The current USA Field Hockey Board of Directors includes twelve members consisting of a chair of the board, amateur sports association representative, three at-large directors, two athlete representatives, coach representative, three independent directors and an umpire representative.

 Name  Title  Elected  Term
 Catherine Bessant  Chair of Board, Independent Director  2018  2019-2022
 Jeanne O'Brien  Vice Chair of Board, Officials' Representative  2016  2017-2024
 Michael Barminski  Athlete Director
 2022  2022
 Lauren Crandall  Athlete Director
 USOPC Athletic Advisory Committee Alternate Representative
 2016  2017-2024
 Dan Friedberg  Independent Director  2018  2019-2022
 Bree Gillespie  At-Large Director  2014  2019-2022
 Alex Grassi  Athlete Director
 2019  2019-2024
 Melissa Gonzalez  Athlete Director
 2022  2022
 Ron Hawley  At-Large Director  2022  2022-2024
 Richard Hayden  Coach Representative  2016  2016-2024
 Will Holt  Athlete Director  2020  2020-2022
 Karissa Niehoff  Amateur Sports Organization Representative  2020  2020-2024
 Chip Rogers  At-Large Director  2018  2019-2022
 Christie Smith  Independent Director  2020  2020-2024 
 Mark Vittese  At-Large Director  2014  2019-2022 

Board of Directors Biographies


Catherine Bessant | Chair of Board, Independent Director

Bessant, from Charlotte, N.C., is a high-profile figure in the banking industry. She is the chief operations and technology officer at Bank of American and is a member of the company’s executive management team. Since 2010, Bessant has led Global Technology and Operations, delivering end-to-end technology and operating services across the company through nearly 95,000 employees and contractors in more than 35 countries.

Active in the community and region, Bessant received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In addition, she was awarded the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine and was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal with the Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award. She chairs the North Tryon Vision Plan Advisory Committee.

   

Jeanne O'Brien | Vice Chair of Board, Officials' Representative

For more than 40 years, O’Brien has been an active volunteer for USA Field Hockey. Her experience includes recruiting and training umpires for the Northeast Region, as well as nationally, through clinics, play days and, more recently through virtual technology. She also develops and implements the schedule for umpires for the National Indoor Tournament and National Hockey Festival.

O’Brien has worked as an umpire, technical officer, umpire manager and umpire coordinator at many Regional and National Club, Futures and AAU Junior Olympic Games events and NCAA Tournaments. Further, she trained and oversaw the ball managers for the Junior World Cup and Pan American Games. She is a Level III Certified Umpire with experience at the NCAA Division II and III Finals.

O’Brien has a deep love and respect for the game; and an understanding of the hard work and support necessary to develop quality and available training programs for umpires at all levels and in all regions to “Grow the Game”!

   

Michael Barminski | Athlete Director

Barminski has been a staple of the U.S. Men’s National Team since 2010. In his tenure, he has accumulated more than 90 international caps and led USA to multiple podium finishes. Those notable medal wins include bronze at the 2017 Pan American Cup and the 2019 Pan American Games, and gold at the 2018 Hockey Series Open.

He has also traveled across the globe representing USA in a handful of series in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa and South Korea. Simultaneously competing with the senior squad, Barminski also played for the junior side. He led USA to fourth place finishes at the 2008 and 2012 Junior Pan American Championships.

The 2021 season was Barminski’s first year as the assistant coach at Stanford University. He has also coached the Junior USMNT and Ventura County Red Devils since 2017, and the Ventura County Roadrunners since 2016.

Barminski has also coached with USA Futures and Field Hockey Federation, while serving on the board of USA Field Hockey as an athlete representative since 2019.

A 2016 graduate of University of California, San Diego, Barminski later received his Master’s in Business Administration from DeVry University.

   

Lauren (Crandall) Liska | Athlete Director USOPC Athletic Advisory Committee Alternate Representative

Crandall, originally from Doylestown, Pa., is a three-time Olympian (Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016) and former captain of the U.S. Women's National. Representing the red, white and blue, she earned an impressive 279 international caps and claimed five gold and five silver medals in the world championship level of the sport.

