Long-time Coach Paula Hodgdon Is Inducted into NFHCA Hall of Fame
Recently inducted into the National Field Hockey Coaches' Association Hall of Fame, longtime head coach, athletic administrator and faculty member, Paula Hodgdon can be credited for pioneering nearly all of the women’s athletic programs at the University of Southern Maine. During her tenure, Hodgdon helped initiate many of the sports offered for USM’s female student-athletes and served as the head coach for the field hockey, softball, women’s lacrosse and women’s basketball teams at various points in her career. Hodgdon’s legendary field hockey coaching career at USM began in 1967. At the time, USM was known as Gorham State College and its mascot was the Hilltoppers. During the 31-season (1967-1997) span of her career, Gorham State College morphed from Gorham State College of University of Maine to UMaine Portland-Gorham and finally into the University of Southern Maine, but what remained the same was Hodgdon’s passion for the sport of field hockey and the success of her student-athletes on and off the field. Compiling a record of 213-173-57 during her career, Hodgdon led her teams to post-season play 15 times including a Maine Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (MAIAW) championship in 1974, an ECAC Division III New England Championship in 1986 and a berth to the NCAA Division III Final Four in 1987. A year after moving from the NAIA to the NCAA, the 1987 USM field hockey team became the first USM team to reach the NCAA Division III Final Four. USM began the 1987 season 4-0, out¬scoring opponents 12-2 in those games before losing to Salem state 1-0 for its first loss of the season. After a 2-0 loss to University of Maine-Orono the next game, the team won six of its next 10 games, while tying the other four before they were chosen as the fourth seed in the first round (regional) of the NCAA DIII tournament. There was one problem: USM had drawn the No. 1 seed and unbeaten Salem State in the first round — a team they hadn’t beaten in eight years of competition. That didn’t matter to Hodgdon and her team, though. They jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and eventually won the game 3-1. They beat Elizabethtown College 2-1 in the regional championship and earned an automatic bid to the Final Four. Hodgdon’s dedication to the Huskies’ athletic programs and particularly the field hockey led to the Huskies’ playing field being named in her honor following her retirement in 1998. Additionally, the University of Southern Maine Huskies’ Athletic Department annually presents the Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award to a female student-athlete who exemplifies the qualities of Paula Hodgdon: loyalty, dedication and commitment to the team, the sport and USM.