University of the Pacific to Discontinue Field Hockey Program

Dec. 04, 2018, 10:45 a.m. (ET)

Portions of this article courtesy of University of the Pacific Athletics

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – December 4, 2018 – USA Field Hockey is disappointed to learn of the recent news that the University of the Pacific will be discontinuing their field hockey program on June 30, 2019, as part of the university’s budget reduction plan.

The Tigers’ field hockey program began in 1977 and finished the 2018-19 season with a 12-8 overall record, with their most recent game coming in the America East Conference Semifinals. This season also saw two Pacific players named to the Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-Region teams. Senior forward Kriekie van Wyk was named to the All-West Region First Team, while junior defender Nthabi Maine was named to the Second Team.

“We are saddened to learn about Pacific’s decision to drop their field hockey program,” added Sally Goggin, USA Field Hockey's National Development Director. “Our best wishes go out to all of the Pacific student-athletes who have lost their current home for hockey and to the Pacific coaches, Andy Smith, Gareth Terrett and Chris Fry, as well as to all former players. Decisions to drop and add programs do happen on a regular basis, not just to field hockey, but also to a multitude of other sports. USA Field Hockey and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association are working together to grow the game at all levels and have welcomed several new collegiate programs in 2018 and 2019. Pacific dropping is very disappointing.”

There are 18 student-athletes on the field hockey team with eight of them graduating by this summer. The university will honor the scholarships of the eligible student-athletes who remain to support their graduation from Pacific. The university's Student-Athlete Services staff will also continue to provide tutoring, mentoring, life skills programming and access to the Cedric and June Dempsey Center for Academic Excellence.
"This is a difficult day for the Pacific community and we wish there were another option to this very hard decision," said Pamela A. Eibeck, Pacific President. "We're very proud of these student-athletes' accomplishments and their commitment to pursue excellence. They are outstanding ambassadors and representatives of the best of Pacific. We are also very grateful to the coaches, assistant coaches and staff for the leadership, development and care that they have given to our students."

The loss of the Tigers' program now leaves three NCAA programs remaining in the state of California.

“We recognize the great value field hockey brings to a college and are saddened to learn of this field hockey program being dropped,” stated Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey's Executive Director. “As we look forward to Los Angeles 2028 and the important role field hockey plays in the Olympics it is hard to see a program being lost in California. We will continue to work with all partners in sport to grow opportunities for ever more young people to play field hockey at every level."
Pacific field hockey competes in the America East Conference, with most teams on the East Coast. It is one of four program's in California - the others being UC Davis, Cal Berkeley and Stanford - to make up the West Division of the America East Conference. America East notified the four California associate member institutions in field hockey this fall that this opportunity will be eliminated following the 2019-20 season. This change will put the burden on individual schools to schedule games, and for these four programs, it will eliminate automatic bids to NCAA national tournaments after winning conference tournaments.

The discontinuance of the field hockey program results in a nearly $1 million reduction in Pacific Athletics' budget as part of the university's charge for all units to reduce spending to help sustain Pacific's long-term plan. The most recent athletic program to be discontinued was men's volleyball in 2014. The athletics department does not plan to eliminate other programs. 

USA Field Hockey wants to honor those that have played at Pacific by sharing our compassion with them through this difficult time.