ENDWELL, NY – After three decades of coaching, last Wednesday was the final game at the helm of the Maine-Endwell field hockey team for Heather Doyle.
However, the impact and legacy she leaves behind will last decades into the future.
“Wider, then go. Wider.”
For the last twenty-eight years, Heather Doyle has roamed the sidelines as head coach of the Maine-Endwell varsity field hockey team.
In that time, she has developed the Spartans into a powerhouse, consistently having them in the running for a championship.
However, it’s who she is that people will remember the most during her tenure.
“She was one of the first coaches I met when I came in three years ago in the fall. Very intense. Very dedicated to field hockey. And, obviously, has done a ridiculously great job with with our program here at Maine-Endwell. The success that she’s had. She takes a lot of pride in what she does, and in turn, it makes the girls take pride in what they do,” says M-E Athletic Trainer Deb Iwanow.
“She’s the heart and soul of this program. She puts so much time and so much extra effort. She’s unlike any coach I’ve ever had. She always goes the extra mile for every single player. She cares about them beyond just the sport. Every single player on this team has an individual relationship with her. There’s no other coach like her,” Senior Jenna Zunic said.
Zunic may be right about that, as Doyle has guided different M-E teams to several state final fours, and winning three state championships.
For Doyle, the feeling of seeing her team’s celebrate a championship, after all their hard work, are some of the memories she’ll treasure forever.
“The best part is being able to share all those victories with the athletes. You know what I mean. It’s not about, like I’ve never had the attitude that I wanted to beat a certain coach because it wasn’t about me. It was all about the kids. I just love to see the kids celebrating all those victories,” Doyle said.
Both Iwanow and Zunic mentioned the many superstitions and traditions that Doyle had as a coach, including providing motivational quotes, but in a truly unique way that helped motivate her players every time they stepped on the field.
“It’s our focus for that game. You tape it on your shin guard. I have all mine on here since 8th grade through senior year. It’s just something that just shows how much she cares, and how deeply she thinks about this game and every single one of us. It’s honestly something really special that I don’t think any other coach does.”
Doyle says she isn’t sure who her successor will be yet. But, it’s certainly not going to be an easy role to fill.
“She’s done a spectacular job from youth all the way up in building the program and having the success year after year that she’s had. It’s going to be big shoes to step into.”
Aside from going away to college at Ithaca and Cortland, Doyle says she hasn’t really left Maine-Endwell between attending school there and coaching.
However, just because she’s stepping aside from the sidelines doesn’t mean she’ll lose touch with her roots.
“There’s always going to be a part of me that’s a Spartan. I’ll somehow stay involved. But, you know, it’s just, it’s been my life, and it’s been amazing.”