Crandall earned diplomas from Wake Forest University with magna cum laude distinction and DeVry University Keller Graduate School of Management. She currently resides in Nevada with her husband.

   

Dan Friedberg | Independent Director

Friedberg, of Old Greenwich, Conn., is the CEO of Hampstead Park Capital Management, which he founded in 2016. The investment firm is an active, constructive, long term investor in small cap public and private companies in the United States and Canada. Over the last 30 years, Friedberg has focused both as an investor and consultant as a Partner at Bain & Company, investing and actively working with companies to provide a combination of capital investment, operating improvement and strategic support, and in a governance role to support management teams to maximize long term shareholder value. He has invested in more than 30 companies, serving on five public boards, taking two private, and numerous non-profit boards.

Friedberg has been involved in youth sports and education for over 20 years in a range of capacities. He has been involved with National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), Performance Sports Group (Bauer, Easton, Cascade, and Maverik), VICIS Football Helmets, Greenwich Skating Club and as a USA Hockey youth ice hockey coach. He is a member of Cornell’s Johnson Business School Development Committee and serves on the Advisory Council of Cornell’s business school.

Friedberg received his Master of Business Administration in 1987 from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell and a Bachelor of Science degree in 1984 from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in England.

   

Bree Gillespie | At-Large Director

Gillespie first joined the Board in 2015 with a passion for growing the game and a long history with field hockey. She has played and coached for more than 20 years, competing collegiately at Ohio University, earning her bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Communications. Gillespie works as Director of Special Projects for coLAB based in Lancaster, Pa. In addition, she founded and still coaches the Lanco Premier Field Hockey Club.

   

Alex Grassi | Athlete Director

Grassi grew up in Montgomery County, Md. He was selected to the U.S. U-16 Men's National Team in 2004, moved up to the U-21 USMNT and in 2012 joined the senior USMNT, where he continues to play. Over his career he has competed in Junior Pan American Championships, Pan American Cups, and Pan American Games, in addition to FIH Hockey World League events and other tournaments. He is also a member of the Indoor USMNT.

Aside from his playing career, Grassi has been coaching field hockey for more than a decade. He is passionate about growing the game of field hockey for boys and girls. He has worked with several different club teams, in addition to collegiate teams and Junior USMNT. He runs Mustangs Field Hockey Club, for boys and girls youth hockey all the way up to adults.

Grassi joined the USA Field Hockey Board of Directors in 2019 as an interim Athlete Representative and was officially voted into the position as a full Athlete Representative later that year. He is also the Chair of the Athlete Advisory Committee. He currently lives in Washington D.C. and works as a mechanical engineer.

   

Melissa Gonzalez | Athlete Director

Gonzalez, a two-time Olympian, was dominate in the midfield for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2010 to 2018, when she retired with 241 international caps. Originally recruited to the University of Connecticut for soccer, she ultimately chose field hockey as she helped guide the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament every year. She earned several honors and awards, including NCAA All-Final Four Team, Big East All-Tournament Team, All-Big East Second Team and NFHCA All- Mideast Second Team honors her freshman year in 2007.

In 2008, Gonzalez entered her sophomore season as UConn’s top returning scorer while also being selected for Junior National Camp and the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team the same year. She was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year and earned NFHCA All-America and All-Mideast First Team honors in 2009, as well as being named to the Junior World Cup Team. In 2010, she was again named Big East Defensive Player of the Year in addition to First Team All-American honors and a finalist for the Honda Sports Award.

Gonzalez verified her importance to the USWNT at the 2011 Pan American Games in the team’s stunning first place finish. From there her leadership skills continued to grow and resonate with her teammates over the years from the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup and 2015 Pan American Games, to the 2017 women’s Pan American Cup, FIH Hockey World League Semifinals, and London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Gonzalez spent the past four seasons on the coaching staff at Wake Forest University, earning a promotion from assistant coach to associate head coach in 2020. In January 2022, she accepted the role of Yale University’s Caroline Ruth Thompson ’02 Head Coach. She also serves as the U-16 USWNT assistant coach, a role she has held since October 2019.

