Aug 26, 2013
Even though field hockey assistant coaches Mary Kathryn Nielsen and Whit Ryan were hired just a handful of weeks before the start of the season, the two will have no problem working with one another and interim head coach Austin Pile.
“Whit remembers attending a tournament in Vancouver, Canada, where I participated as a member of a club team,” said Nielsen.
“I remember her playing because she stood out amongst all the players, especially her teammates,” recalls Ryan.
In addition to coaching goalkeepers at the club, high school and collegiate level during his time in Colorado, Ryan also served as an official at various field hockey tournaments and games. To prevent a conflict of interest, Ryan has focused his efforts throughout the last five years on sharpening his skills as a field hockey referee and makes every attempt to remove himself from officiating any game involving his club team and/or players.
“For tournaments like that one in Canada, teams will provide at least one coach each to participate as an umpire,” added Ryan.
In that event, it was Ryan that naturally stepped up to officiate as many games as needed; one of those events featured a now familiar face.
“I remember him as a referee for one of those tournament games that involved my club team,” said Nielsen.
When pressed for an assessment of each other’s performance in that game, the details provided by either Nielsen, or Ryan were vague, at best. However, the recent graduate from Duke, via British Columbia, and the player/coach/official from Colorado, with a stop in Europe in-between, recalled that event as a positive experience and proceeded to swap stories for the next 5-10 minutes in an interview that took place before the program held its inaugural fall practice.
Their next shared experience is scheduled to start on Aug. 30 when the Aggies face Missouri State, in their season opener, at Aggie Stadium.