BANGOR, Maine — Katie Flaherty has high expectations for her Husson University field hockey team and is excited to be part of a school that is “thriving and growing.”
The 25-year-old former University of Maine field hockey captain was introduced as Husson’s coach on Thursday.
She will replace Sharon Tracy, who resigned in January after six years. Tracy led Husson to a 43-47 record and five straight North Atlantic Conference postseason berths.
“Our first goal will be to win the NAC. If you win the NAC, that puts you into the NCAA Tournament. We don’t just want to go [to the NCAA Tournament] and say ‘Yea, we made it.’ We want to go and be competitive and, maybe one day, reach the top,” said the Winslow native.
Flaherty played field hockey at Maine from 2003 to 2006 and served as a graduate assistant there in 2007. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in kinesiology and physical education and was a three-time captain. She was an America East second-team and All-Region second team choice in 2006 and was a two-time America East all-academic team selection and all-America East tournament pick.
Flaherty was an assistant coach for field hockey, basketball and lacrosse at Thomas College in Waterville this year and coaches the Majestix club field hockey team (under-16s).
“We’re all really excited to get a fresh start,” said Husson midfielder-back Lindsay Barnes of Owls Head. “We’ve had a lot of talent and with a new coach it’s going to help us get to the next level. She’s got a lot of experience and she’s played D-1 so she knows what it takes and the dedication it takes [to be successful].”
“She talks to you as a student as well as an athlete,” added Husson back Jenika Kelley of Livermore Falls. “From all the references I’ve seen, she’s very passionate about the game and will be able to lead us in the direction we want.”
Flaherty, who also will be a strength and conditioning coach for other Husson teams, said she will preach a possession game.
“I want to see a small [passing] game in which we possess the ball 70 percent of the time,” said Flaherty, who credits former Maine coach Andrea Thebarge and her Winslow High School coach Brenda Beckwith with helping shape her coaching philosophy.
Flaherty helped Winslow win three state Class B titles.
“Andrea Thebarge taught me the game and Brenda Beckwith said losing is not an option and the idea that hard work gets you there,” said Flaherty, who will begin later this month and will set up a training regimen for her team.
She will recruit primarily in-state “because that’s where most of my contacts are” but she will also look for players out-of-state, also.
Husson athletic director Cindy Connelley said there were 30 applicants for the job and it was an impressive pool.
“Katie has great rapport with the students and she follows the academic mission,” said Connelley. “She has fire and passion and her edge was that she believes in strategizing, videotaping and studying her opponents and then putting a system in place [to win].”