   

Ron Hawley | At-Large Director

Hawley has a career background in governance, management and nonprofit leadership. He served as a Special Agent with the North Carolina State Bureau (SBI) and rose to the level of Assistant Director and managed the SBI’s Division of Criminal Information (DCI). He also served on a Federal Advisory Committee providing policy guidance to the FBI Director for the management of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services division (CJIS), the CJIS Advisory Policy Board (APB). During his years of service, he was involved in the creation of a newly established Security Committee, then served as the committee’s first chair.

 

While with the State of North Carolina, Hawley earned the designation of Certified Public Manager, was appointed by the Governor as North Carolina’s Chief Information Officer, as well as North Carolina’s member of SEARCH Group, Inc., a nonprofit states-based membership organization whose focus was on improving policy and governance of the nation’s criminal justice information. He subsequently served with SEARCH as a Board Member, Staff Member and finally Executive Director for 9+ years.

 

Hawley was an athlete himself, playing high school football and baseball, and eventually going on to play baseball at Campbell College (now University). In his senior year with the Camels, he was named captain as well as team MVP.

 

His background in field hockey sprung from his sister playing on an intramural team in college. His appreciation for the sport grew and he began following it seriously just before the London 2012 Olympic Games. In late 2013, Hawley became a USA Field Hockey Member and in 2018, he sat on the Board of Director Ethics Committee and served until he joined as a Board Member. 

 

Hawley has volunteered countless hours to the organization and sport. He provided staff support to the U.S. Women’s National Team Retention Project and participated in the Governance Committee’s rewrite of the Bylaws to bring them into compliance with federal legislation and United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s requirements.

   

Richard Hayden | Coach Representative

Hayden was introduced to field hockey 40 years ago in Ireland and for him it has been a lifelong passion. He is very involved in the sport and has and continues to coach in the Futures Program, at the National Futures Championship and AAU Junior Olympics. He is involved in a new high school program in Loudon, Va. and also works with athletes at the grassroots level. He also plays for the dcDragons and represented Team USA on the O-50 team at the Master’s World Cup in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Hayden has also umpired at the club, high school and college levels. He is currently the Senior Vice President of Product Management and Marketing at Unanet, a fast-growing software company in Washington D.C.

   

Will Holt | Athlete Director

Holt has been a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team since 2007 and accumulated a 146 international caps. Since his debut he has been an offensive scoring threat tallying an impressive 85 goals. He has traveled to many countries where he competed in various test series and international events including the World League Round 1 (2012, 2016), World League Round 2 (2013, 2015, 2017), Hockey Series Open (2018), Hockey Series Finals (2019), Pan American Games (2011, 2015, 2019-A) and Pan American Cup (2009, 2017). When he was a member of the Junior USMNT he played in the Junior Pan American Championships and men’s Junior World Cup.

He is an active coach and in January 2020 was named the assistant coach at Indiana University. Holt has served in many coaching capacities and got his start with USA Field Hockey as the assistant coach of the U-21 USMNT. He went on to serve as the associate head coach of the U-16 squad before being moved up to the U-18 team.

Holt also has experience coaching internationally and in 2010 was the head coach of the Royal Oreé T. H. B. U-16 Boys first time in Brussels, Belgium. He returned to coaching abroad in 2016 as the head coach of the Royal Pingouin Hockey Club U-16 Boys first team and assistant coach for the U-18 Boys first team. During the 2017 season, he went on to be the director of strength and conditioning with Hockey Club Ludwigsburg in Germany. Holt spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons in The Netherlands coaching for two club organizations. In 2018, he was the head coach of the U-16 Boys first team at V.M.H.C. Cartouche prior to becoming the head coach of the U-14 girls team with NMHC Nijmegen.

Holt earned his bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Performance (Exercise Science) from the University of Louisville in 2014. He also earned his master’s degree from Louisville in Athletic Administration in 2015. While pursuing both degrees, he served as the volunteer assistant coach from 2012 to 2015, where he assisted in the development of team game plans and breakdown of film.

