St. Mary's hires new field hockey coach

The St. Mary's field hockey team will have a new coach this fall, as Shannon La Vigne Dickey takes over.

"I'm so excited about this," Dickey said. "I think this is going to be great. I've met most of the girls and they seem very positive, warm and eager for more instruction."

Dickey, 30, is a University of Virginia graduate. She was recruited for the Cavaliers field hockey program out of Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach, Va.

While there, she coached summer camps. After graduation she coached a junior varsity team at Ocean Lakes High, also in Virginia Beach, where she learned how rewarding it can be to coach on the high school level. Later, she coached an under-14 indoor team for two years in Washington, D.C.

"I loved coaching at the high school level," she said. "I think the relationships are deeper and more meaningful and that there is a greater understanding among the players. I'd also heard good things about St. Mary's and all of that is why when I heard this job was open, I immediately applied."

Dickey came to Annapolis a year and a half ago when she married, Matt Dickey, a graduate of Annapolis High and Frostburg State University.

"St. Mary's is excited to hire someone with a high level of collegiate playing experience and in depth coaching knowledge," athletic director Matt Hogan said. "However, what has impressed us the most with Coach Dickey is her strong desire to develop her players into successful young women."

Dickey will be overseeing the team's summer conditioning and weight program. She also will be dropping by St. Mary's field hockey camp which runs from June 18-22. But JoAnn Crouse, the Saints head coach for the last three years, will be running the camp.

Crouse is leaving for a full-time teaching position at St. Mary's Elementary this fall and also to have time to watch three of her own six children play sports. Her oldest daughter Caitlin will be playing lacrosse at Maryland, while her 15-year-old twins, Colleen (field hockey and lacrosse) and Luke (lacrosse and possibly football) will be competing at Annapolis High.

"St. Mary's has already hired Shannon and the girls are excited about it," Crouse said. "I feel good about leaving the team in such capable hands.

"Last season we won three games, but that doesn't reflect how the team grew through the season. The games were all neck-in-neck and I was proud of the way they played. My only disappointment was the record didn't reflect what they did, how hard and well they played."

Tryouts for the 2012 Saints, who play in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference, begin Aug. 15. Dickey said once her team is assembled she will ask players to set up tangible goals for themselves and the team and to pick a theme.

"A word, a slogan, something that will pick them up and maintain them throughout the season," she said. "I'm excited to be working with a great group of student-athletes and to help the program grow. I'm very eager to get started."

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