Publication Date: Friday, August 23, 2002|
Johnson to retire at end of season
Johnson to retire at end of season
(August 23, 2002) Volleyball team playing in tournament this weekend
by Rick Eymer
Sheryl Johnson, one of the all-time greats in field hockey, figured 18 years will be enough.
Johnson announced she will retire after the season, handing the reigns over to current assistant coach Lesley Irvine.
"It's been an honor and privilege to coach at Stanford the past 18 years," she said. "Winning championships has always been our goal, but this special program is also about the development of the entire student-athlete, as well as building friendships and memories to last a lifetime."
Johnson has led Stanford to nine NorPac Conference championships and seven appearances in the NCAA tournament. She's been named NorPac Coach of the Year eight times and owns a career mark of 158-114-11.
"We are extremely proud of the field hockey program that Sheryl has built here," said Stanford Athletic Director Ted Leland. "Her hard work and dedication to the sport has left an indelible mark on our athletic department."
Johnson was a three-time member of the U.S. Olympic field hockey team, and helped win the bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
She was inducted into the USFHA Hall of Fame in 1994.
Johnson, who attended Monta Vista High, DeAnza College and Cal-Berkeley, became the first woman in Cal history to letter in three sports.
"Stanford and field hockey have been passions of mine for many years," said Johnson. "I will certainly miss all the wonderful people I've worked with."
Johnson will leave Stanford after the season to pursue a career in private investigation, along with her brother, Michael Johnson.
"The team, Lesley and I plan to make my final season one to remember," said Johnson.
Irvine, a native of England, played one year at Iowa, leading the Hawkeyes to the Final Four in 1999. She led the team in scoring with 51 points.
Irvine played for Loughborough University the previous three years , helping to win a total of five national championships (three outdoor, two indoor).
"I am so excited by the incredible opportunity I have been given," said Irvine. "Sheryl has been an amazing mentor and role model for me. I approach the future with an abundance of energy and I am totally committed to driving this team forward."
Stanford opens the field hockey season at home on Saturday, Aug. 31 with a 2 p.m. contest against Ohio State.
The defending national champion Cardinal gets a jump on the rest of the collegiate world when they open their season today with a match against Northern Iowa in the opening round of the State Farm Classic in Minneapolis.
Stanford enters the tournament as the No. 1 team in the nation. The Panthers are at No. 14.
Host Minnesota and No. 8 Pepperdine are also entered and will meet today following the Stanford-NIU match.
The winners meet for the championship on Saturday.
Stanford senior outside hitter Logan Tom is expected to compete in the tournament. She's flying in from Italy, where she's been working out with the U.S. national team. She will return to Europe in time for the World Championships.
Northern Iowa returns five of its six starters from a team that finished 31-2 and reached the NCAA regional semifinals. Stanford has met the Panthers once before, earning a victory in the second round of the 1995 NCAA tournament.
Stanford has been picked to finish second behind UCLA by a vote of the Pac-10 coaches.
The Cardinal (15-4-2 last year) were one of five conference teams to advance to the NCAA tournament last season.
Stanford returns nine starters, and will be led by a core of seniors which include Gunn High grad Callie Withers.
Seniors Kelsey Carlson, Katherine Harrington, Becky Myers, and Marcia Wallis will also lend an experienced foot.
Stanford improved to 4-0 in its preseason European Tour with a 5-1 win over Rapide Wezemaal, the Belgian Champions, and a 1-0 win over the Dutch National Team.
Against Rapide Wezemaal, sophomore Natalie Sanderson led the Cardinal with two goals and an assist. Withers also scored.
Against the Dutch team, junior Brittany Oliveira scored the lone goal as goalie Nicole Barnhart earned the shutout.
Stanford opens the college season on Friday, Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. against defending national champion Santa Clara at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Stanford finished the 2002 season ranked eighth nationally with a 3.467 team GPA in the NACGC Academic All-America Team Rankings.
The Cardinal also had eight individuals on the Academic All-America Team: Michelle Goldberg, Katy Herbert, Lise Leveille, Alissa Cooper, Caroline Fluhrer, Abby Gair, Becky Meldrum and Robin Phelps all received honors.
Goldberg had the team's highest GPA with a 3.93. The Mequon, Wis., native was a Pac-10 All-Academic First Team selection and primarily competed on the vault and floor exercise for the Cardinal.