached at Amherst College for a time, applied and the rest was history. 

Since then, Pearson’s team has never failed to make the postseason tournament, owning a 24-7 record in NCAA tournament play. But she doesn’t believe that those numbers are the most important part of coaching. 

“I think it’s more about having a positive impact on the women that go through my program,” Pearson said. “If I have had a positive impact on them and helped them and been a resource for navigating their four years at Bowdoin, then that is what I consider to be an accomplishment.”

This season, Pearson’s team has started with a 3-0 record. While many of the players have already reached milestones of success in their collegiate careers, Pearson believes there is still plenty of motivation on the team. 

“Every year, we start fresh. For this group of players, we’re all going to be together only once,” Pearson said. “We try to live in the present and reach our potential this year. We don’t look forward and don’t look back but take every season and make it unique and special and try to reach our potential.”