The Virginian-Pilot's Sean Morrison looks at the new head coach of the ODU field hockey program
Griffiths led the Leopards to a 17-3 record in 2012 and at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament
The Lady Monarchs will a part of the BIG EAST's eight-team league next season
Four current and former ODU employees were honored this month
Highlights and interviews after ODU's 6-1 win over Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament
Beth Anders, the first Division I coach to reach the 500 victory plateau, concluded her 30th and final season at the helm of the Old Dominion field hockey program in 2012. After leading the Lady Monarchs to the 2012 CAA regular season title and their record 30th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, Anders cemented her status as one of the elite coaches throughout intercollegiate athletics.
Anders 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 with 561 career victories. Considered by many to be a pioneer of her sport, her resume is dotted with a long list of incredible achievements and monumental firsts.
At Old Dominion, Anders mentored the field hockey team for 30 years and led her teams to 28 appearances in the NCAA tournament. Under her tutelage, the Lady Monarchs have 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 won the CAA regular season crown 15 times and the CAA Tournament 14 times since joining the league in 1991 while making 17 appearances in the NCAA Championship Round. Anders also captured 12 CAA Coach of the Year awards.
In national coaching records, Anders coached more games than any Division I coach, having been on the sidelines of 704 games over her 30-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 posted an amazing .803 winning percentage and her 561 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.
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 16 former Old Dominion players coached by Anders have participated in the last five 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 2011 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.
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 is the daughter of Stanley and the late Alice Anders. She has one brother and enjoys fitness, golf, tennis, reading, and creative teaching tools. An avid golfer, Anders resides in Norfolk.
Anders' Honors Year-by-Year
Anders' year-by-year record: