After beginning her coaching career as a Teaching Fellow, Andover Field Hockey Head Coach Kate Dolan developed her coaching background through coaching at Dartmouth College for a year before returning to Andover in 1990. Dolan has coached Varsity and JV Field Hockey, Girls Varsity and JV Ice Hockey, and Varsity Boys and Girls Lacrosse during her 30 years at Andover.
As a former collegiate field hockey and lacrosse player, Coach Dolan accredits her coaching abilities today to the experiences she had with her own coaches in college. While at the University of New Hampshire, her field hockey team made it to the NCAA playoffs every year and her lacrosse team also achieved success, winning the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship.
In an email to The Phillipian, Coach Dolan wrote, “In college, I was fortunate to play both field hockey and lacrosse and play for two amazingly inspirational coaches – their coaching was exceptional in every way and the experiences I had on those teams were simply transformative.”
Coach Dolan’s background as a player and her relentless passion characterize her coaching as well. Coach Dolan brings her knowledge and love for the game to each practice, according to Josephina Caico ’19.
In an email to The Phillipian, when asked to describe Dolan in one word, Caico wrote, “That’s easy. Devoted.”
Captain Meghan Ward ’19 added in an email to The Phillipian, “Coach Dolan brings her everlasting love for field hockey and each of us every single day at practice. She is intense and expects a lot from us everyday, but only because she truly believes in each of our individual abilities and our ability to be successful as a team.”
According to Dolan, her favorite part about coaching is witnessing the progress of the team throughout each season.
Dolan wrote, “[My favorite part of coaching is] seeing the growth, development and progress of a group and how a group works to become a team. A team, when it works together optimally, can accomplish anything it puts its collective heart and soul into.”
Dolan stresses the importance of playing together as a team and that the game is not about any individual player. According to Ward, Dolan looks out for the team, both on and off the field, and makes it her priority to support each player.
Ward said, “Coach Dolan has made the biggest impact on my life as an athlete and a person at Andover. When I first came to [Andover], I didn’t think field hockey was going to be the sport I pursued. However, after just one season playing for her, I knew that I wanted to continue playing field hockey for as long as I could. She has taught me how to bounce back from failures and be humble about my accomplishments. She’s inspired me to become a better teammate and person. Since [Junior] Year, she’s encouraged me to not settle with my play, and always pushed me to improve my game.”
In Coach Dolan’s 30 years in the Andover community, she has coached many exceptional athletes and has worked alongside many admirable coaches.
“I have learned a great deal from working with and watching so many great coaches here at Andover. I feel profoundly grateful for the opportunities I have had to be around both inspiring and knowledgeable colleagues and deeply committed and hardworking student-athletes.” wrote Coach Dolan.
According to Coach Dolan, the connections she has made with this community and the memories she has acquired are ones that she cherishes deeply.
Coach Dolan wrote, “How fortunate I was to know and be touched by so many, many amazing kids, teams, and fellow coaches and without a doubt, the PAFH Gratitude Circle.”
Coach Dolan has played a vital role in each of her players’ lives and has served as a mentor and inspiration for the team and every individual, according to Caico and Ward.
Caico said, “I feel like what makes Kate such a special individual and coach is what role she plays in her players’ lives. She has instilled in me the most valuable lessons that can be applied to both sports and life.”
Ward added, “If I had to describe Coach Dolan in one word, I would describe her as inspiring. She has created a team culture centered around hard work, love, and togetherness. I believe that a huge part of our success in the past few years has come from the team wanting to play hard and win for her. She encourages and demands us to be the best version of ourselves on the field and off as players, teammates, and friends. I must admit that she isn’t the most outwardly energetic coach I have ever had, but she is truly the most kind, caring, and compassionate person I have ever met. I am forever grateful to have had her as a coach for four years, but I will miss her so much when I am gone.”