FH : Transfer Scull racking up 1st-place finishes
When Mary McCracken is instructing her players from the sidelines, she doesn’t want the player to think she is yelling at them-she just cares deeply about the sport she coaches.
‘She’s very passionate,’ senior back and co-captain Michelle Sola said. ‘Especially on the field, she doesn’t want you to ever think she’s angry, she’s just passionate.’
Known for her technical knowledge of the game and her defensive prowess, McCracken is in her 14th year with the Orange, who travels to Connecticut on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Hired in 1993 as assistant coach by Kathleen Parker, McCracken was promoted to associate head coach in 2004. McCracken plays a large role in the strong defensive performance SU has put up in its last four games, allowing four total goals.
‘The best part of the job is being out on the field with the players,’ McCracken said. ‘Interaction with the players on and off the field, and to see the progress from freshman year to senior year, I really enjoy that.’
She didn’t mind taking on extra responsibilities when she accepted her first job at LaSalle in 1988.
‘I have a passion for the game, so I ended up teaching and working at LaSalle at the same time,’ McCracken said.
Initially she took the assistant coaching job at SU because it offered McCracken the opportunity to coach field hockey full time, which she had not been able to do in previous coaching positions.
Parker knows exactly what McCracken brings to then table as a coach.
‘Her technical knowledge of the game is outstanding.’ Parker said. ‘Any aspect of it, particularly defense, but she really understands the game.’
Sola also acknowledged McCracken’s technical ability. She said that McCracken allows the team to see the situations which develop on the field and helps them react to those situations when they arise in a game.
‘She has set up a new program on film which has been helping us,’ Sola said. ‘She’s been taking some time to look at game film and show us the things that we’ve been doing that’s wrong or even things that are right.’
McCracken was initially hired through a recommendation to Parker by a graduate assistant who had played under McCracken.
‘The graduate assistant here, whom eventually turned into the full-time assistant coach, gave me Mary’s name,’ Parker said. ‘She was somebody I looked at, I liked her, and I hired her.’
Being in her 24th year of coaching field hockey, McCracken brings valuable experience to the SU coaching staff giving them a leg up on the competition.
‘Her thorough understanding of the game is excellent.’ Parker said. ‘Recruiting wise, we do a lot of our recruiting in Pennsylvania, and she knows the state really well, which helps us build a strong program here.’
The players also see the value in McCracken’s coaching background and immense experience.
‘Experience is going to be a factor in playing as well as in coaching’ Sola said. ‘The more games you see the more you will pick up…you really need that background knowledge to make adjustments.’
During her time with the Orange, McCracken has had helped lead the team to all three of their Big East championships along with three different appearances in the NCAA tournament.
‘There are lots of memorable experiences.’ McCracken said. ‘Certainly the thrill of winning a Big East tournament and going to the NCAA tournament, the excitement of just watching the players, competing, and working with the players are memorable.’
Thomas Wolfe is leaving his position as senior vice president and dean of student affairs to become the new president of Iliff School of Theology… Read more »
UPDATED: MAY 15, 4:35 p.m. Syracuse University students will soon see new living options in downtown Syracuse, after a new construction company revamps a vacant… Read more »
THEY'RE BACK: Syracuse pulls off furious comeback win against Yale to return to final four after longest absence since 1979
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Brian Megill sprinted over to Dominic Lamolinara and catapulted into his arms. The game was over. The unthinkable was no longer… Read more »