Appointed the Head Coach earlier this summer, Hannah Allison has taken the reins of the Swarthmore College field hockey program, following Lauren Fuchs who served as Head for eight years. Allison brings coaching experience at both the Division I and III levels. In 2015 and 2016, she was an assistant coach at Bucknell where she helped the Bison secure two Division I Patriot League Tournament appearances. Prior to Bucknell, Allison coached for two seasons at Division III, Ohio Wesleyan University where she was the assistant coach in 2013 and the interim head coach in 2014 — both were winning seasons.
As a student-athlete at Penn State University, Allison started in 79 games, scored 26 goals, captained the team both seasons when the Nittany Lions captured the Big Ten Tournament Championship in 2011 and 2012 and the conference title in 2012. She also played in three NCAA Division I tournaments, advancing to the NCAA Quarterfinals her final two seasons. Allison graduated from Penn State in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.
I caught up with Allison to find out more about her new post as the Head Coach at Swarthmore and what she sees as her strengths to elevate the struggling program. My take-away: Allison is more than ready for the job at hand with short-term goals of instilling a winning mentality and enhancing the recruiting process, along with long-term goals of building a program that will compete with the best of Division III.
Share your thoughts on being appointed Head Coach at Swarthmore: “I’m very excited about this new opportunity for me to grow in my profession. My Swarthmore colleagues have been extremely supportive and welcoming allowing me to feel comfortable in the transition of stepping into unfamiliar territory.”
Why did you decide to move on from Bucknell, a Division I program, to head up Swarthmore’s program? “Jeremy, the Bucknell Head Coach, and I have mutual respect for one another and support each other in any decision we make. He knew that I was ready to have my own program and helped guide me to begin this journey.”
“Everyone in the program needs to be aware of the expectations and realize that we are not working to be an average collegiate program.”
What will you bring to the program? “My high energy, competitiveness, and experience in leadership roles will be useful to this program in building it back to a championship-striving team. I have a strong understanding of the game and love for the recruiting process, which will greatly impact the program in the future.”
What are your goals for the upcoming season? “I’d like to have a strong dynamic with the current team. I would also like to instill daily habits of competition in practice, so that we can bring a game day competitiveness that is second nature.”
And what about your long-term goals? “I want to compete with the teams at the highest level of Division III and being in the Centennial Conference certainly prepares us for that goal. Creating a tradition of winning on and off the field is a long-term goal every program should strive for. The programs that have had the most recent success create a winning mentality tradition that is something I am looking to bring back to Swarthmore Field Hockey.”
What are your plans to achieve these goals? “It is very important that I have an expectation going into this season of changing the culture to be competitive in the conference. This is something that is set by the coach and trickles down to the players themselves. Everyone in the program needs to be aware of the expectations and realize that we are not working to be an average collegiate program. After implementing these expectations, we will set team and individual goals that we will collaboratively work to achieve.”
What’s your coaching philosophy, style and strengths? “My coaching style and beliefs are driven by the hope to create a competitive and supportive environment that serves to maximize the potential of my student-athletes as both players and as people. I’m very motivated to improve each individual on and off the field.”
Are you still playing hockey? “Now that I have relocated to the Philadelphia area, I will look to join an adult pick-up league and travel to Spooky Nook for some of the adult tournaments that are held there throughout the year. I’ve recently joined the coaching staff of the club Mainline Mayhem and will look to start with them post-fall season.”
What’s your best field hockey memories as a player? “Some of my favorite memories as a player comes from my last two years and being part of a championship team. Winning both the regular season and conference tournament titles are some of the best feelings a player can have. I loved sharing those moments with my best friends and forever teammates and want nothing more than to have these players get that same experience.”
And your best memories as a coach: “Two memories specifically stick out to me from my early coaching experience. With OWU, we upset Denison University in overtime for the first time in 18 years and I specifically remember last year when Bucknell beat twelfth ranked University of Albany. Creating a confidence in my players to step on the field with the expectation of winning, regardless of your opponent is something I have seen to be successful and developing that mentality amongst our locker room is important.”
photo credit top to bottom: Bucknell University Athletics, Penn State University Athletics
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