Delaware Field Hockey Head Coach Rolf van de Kerkhof Agrees to Five-Year Contract Extension
Van de Kerkhof, who joined the UD athletics staff in 2011 after a successful five-year tenure as head coach at Michigan State, led the Blue Hens to an outstanding campaign in 2013 as the team posted a record of 17-5, earned a national Top 20 ranking, captured the Colonial Athletic Association regular season and tournament titles, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
“We are excited to announce this five-year extension for Rolf that will formalize our commitment to his leadership of our field hockey program,” said Ziady. “While we were all excited about the on-field success that our program achieved this past season, we are even more thrilled that the program will continue advancing our mission of developing leaders academically, athletically, and socially. Together we have great goals for the future of our field hockey program on a national level and I look forward to partnering with Rolf and his staff in the pursuit of those goals in the years ahead.”
“My family and I are very happy and excited with the extended opportunity given by Eric and the University of Delaware,” said Van De Kerkhof, who owns a three-year record of 34-28 at Delaware and an eight-year collegiate coaching mark of 108-62. “As a young family we are enjoying Newark and especially the relationships we have made with our Delaware friends and area organizations. We are looking forward to strengthening those relationships, and to continue creating new ties in the community. As a coach, I am very excited to further provide leadership to our Blue Hen field hockey student-athletes and program, to contribute to Team Delaware, and to represent the University of Delaware for years to come.
“Upon my arrival in January 2011, I mentioned that our field hockey program was a sleeping giant,” added Van de Kerkhof. “Now, three years later – and thanks to the commitment and hard work of many – the future of Blue Hen field hockey looks promising. Our program is improving and becoming more consistent in pursuing academic and athletic success; in fostering community involvement; and, above all, contributing to the bigger picture of developing young people through athletic education. With the renewed commitment between the university and me, I am excited to further recruit and welcome great young Blue Hen field hockey student-athletes and their families as well as new fans to our program as we continue our journey together.”
A native of the Netherlands, Van de Kerkhof led the Blue Hens to records of 9-11 in 2011 and 8-12 in 2012 before the breakout season in 2013 that saw Delaware set a school record for wins, capture a conference title for the first time since 2009, and advance to the national tournament for the ninth time in school history. After defeating Liberty 1-0 in an NCAA play-in game at home at Rullo Stadium, the Hens fell to No. 3 North Carolina 6-2 in the first round.
For his efforts, Van de Kerkhof was named National Field Hockey Coaches Association Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year and CAA Co-Coach of the Year. The winner of the national NFHCA Coach of the Year will be announced on Jan. 6.
Including the 17 wins, Delaware set or tied the school record in six total categories in 2013 with 22 games played, 57 assists, assists by a freshman (Meghan Winesett with nine), points by a freshman (Esmee Peet with 32), and attendance at Rullo Stadium (4,493).
In addition, Peet and Michaela Patzner each earned All-American honors; Peet, Patzner, and Winesett were All-Region selections; Peet was selected as CAA Player and Rookie of the Year; and Peet, Patzner, Winesett, Sarah Scher, Clare O’Malley, and Allie Mikelson garnered All-CAA mention.