   

Karissa Niehoff | Amateur Sports Organization Representative

Niehoff is the current executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), a position she has held since August 2018. As the organization’s sixth full-time executive director and first female to lead the organization, she is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of the organization and achievement of the NFHS Strategic Plan and NFHS Board of Directors Priorities. She interacts with NFHS Board of Directors and 51 member associations and collaborates with other stakeholder entities including professional sport organizations. Prior to that she served as the executive director of the NFHS-member Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Athletic Conference (CAS-CIAC) for seven years.

On top of her extensive involvement with NFHS, Niehoff was previously a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal and principal at the middle and high school levels in Connecticut for 20 years. She also was the field hockey coach at Litchfield High School and Joel Barlow High School.

Niehoff served as the interim director of education for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee from 1995 to 2001 and was on the USA Field Hockey Board of Ethics from 2006 to 2017.

Niehoff earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, master’s from Southern Connecticut State University, sixth-year degree in educational leadership from Central Connecticut State University and doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Connecticut.

   

Chip Rogers | At-Large Director

Rogers lives in Oxford, Ohio, and serves as an assistant coach at Miami University, a U.S. Men’s Masters Team athlete and an international technical official. In addition, Rogers is the administrator of the fieldhockeycorner.com website, which has been used by coaches, players and fans as a resource for schedules, results, rankings, statistics and polls for all three divisions of NCAA field hockey for the past 15 years. He collated the national coaching and playing records for Division I, II and III, while doing ground-breaking research on early field hockey history. Rogers serves as the chair of the National Grow the Game committee and has been instrumental in starting new programs at colleges in all divisions.

   

Christie Smith | Independent Director

Smith has an extensive background in human resources, especially in the department of diversity, inclusion and equity, having previously served as the Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity at Apple, Inc., holding that role for three years. Smith was recently appointed the Senior Managing Director of Accenture Strategy & Consulting where she will lead and expand the transformational change offerings that address the complex change management challenges facing CEOs, C-suits and Boards. She will also lead Accenture’s Inclusion + Diversity practice focused on helping clients address this essential element of today’s modern workforce.

Aside from her professional career, Smith enjoys sport and has been heavily involved throughout her life. She was a three-sport athlete in high school at Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, N.J. having played basketball, field hockey and lacrosse. She went on to play field hockey collegiately at Loyola College (’86) (now Loyola University Maryland), where she was a captain for the Hounds her junior and senior seasons. Smith was involved in USA Field Hockey’s Olympic Development Pathway before injuries ended her playing days, but she has since returned to her high school alumna mater and coached both field hockey and lacrosse for a few years.

 

Smith earned her doctorate in philosophy and clinical social work from New York University in 1995. She is also an Independent Board Member for Endo International Pic, an organization that operates a pharmaceutical company. She lives in Seattle, Wash. with her wife and their two children.

* A Board Liaison serves as a link between the Board and Committee. Board Liaisons are not active members of the committee.

Board of Directors Chair: Catherine Bessant (2022)
Board of Directors Vice Chair: Jeanne O'Brien (2022)

Committee Chair: TBD
Ann Kitt Carpenetti (2024)
John Patrick Rieder (2024)
Heather Tackney (2024)
Lauren Slepian (2024)
Alberto Montilla (athlete)(2024)
Lauren Blazing (athlete)(2024)
*Board Liaison: Ron Hawley (2022)

Committee Chair: Richard Hayden (2020)
Lauren Crandall (2022)
Cathy Bessant (2022)
Dan Friedberg (2022)
Mark Vittese (2022)
Kathleen Schiller* (2020)
Committee Chair: Harold Ferguson (2020)
Helen Drew (2022)
Will Holt (Athlete) (2020)
Ian Scally (Athlete) (2020)
Mark Vittese* (2022)

Committee Chair: Jeanne O'Brien (2020)
Lauren Crandall (2020)
Richard Hayden (2022)
Chip Rogers (2022)
Kathleen Schiller (2020)

Candice-Leigh Baumgardner (2022)
Dan Friedberg (2022)
Scott Garrod (2024)
Jeanne O'Brien (2022)
Loren Shealy (Athlete)(2024)
Michelle Vittese (Athlete)(2022)

Michael Barminski
Alex Grassi
Will Holt
Lauren (Crandall) Liska
Lauren Moyer
Kealsie Robles