The field hockey Web site topofthecircle.com nominated 12 high school coaches for its United States Coach of the Year award, and nominee Kathy Waite wasn’t disappointed that one of the other nominees was selected.
“I’m just pleased to be nominated,” said Waite, who has been Fallbrook High School’s varsity field hockey coach since 1982 and also coaches the off-season Guac Girls club teams.
The selection of Danyle Heilig of Voorhees Eastern High School in New Jersey was announced December 29. Heilig, who coached Voorhees Eastern to its 11th consecutive state championship, was one of ten coaches from states bordering the Atlantic Ocean to be nominated. Waite and Julie Stevens of Denver East High School were the only nominees outside the Eastern Time Zone. “Not very good odds,” said Waite.
The United States Coach of the Year award is given to a head coach or head co-coaches who made a noticeable impact in the performance of a scholastic field hockey team in a particular season, although the coaching performance is not limited to progress made in the year for which the award is given. “I’m very, very pleased to be nominated. That was very nice,” Waite said.
The CIF portion of Fallbrook High School’s field hockey season ended in the CIF Division I finals, where San Pasqual won the championship match by a 1-0 score. The Warriors finished the season with a 20-7 overall record, including two CIF playoff wins and the championship loss, to give Fallbrook its second 20-win season in school history. Fallbrook’s losses also included a 1-0 defeat by Scripps Ranch in the championship match of the Serra Tournament, which was the Warriors’ first-ever appearance in the Serra Tournament finals.
The National Field Hockey Festival takes place after the end of the CIF field hockey season, so the team cannot officially represent Fallbrook High School. Without the ability to call themselves the Warriors, the team has adopted the name Guac Girls for out-of-season tournaments as well as for the indoor league.
In the November 2009 National Field Hockey Festival, the Guac Girls coached by Waite and consisting of 14 players from the Fallbrook High School varsity and junior varsity teams and two Vista High School girls won their pool, the first-ever pool win for the Guac Girls at the National Field Hockey Festival.
The conclusion of Waite’s 28th CIF season as the Warriors’ head coach gave her a cumulative record of 374-169-20 in the 563 Fallbrook High School games (most field hockey matches which are tied after regulation are decided on penalty-shot strokes, but if a tournament does not use strokes the matches count as ties in overall records).
Although Fallbrook’s 6-4 Avocado League record in 2009 tied for third in the league standings, Fallbrook has won seven league championships during Waite’s coaching career. The 2009 trip to the CIF finals was the fourth for Waite, who also
led Fallbrook to the CIF Division I championship game in 2005 and coached the Warriors to CIF championships in 1986 and 1991.
Waite’s field hockey legacy also includes the performances of 35 girls who have subsequently played collegiately.
Waite herself played field hockey at Marina High School in Huntington Beach. “Not the same game that it was back in the late 60s, early 70s,” she said of field hockey’s changes.
Waite played when the shinguards the players used had straps. “The protective gear is nothing like now,” she said.
The more important change involves the level of play. “The skill level is so much better,” she said.
“At the time you could play multiple sports,” Waite said of her own playing days. “We didn’t practice much. We just went out and played.”
In addition to playing field hockey, Waite also played tennis and badminton for Marina High School and was on the drill team. She started field hockey in high school in order to participate in a sport during that season. She graduated from Marina High School in 1972.
Waite, who was then Kathy Yancey, continued her playing career in physical education classes at Golden West Community College. Waite was a physical education major at Golden West College, and she also played club field hockey at San Diego State University before transferring to Long Beach State University.
She also played tennis at both Golden West and Long Beach State, and she received a physical education degree and her teaching credential from Long Beach State.
After obtaining her teaching credential, she interviewed with the Fallbrook Union High School District and was offered a position. She accepted the position prior to receiving an interview opportunity in Tustin. “I had already accepted Fallbrook’s job, so I went south,” she said. “I didn’t really want to move because I lived in Orange County much of my life, but I needed a job.”
Kathy Yancey arrived at Fallbrook High School in 1977. “I coached whatever was open,” she said.
Waite coached girls swimming, softball, girls volleyball, and boys tennis at Fallbrook High School prior to joining the Warriors’ field hockey program. In 1981, she became Fallbrook’s junior varsity field hockey coach. Ginny Krauszer was Fallbrook’s varsity coach at the time, and when Krauszer went into administration, Waite took over as the varsity coach for 1982-83. Field hockey was a CIF winter sport until 1983, when it became a fall sport.
Waite gave up volleyball after becoming the varsity field hockey coach, although she continued coaching boys’ tennis. Her coaching career at Fallbrook High School later in the 1980s also included assisting Tom Pack with the gymnastics team when that program did not have a true coach.
“As the junior high came in it required more time,” Waite said. “I stayed with hockey.”
Waite started the Potter Junior High School field hockey program in the mid-1990s.
“It’s been a great career and profession. I’ve enjoyed it tremendously. Not only the kids but Fallbrook High School,” Waite said.
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