Legendary Field Hockey Coach Beth Anders Announces Her Retirement

January 10, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Jan. 10, 2012

NORFOLK, Va. - After 29 seasons at the helm of the Old Dominion University field hockey program and an NCAA-record nine national championships, Beth Anders announced her retirement Tuesday after claiming 546 career wins, the most of any coach in the sport in NCAA history.

"I leave a program with student-athletes who are strong and in a great position to continue ODU's tradition," said Anders. "I believe in the players and I will miss them, but I leave them with a great foundation."

Leading the Lady Monarchs to the NCAA tournament in 27 seasons, Anders has cemented her status as one of the elite coaches throughout intercollegiate athletics. Under her tutelage, Old Dominion achieved more honors than any other field hockey program in NCAA history. Among the most prestigious, Anders and her teams have brought the NCAA Championship trophy back to Norfolk an unprecedented nine times. In addition, the Lady Monarchs have won the CAA crown 15 of 21 times since joining the league in 1991 and made 17 Final Four appearances.

"Few coaches in this history of any sport have left such a rich and successful legacy as Beth Anders," said Old Dominion Athletic Director Dr. Wood Selig. "She has positively impacted generations of national and international coaches and student-athletes. Fortunately for ODU, Coach Anders was leaving her mark of excellence while representing our university and region of the country. Thank you Beth!."

Anders has consistently made contributions throughout her life to the game of field hockey. As a player, she has participated at every level possible, including World Cup and Olympic events. Her coaching achievements are nothing short of impressive, including nine national collegiate titles, a bronze medal at the Pan American World Cup Games, and the distinction of being the winningest Division I field hockey coach in the country. Considered by many to be a pioneer of her sport, her resume is dotted with a long list of incredible achievements and monumental firsts.

In national coaching records, Anders coached more games than any other active Division I coach, having been on the sidelines of 676 games over her 29-year career. She became the first Division I coach to reach the 400-career victory mark, a milestone only reached by seven other coaches in the sport. Anders posts an amazing .808 winning percentage and her 546 overall wins are the most of any Division I coach in history. Anders' coaching experience has not been limited to the Old Dominion sidelines. Internationally, Anders guided the 1991 U.S. National Team to the bronze medal and masterminded the qualifying campaign for the 1994 World Cup. In the summer of 2003, Anders was asked to take over the U.S. National Team and prepare them for the Pan American games in the Dominican Republic, where the team finished second.

The love affair between Anders and field hockey, however, goes well beyond her immediate reign in the coaching ranks. In 1980, Anders made the first of two Olympic field hockey teams as co-captain, but was forced - because of the boycott in Moscow - to wait four more years to realize her dream of winning a medal. In 1984 though, nothing stood in the way of Anders and her teammates as they cashed in on a bronze medal at the Los Angeles games. Anders, whose strong penalty corner was consistently clocked in the 90 m.p.h. range, nearly single handedly lifted the US team to victory, scoring eight of her team's nine goals in its five-game performance for an Olympic record that still stands today.

"Beth Anders helped put Old Dominion University athletics on the map and quickly put ODU field hockey in the spotlight with three back-to-back NCAA titles in the early 1980's," said former Old Dominion Athletic Director Jim Jarrett, who hired Anders in 1980. "No other coach or program in ODU history has enjoyed the kind of national success and dominance that the field hockey program has commanded and that is all due to Beth's outstanding coaching and incredible knowledge of the game."

Throughout her international playing career, Anders played in over 100 international matches, was a participant in every World Cup from 1971-84, was on the National team from 1969-1980, and was the high scorer for the United States every year she was on the team. Anders participated in the first World Cup field hockey event to have both men's and women's competition at the same venue. She was one of just 24 field hockey coaches from around the world to be in attendance for a clinic during the 1998 World Cup in Holland. After three NCAA titles as coach of Old Dominion and a bronze medal as a player and two-time captain with the Olympic team, Anders was named Olympic Athlete of the Year and Virginia Coach of the Year in 1984. Bringing the two realms of the sport together, Anders was recognized for her many contributions with an induction into the United States Field Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Most recently, Anders was inducted into the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Anders' love for her sport is infectious, as many former Old Dominion student-athletes have grown into respectable players and coaches in and around the world's field hockey family. A total of 15 former Old Dominion players coached by Anders have participated in the last four Olympics, which include a bronze medalist in NCAA all-time leading scorer Marina DiGiacomo for Argentina and a silver medalist for Maacha van der Vaart of the Netherlands at the Olympics in Athens, Greece in the summer of 2004. The list grew in the summer of 2008 as four Lady Monarchs - Tiffany Snow, Angie Loy, Dana Sensenig, and Caroline Nichols - were named to the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2008 Beijing Games.

Anders challenged her teams to not only excel on the field, but in the classroom as well. Since 1989, the Lady Monarch teams finished with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or better. In 2009, her team boasted the highest GPA among all Division I field hockey programs, compiling a team average of 3.51. During the fall of 2009 and 2010, the Lady Monarchs have had a total of 24 of its members named to the Dean's List while the current team boasted the highest cumulative GPA  of any Monarch squad at 3.34. Certainly the epitome of Anders' student-athletes is Samantha Salvia, the school's first ever Rhodes Scholar who graduated in 1996 with a 4.0 GPA in environmental and civil engineering.

