Tomahawk JV field hockey coach becomes varsity coach

Northborough/Southborough – Last season, as the Algonquin Regional High School field hockey team was methodically motoring its way to the postseason, Tomahawks Athletic Director Fran Whitten was getting an uneasy feeling.

Whitten was tremendously pleased with the job head coach Jodi Howard was doing, but in junior varsity coach Dan Welty, Whitten saw a coach who was ready to run his own program.

"I was expecting to lose Dan," Whitten said. "I knew when the season ended last season that his plan was to actively pursue a head coaching job, and I couldn't blame him – he was ready."

So, when Howard stopped by to see Whitten the first week of January to tell him she was relocating to Ohio, the first thing Whitten did when Howard left his office was call Welty, who is a physics teacher at Algonquin.

"I told him not to do anything regarding coaching field hockey somewhere else," Whitten said. "I told him what Jodi told me and told him he was going to have a very good chance to be a head field hockey coach at his first choice – Algonquin Regional."

It's funny how things work out sometimes.

"I was really torn," Welty said. "I wanted to stay and continue to coach field hockey at Algonquin, but I also felt I was ready to lead my own program."

Welty became the junior varsity field hockey coach prior to the 2002 season.

"It was the day before tryouts and I got a call from Fran who said, 'I heard through the grapevine that you play field hockey and I was wondering if you'd like to coach our junior varsity team this year?'" Welty said. "I haven't looked back since."

Welty, 36, didn't know anything about the game of field hockey until about 10 years ago when he was teaching at Silver Lake Regional in Kingston. One of his students asked him to attend a game.

"I went and I was really impressed," Welty said. "I remember thinking what a great sport it was. And is."

A few weeks later Welty went to his alma mater, Boston University, and saw the game played on field turf.

"I was completely hooked after that," Welty said.

Shortly thereafter Welty joined the only men's club team in the area – a team that played at MIT – and learned the nuances of the game. Just prior to Whitten's invitation to coach the junior varsity five years ago Welty began to think that he might like to wade into the coaching waters.

"I really learned a lot that first year," Welty said, "It's one thing to think you're ready to coach, which I did, but spending that first year with 16 15-year-olds really taught me how to relate to and coach females."

Welty, like Whitten, thinks it's a big plus that he's coaching in the same building where he teaches.

"You get to see your players every day," Welty said, "and interact and build a rapport with them."

Welty inherits a team that was 5-5-8 last season and qualified for the Central Mass. Tournament. He believes that level of success – and more – are within the 2007 Tomahawks' collective grasp.

"I think the program has reached a level where the players shouldn't be happy just to qualify for districts," Welty said, "that they're capable of getting in there and surprising some of the top teams."

The team gets that chance beginning Thursday Sept. 6, when it hosts perennial power Shrewsbury.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=515

Posted by on Aug 31 2007. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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