The first game of the season for the Sweet Briar Field Hockey Team marked the 500th collegiate game coached by Jennifer Crispen — fourth all-time among NCAA field hockey coaches.
Although Sweet Briar lost the game 4-2, due to last minute pressure by Virginia Wesleyan College on Saturday, August 31, it served as a milestone for the coach. It was, however, secondary to what Crispen sees as a promising season.
“This is my 25th season coaching at Sweet Briar, and I cannot imagine a more exciting group of players to work with. Each year is more challenging then the last, because Sweet Briar field hockey players expect to win, and they approach the season with pride and intensity,” Crispen said.
In fall 2001, the team achieved an overall record of 11-8 and won the Virginia Women’s College Championship for the seventh time, while finishing fourth in conference play. With a strong class of incoming players joining a core of experienced student athletes, including the team’s two leading scorers, the 2002 team should improve that record and be a strong contender in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, according to Crispen.
Another winning season would add to an already impressive list of accomplishments for Crispen, including: compiling an overall record of 264-214-21; ranking 20th all-time for wins by a NCAA field hockey coach; coaching 33 Academic All-Americans; and earning “Coach of the Year” four times in the ODAC.
“The trick is to focus all that energy on a dual goal, which student athletes achieve in the classroom as well as on the field, and that for the rest of their lives, they remember being on this team,” said Crispen.
Crispen has more than 30 years of collegiate coaching experience as well as years of work in the U.S. Elite and Olympic Development programs. She is currently the NCAA National Rules Liaison for field hockey.
As associate professor of physical education and athletics, Crispen also coaches Sweet Briar’s fencing team and teaches courses in mountain biking and history and culture of sports. She is an active biker herself and can be seen riding daily on campus with her big black poodle, Mattie.