By Julie Kayzerman Editor-in-Chief
Field hockey coach Sharon Pfluger stepped foot on Lions’ Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 1, just like any other day.
Pfluger ’82, prepared to coach her team against Gwynedd Mercy, just like she had for every other game in her 31 seasons coaching at the College.
She had no clue that she was about to achieve a legendary accomplishment — but her team knew.
When the final whistle blew signaling that the College’s field hockey team defeated Gwynedd Mercy, 6-0, players, alumna and coaches ran out to congratulate Pfluger —and that’s when she first realized she had just reached her 1,000th career coaching victory.
“I don’t keep track… I really didn’t know, and I don’t want to know those things because that’s not where my mind ever is,” Pfluger said in an interview with The Signal. “When I’m retired I’ll be thinking about all the great things the players did… but I don’t think ‘where am I in the statistics.”
Pfluger is the first coach in NCAA history to reach the 1,000 career coaching victory milestone by leading two programs, in field hockey and lacrosse, according to a press release.
“I am the guide, I have the privilege of being the guide to these wonderful young women, and I am truly blessed to have that opportunity.”
She credits the accomplishment to all the players, alumnae, coaches, faculty, staff and administration who have been involved in the field hockey and lacrosse programs.
“I feel like it’s an accomplishment for everybody, it’s not just me, it’s never been just me, it’s always about all of us,” Pfluger said.
But according to senior field hockey captain Mikayla Cimilluca, Pfluger couldn’t be more deserving.
“Her first response when she won her 1,000th game was that it was the players who got her this far and she is just there to guide us,” Cimilluca said. “She creates such a family-like atmosphere for the girls and I truly think that is what draws so many girls to this program.”
Pfluger has earned 545 wins in field hockey and 455 with the lacrosse program and has won an astounding 20 NCAA Division III National Championships, according to the press release. Her coaching record currently stands at 1,000-149-10, a .863 winning average, in her 31 seasons with the Lions, the release said.
“I am so happy that I could be part of multiple historic wins with her because they are moments that you will never forget for the rest of your life and you look back and know that being a part of TCNJ field hockey or lacrosse are some of the happiest times of your life,” Cimilluca said. “You work so hard so that you can have games and experiences like those.”
Pfluger, who has continuously credited her accolades over the years to her players and coaches, has been tabbed as the New Jersey Athletic Conference Coach of the Year nine times. Just last season she was named the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III National Coach of the Year, her second time in four seasons.
“It’s a credit to everybody that’s been involved in the program,” Pfluger said. “I’m happy to be a part of this wonderful time, but I’m just a piece of it.”