Van de Kerkhof and Staff Earn NFHCA Division I National Coach of the Year Accolades
NAPLES, Fla. – It may be a new calendar year, but the accolades continue for the National Champion Delaware field hockey team as head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof was named the Front Rush/NFHCA Division I National Coach of the Year at the organization’s national annual convention.
Van de Kerkhof, who’s coaching staff includes Missy Arenz, Jordan McKee and Jacki Coveleski, has brought home all the coaching honors this season as he has been named the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year, ECAC Eastern Coach of the Year and NFHCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.
“Congratulations are in place for our players group as they became better at coaching themselves and each other and also were able to further improve their coaching abilities and qualities as the season went on,” remarked Van de Kerkhof, who holds a career mark of 86-45 (.656) in six seasons at Delaware. “The 2016 players group had a dream and a plan for the team, and I am humbled and honored the coaching and support staff were able to assist them with their journey. A lot of credit has to be given to our players for committing their own time in becoming even more a student of the game through whiteboard talks, video sessions and hockey individuals, and enhancing their team work and communication together.”
The Blue Hens captured the first National Championship in program history during the 2016 campaign while finishing the year with a 19-game winning streak and an overall record of 23-2. Delaware ranked in the top four nationally in winning percentage, scoring average, goals per game, points per game, scoring margin and assists per game.
“I would also like to personally thank my assistant coaches Missy Arenz, Jordan McKee and Jacki Coveleski for being a great staff to work with on a daily basis,” Van de Kerkhof stated. “Their input, energy, and desire to go the distance in whatever was needed short or long term to further improve our program’s success and development opportunities was remarkable and greatly appreciated! Thank you Coaching Staff of the Year!”
With the award, Van de Kerkhof becomes the fourth Blue Hens head coach to ever win a National Coach of the Year honor. Bob Shillinglaw (men's lacrosse) was named the USILA National Coach of the Year in 1979 and 1999 while Tubby Raymond (football) was the AFCA National Coach of the Year in 1971, 1972 and 1979. In 2009, Carol Miller received womensfieldhockey.com National Coach of the Year accolades.
Van de Kerkhof continued, “I am very happy to learn that our National Field Hockey Coaches Association has decided to change this honor from ‘Coach of the Year’ to ‘Coaching Staff of the Year’ from now on out. It is fair to say, and we all agree, that the level of success and accomplishments our program was fortunate to have and experience in 2016 is the work of many great people working together towards a common goal while all understanding their roles and the contributions in order to make dreams come true.”
Shippensburg’s Bertie Landes was named the Division II Coach of the Year while Brooke Good (Messiah) earned the Division III award.