Sept. 19, 2012
ATHENS, Ohio - The National Field Hockey Coaches Association Office announced that former Ohio Head Coach Catherine Brown has been selected as a member of the Zag Field Hockey / NFHCA Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
Brown served as a professor, teacher, coach, student, international athlete and official. A 1986 inductee to the Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame, she was also a tireless crusader for women's rights.
"Catherine was a coach dearly beloved by her players and one who represents so much for women's athletics at Ohio University," current Ohio Field Hockey head coach Neil Macmillan said. "Her induction into the NFHCA Hall of Fame is the highest recognition in this country as her contribution to the sport which stretches well past her time with the Bobcats. It is unfortunate that she will not be there to celebrate this fantastic achievement with her former players, pupils and friends. She was a great supporter of Ohio Field Hockey and will be dearly missed."
"Catherine had a profound and positive impact on Ohio Athletics," Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director Amy Dean said. "Her belief in the role athletics played in the lives of all people, along with her contribution to female sports at Ohio is her lasting legacy. This is truly a great honor for Catherine and I wish she were still here to be honored by the people she touched so dearly."
Brown came to Ohio University in 1964 as a visiting professor, and returned to her native Ireland in 1965 as contracted. She was asked to return to Ohio to teach after being seen at a tournament in Goucher and arrived back in Athens in 1966.
Brown arrived in Athens in 1966 and created the initial track and field program at Ohio. She then moved on to field hockey, serving as the head coach from 1968-71 and leading her teams to an overall mark of 25-7-5. In fact, she lost only one game during her last two seasons at the helm.
During this time, Brown also served as assistant coach for the track & field team before moving on to assist the women's basketball team. She would also initiate the women's lacrosse program in 1970 and continued to coach the sport until 1976.
In total, Brown coached five student-athletes selected to the Ohio University Hall of Fame, including Olympian, Anita Corl Miller, and US Reserve Team selection Wendy Weeden Devine. Ohio Hall of Fame inductees Donna Jean Taylor, Janet Schmitt (McDowell) and Kathryn MacDonald were also mentored by Brown.
Brown stopped coaching when she attended a year of conferences in Wales and was offered the athletic director position while she was on this sabbatical. She turned down the offer and returned to continue her teaching position at Ohio.
In her playing days, Brown suited up for several top club teams and was selected to the Irish National team. After leaving Athens, Brown served on the USFHA Umpiring Committee for two years, holding a sectional rating in officiating and training hundreds in the process.
Brown passed away on August 6th of this year and the NFHCA will be honoring her posthumously at its 2013 Annual Convention in conjunction with the NCAA Division I, II and III Championships in Virginia Beach, Va. next November.
She will be inducted along with fellow 2012 classmates, Linda Dirga, former head coach at Pomperaug High School (Conn.) and Cheryl Murtagh, head coach at Northeastern University, as well as the 2013 class.