Tracey Fuchs is no stranger to field hockey success. One of the most accomplished American players in history, she hopes to continue her winning ways as Northwestern's new field hockey coach this fall.
In 1987, as a player at the University of Connecticut, the three-time All-American won the Honda Broderick Award as the nation's top collegiate field hockey player. She went on to play on the U.S. national team for 17 years, including 14 years as captain. Fuchs, a two-time Olympian who played in more international matches than any previous player in U.S. field hockey history, was twice named USA Field Hockey Athlete of the Year.
The New York native quickly translated her success into coaching. In 1996 Fuchs became associate head coach at the University of Michigan, a program that had never reached the NCAA tournament. In 12 seasons Fuchs helped guide the Wolverines to five Big Ten Championships and one national championship.
In 2008 Fuchs won the Pan American Junior Championships as the head coach of the U.S. Junior National Team.
Fuchs credits her coaching success to her ability to analyze her skills. "If you ask a lot of great athletes how they do something, they can't break it down. They are naturally just able to do it," Fuchs said. "Over the years I've learned how to actually take the principles of a skill or a tactic and really be able to teach it to a lower level."
Northwestern is hoping that Fuchs can continue her success with the Wildcats, a program that hasn't finished above .500 in 13 years. However, there was a time when Northwestern was a national field hockey powerhouse. Between 1983 and 1994, the Wildcats racked up five Big Ten titles and four NCAA semifinals appearances.
The return to success will start with recruiting, Fuchs said. She describes Northwestern's location as a "recruiting gold mine. We're really going to focus on getting blue-chip athletes to come and play for us," she said, "both American and from outside our country."
— Robert Levin (J12)