Entering her 13th season with the Michigan State field hockey program in 2005 is head coach Michele Madison. Through her 12 seasons in East Lansing, Madison has developed the Spartan field hockey team into one of the premiere programs in the nation. Recruiting some of the top players in the world to play their collegiate career at MSU, Madison is one of the most successful Division I coaches to date.
Her resume is very impressive, as the team has had a great deal of success on the field under her watch in recent years. In addition, Madison has helped to develop her players into some of the top field hockey athletes in the country, encouraging them to each build upon their individual skills but share one ultimate goal -- to win a national championship.
In encouraging her athletes to be the best of the best, Madison unquestionably leads by example. Since she arrived in East Lansing in 1993, Madison has won more games than any other coach in the 32-year history of the program, quite an inspiring achievement. Her players have responded to their head coach, receiving many individual conference and national honors. All told throughout her time at State, Madison has coached 15 NFHCA All-American selections, including two first-team recipients in Alexandra Kyser (2003) and Verlee Goudswaard (2004). The Spartan accolades give Madison at least one All-America performer in nine of the past 10 seasons. Two Big Ten Freshman of the Year recipients (Emma Fernandez, 1994 and Bridget Cooper, 1998) and one Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year (Bridget Cooper, 2001) also have been under the training of Madison. Spartan players have been awarded all-region honors 40 times and All-Big Ten kudos on 38 occasions during Madison's tenure. MSU has been ranked in the top 25 at various times every year of the past decade and have made an appearance in the NCAA Final Four twice in four seasons (2002, 2004) and also advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight (2001, 2003) during the past four years.
But in as much as the team has flourished into a prime program athletically, Madison's players also have excelled in the classroom, with student-athletes taking their class work as seriously as they do their performance on the field. To date, Madison has coached 42 Academic All-Big Ten honorees, with her players receiving NFHCA National Academic award winners 32 times during her tenure at State. The team's academic success serves as an example of how as a head coach, Madison has made academics an important part of the success of the team.
In 2004, MSU capped off another spectacular season, concluding the year with an 18-4 overall record (5-1 Big Ten). State opened the season with an impressive eight-game winning streak, with the team's powerful defense and timely goal scoring earning them a No. 1 ranking in the country. The Spartans tied for the conference regular-season title with Michigan and Iowa, who each had one loss on the year. Bowing out to the Hawkeyes in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, the Spartans stepped up their game as they earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament, their fourth consecutive appearance in the post-season event. After defeating both Boston College (4-0) and in-state rival Michigan on their home field in Ann Arbor (3-2), the Spartans advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the second time in the history of the program. MSU bowed out to Duke, 5-2, in the semifinals of the Final Four. All told, each of the four games the Spartans lost in the regular season were in overtime. State's success in 2004 yet legitimized that the Spartans are a contender in their bid to win the national championship.
Receiving individual accolades for their roles in the success of MSU during the course of the 2004 season, Goudswaard was a finalist for the Honda Broderick Award as the nation's top player. In addition, she earned First-Team All-America recognition and was accompanied by teammate Annebet Beerman's Second-Team All-America selection. Four players were named both NFHCA All-Region recipients and All-Big Ten honorees (Goudswaard, Beerman, Michelle Huynh-Ba and Christina Kirkaldy).
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