Field hockey coach steps down after four seasons

Marybeth Freeman posted a 21-55 record during her tenure as the Owls’ coach.

Coach Marybeth Freeman instructs players during a practice on Aug. 26, 2016 at Howarth Field. Freeman stepped down after four seasons as Temple’s field hockey coach on Thursday. | PAUL KLEIN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University field hockey coach Marybeth Freeman resigned, after four years with the program.

Freeman resigned on Thursday, after the Owls’ fourth straight losing season and second consecutive year without a Big East Conference playoff appearance. With a 2-16 overall record this year, Temple also went winless in conference play for the second straight season. 

Athletic Director Patrick Kraft said in a university release the university will soon begin a nationwide search for a new coach. Assistant coach Ross Gilham-Jones will serve as head coach in the interim.

Kraft declined to comment on the coaching search, due to the privacy of the search. Freeman could not be reached for comment.

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of strong, driven and talented women and coaches,” Freeman said in a press release.

Freeman joined Temple in March 2015 after posting a 46-39 record in five years at Columbia University. She replaced Amanda Janney, who left for Indiana University Bloomington after 10 seasons at Temple. Janney’s teams made three appearances in conference finals. 

Freeman compiled a 21-55 record from 2015-18. She brought the Owls to the Big East Conference tournament in 2015 and 2016, extending the program’s streak of Atlantic 10 Conference and Big East tournament appearances to 14. 

The Owls’ streak of conference tournament appearances ended in 2017. Temple won four games, matching 1998 as the worst season for the program since the team started playing at least 15 per season in 1977.

This year, opponents outscored Temple 73-22, and the Owls won just two games. The Owls’ 2-16 record marked their lowest win total since they began to play more than 15 games per season.

Freeman will still serve as president of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association, a role she assumed in February. On Friday, Freeman worked as a color analyst for ESPN’s broadcast team for the NCAA Tournament.

Freeman told the team and coaching staff about her decision in person on Thursday. Freeman was incredibly professional when speaking to the team about her decision to step down, Gilham-Jones said.

Gilham-Jones joined the team in September as an assistant coach specializing in offensive tactics. He said in a phone interview Friday that he is interested in stepping into the role full-time.

“I’ve built up a really good relationship with the girls, and I feel that relationships are a lot in coaching,” Gilham-Jones said. “If you build a good trusting relationship between coach and player, that gives you the best opportunity to achieve. From my perspective, having tried to implement some of my structures and game plans already with Marybeth, I think the opportunity to take the team forward would be great for the program.”

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