Outgoing Hudson field hockey coach receives national honor from association

by Tim Troglen | reporter Published:

Hudson -- The season may be over, but the honors keep rolling in for outgoing Hudson High School Field Hockey Coach Jen Haney.

Haney was recognized by the Board of Education at its Jan. 22 meeting for being named the 2013 National Federation of State High School Associations Coaches Association Coach of the Year in field hockey.

"We are thrilled to be recognizing her this evening," Superintendent Phil Herman said.

Haney, who announced at the start of the season that she was stepping down, was recommended by her coaching peers, according to Hudson Athletic Director Ray Ebersol. Haney stood out from the crowd of finalists not only for her on field success, but her ability to "impact the lives of her students," he said.

"She is one of the finest people who has ever coached for me and I am super proud," Ebersole told the Board. "This is a big deal in our world of athletics, and it is richly deserved."

Board President David Zuro said Haney, who teaches high school physical education and health, is a source of pride for the district.

"On behalf of the Board, congratulations," Zuro said. " It's totally awesome, and it's quite an achievement. You do us proud."

Board member James Field has three daughters who have played field hockey.

"It's a tough sport," Field said. "Jen is up against some of the best teams in the county. And to do well within that group is quite a testament."

Haney, who guided the Lady Explorers to a 13-3 record last year, including a 12-game win streak, will be recognized next season at the state field hockey championships, Ebersole said. Haney will also be featured in a future edition of "High School Today," a national high school publication.

Haney, who is 59-51-23 at Hudson, has been with the district for 14 years.

"I was truly speechless, and overwhelmed," Haney said of the award.

Haney also thanked those who she said helped her achieve the honor.

"I am so thankful for the female athletes and assistant coaches that I have worked with through the years as well the support and guidance my husband and family have given me through the years of coaching," Haney said. "They have all helped me become the coach I am today."

Haney also thanked the administration and her family for their support.

"An award like this could not have happened without special people -- the support of my family," Haney said. "They have supported me greatly throughout the last 14 years of coaching and I could not have done that without my family."

Haney is a 1998 graduate of Kent State University, where she also played field hockey. Haney and her husband, Mike, live in Rootstown. They have three sons, Mikey, 9, Luke, 5, and Anderson, 4.

Only 21 high school coaches from across the country were selected by the NFHS, according to Barbara Green Johnson, administrative assistant with the organization.

Haney came to Ohio after a field hockey career at Greene High School in New York.

Haney said she was stepping down as coach to take a break to spend time with family.

"The fall is a very busy season for any family, add two head coaches and three boys who are very active in athletics and it becomes overwhelmingly busy and stressful for the entire family," Haney said. "I am confident the program will be left in good hands. I hope to get back into it after the boys are off and running and the schedule is little more manageable."

Haney will continue teaching at Hudson High School.

"My plans are to spend more time at ice rinks and ball fields with the boys," Haney said. "I do hope to coach at youth camps in the summer and help in any way I can. I still love the sport and the kids involved. My family just needs me right now."

Haney, who has been named Northeast Ohio Field Hockey Coach of the Year twice, was honored during the team's final regular-season game. The Lady Explorers earned a 4-1 victory over Western Reserve Academy at Scott Malson Field. The teams also received the Sportsmanship, Integrity and Ethics Award for Northeast Ohio. The team lost 1-0 to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown in a regional semifinal game, ending a two-month winning streak.

Haney's husband and children were with her at the Board meeting as she tearfully expressed gratitude for the honor, coaching at Hudson and her family.

"When I say my prayers at night... I am so fortunate... " she said, as her voice trailed off with emotion and tears.

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

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