"I love ODU field hockey and I am extremely proud of our current program, as well as, the program through the past years," said Anders on her announced retirement. "I have received many a letter from past players and parents telling me how grateful they were for my coaching. What a gift those letters have been, promoting my passion for coaching year after year. It is hard to truly express how grateful I am for having had the privilege of coaching so many great people."

The key to Anders success on and off the field hockey field has been her love for and dedication to the game. Her development of the Futures Program during her national coaching stint in 1993 and her active mentoring of the field hockey youth are just two examples of her will to succeed better than anyone in her vocation. A fine all-around athlete herself, Anders was a four-time All-College field hockey and lacrosse player before graduating from Ursinus College with a B.S. degree in health and physical education. The Norristown, Pennsylvania Native was also selected to the national collegiate basketball team and won the intercollegiate squash championship in 1970. She also has authored three books, "Field Hockey: Steps to Success", originally published in 1999 and updated in 2008 and "Lessons in Field Hockey", released in 1996.

Anders' Honors Year-by-Year

1975/'80                  All-World All-Star Team
1980                       U.S. Olympian (Co-Captain)
                             Sportswoman of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee (Field Hockey)
1981                       Sportswoman of the Year by the Olympic Committee (Field Hockey)
1984                       Southland Olympian Award
                             U.S. Olympian (Bronze Medal Winner - Co-captain)
                             Amateur Olympic Athlete of the Year (Field Hockey)
                             Philadelphia Sportswriters Amateur Athlete of the Year
                             Virginia Coach of the Year
                             Virginia Beach Sports Club Coach of the Year
                             Portsmouth Sports Club Coach of the Year
1988                       Ursinus College Hall of Fame
                             Portsmouth Sports Club Coach of the Year
                             Virginia Beach Sports Club Coach of the Year
1989                       United States Field Hockey Association Hall of Fame
1990                       Portsmouth Sports Club Coach of the Year
1991                       CAA Coach of the Year
                             Special Citation from Norfolk City Council and Mayor
1991                       CAA Coach of the Year
1992                       CAA Coach of the Year
1992/'93                  Norfolk Sports Club Coach of the Year
                             Honored by Virginia State Senate and House of Representatives
                             Old Dominion University Citation for Distinguished Services from Board of Visitors
                             Special Citation from Norfolk City Council and Mayor
1997                       CAA Coach of the Year
1998                       CAA Coach of the Year
                             NFHCA/Dita National Coach of the Year
                             Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame
                             Norfolk City Council Citation
                             Norfolk Sports Club Coach of the Year
                             Portsmouth Sports Club Coach of the Year
                             Norfolk Sports Club MACE Award
1999                       CAA Coach of the Year
2000                       CAA Coach of the Year
                             NFHCA/Dita National Coach of the Year
                             Norfolk Sports Club Coach of the Year
                             Portsmouth Sports Club Coach of the Year
2001                       Dita/NFHCA South Region Coach of the Year
2002                       CAA Coach of the Year
2003/'04                  US National Team Coach
2005                       CAA Coach of the Year
2006                       CAA Coach of the Year
2007                       CAA Coach of the Year
2011                       Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame
                             CAA Coach of the Year
                             Virginia Coach of the Year

Anders' year-by-year record:
YEAR                  RECORD                  HIGHLIGHTS                  
1980                  18-4                   Fifth nationally - AIAW                  
1981                  13-2-2                NCAA Championship - Third place                 
1982                  20-1                   NCAA National Champions                  
1983                  19-1                   NCAA National Champions                 
1984                  23-0                   NCAA National Champions                 
1987                  17-5-1                Fourth Nationally                  
1988                  26-1                   NCAA National Champions                  
1989                  24-2                   NCAA National Finalists                 
1990                  23-2-1                NCAA National Champions                 
1991                  26-0                   NCAA and CAA Champions                 
1992                  25-0                   NCAA and CAA Champions                  
1993                  17-4-2                Seventh Nationally/CAA Champions                 
1994                  17-6-1                Fourth Nationally/CAA Champions                 
1995                  16-9                  Sixth Nationally                 
1996                  19-5                  NCAA Semifinalists/CAA Champions                 
1997                  22-3                  NCAA Finalists/CAA Champions                 
1998                  23-2                  NCAA Champions/CAA Champions                 
1999                  17-7                  NCAA Regionals/CAA Champions
2000                  25-1                  NCAA Champions/CAA Champions
2001                  18-5                  NCAA Regionals/CAA Champions
2002                  21-4                  NCAA Semifinalists/CAA Champions
2004                  13-8                  NCAA Regionals/12th Nationally
2005                  19-6                  NCAA Semifinalists/CAA Champions
2006                  19-4                  NCAA Regionals/Third Nationally
2007                 12-10                  NCAA Regionals/10th Nationally
2008                 10-13                  Eighth Nationally
2009                  9-11
2010                  13-11                NCAA Regionals/ CAA Champions
2011                  22-3                  NCAA Semifinalist/#2 NCAA seed/CAA Champions
TOTALS                  546-130 (29 seasons)