By Jac St. Jean
On Wednesday, March 30, Springfield College Director of Athletics, Craig Poisson, announced that Mia Olsen would be the new head coach of the field hockey team as well as an assistant professor of physical education. Olsen graduated from Trinity College in 2017, and previously worked as an assistant coach at Amherst College and Westfield State University.
As the fifth head coach in the program’s history, Olsen is ecstatic and eager to get going with the field hockey team on Alden Street.
“Going to Trinity, and coaching at Westfield, we played Springfield,” Olsen explained. “I’m pretty familiar with the area and I’ve been on the Springfield campus many times before I got this job.”
Olsen continued, “Knowing that the student-athletes are so driven academically but also athletically is something that really drew me to Springfield… the sense of community from the moment I stepped on campus back a long time ago, I could feel the pride that everyone had for being a part of the Springfield College family.”
During her time at Trinity Olsen was a three-year starter, making 62 appearances, and led her team as a captain to an appearance at the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament in 2016. While obtaining her Master’s at Westfield State, Olsen served as an assistant coach and led the Owls to their second appearance in the Little East Conference Championship game. Along with this, Olsen worked as a coach and site director for HTC Field Hockey Club in Madison, Conn.
Coming to Springfield, Olsen is most excited to work with the student-athletes on and off the team.
“I’m excited to get to know the team, make connections… and make an impact right away with some great student-athletes,” Olsen announced.
After former head coach and Springfield College graduate Melissa Sharpe announced her resignation from the Pride in November, a national search for a new head coach was conducted, and current members of the field hockey team got an opportunity to participate in the hiring process for their new coach. Student-athletes Grace Majka and Emma Robinson were two players that were involved in that process.
With the COVID-19 pandemic throwing a wrench in their experience, Majka and Robinson have not been able to have a fully “normal” year COVID-free.
“[It was] a little chaotic with COVID and everything,” Majka stated. “I think it put a dent in the experience overall.”
“I think that happened to all teams though,” Robinson added. “Coach Sharpe did all she could to keep us engaged last fall and last spring, but it was kind of hard to build team chemistry and have a bond when everyone was just in shambles.”
As a rising senior and junior, respectively, Majka and Robinson were unable to complete a full year at Springfield without COVID affecting their academic and athletic experiences. With the announcement of Olsen as their new head coach, Majka and Robinson were excited to hear the news and look forward to the positive change that she can create with their team.
“I was really excited about it,” Majka expressed. “[Olsen] interviewed very well, she spoke very fluently and asked us questions. She gave us space to ask all the questions we wanted to. We all clicked with her very well, and from the field hockey community and other coaches, I’ve only heard good things about her.”
“She was the first person we got to interview,” Robinson noted. “We all left the meeting so excited just talking to her. She was super empowering and she seemed very motivating with positivity and encouragement. She has a lot of high level experience. She played at Trinity which is NESCAC and she was the assistant coach at Amherst, so I think bringing that knowledge and level of playing down to us will be super beneficial for all of us.”
This Saturday at 1 p.m. will be Majka’s and Robinson’s first experience with Coach Olsen on the field as a prospect clinic will be held right after the athletics open house.
“That’s kind of going to be my first opportunity coaching on campus,” Olsen uttered, “and I think that’s going to give me a good sense of what the program will look like moving forward.”
With the clinic in mind, Majka and Robinson believe that next year’s players will know the motivating demeanor Coach Olsen possesses following it.
“I think [Olsen] was very clear that she has high expectations for us,” Robinson vocalized, “and it’s not anything that is not achievable for our team, but she’s going to hold us to a high standard and she expects us all to come in next August in shape and ready.”
Majka said, “[Olsen] wants us to be successful, she wants us to win, and she was clear about all the steps that she believed the team is capable of achieving.”
Photo: Springfield College Athletics