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Courtesy: CAA
William and Mary's Peel Hawthorne

W&M's Hawthorne Promoted To SWA, Ellis Named Interim FH Head Coach

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 08/23/2013
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RICHMOND, Va. - A familiar face within William and Mary Athletics will take on a new set of responsibilities, as Tribe Athletics Director Terry Driscoll announced that iconic head field hockey coach Peel Hawthorne '80 will transition from the sidelines into the role of Associate Athletics Director for Student Services & Senior Woman Administrator.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to bring Peel Hawthorne into our administrative team,” said Driscoll.  “Peel adds an incredible amount of institutional knowledge to the position.  She has been a student-athlete, assistant coach, and head coach in her time on campus, which gives her valued insight and perspective on a broad range of topics.  Her contributions as a head coach reached far beyond the win column and now she will be uniquely positioned to be an exceptional resource for our student-athletes, coaches, and staff.”

Hawthorne will have responsibilities with each of the Tribe’s Olympic Sports programs, Academic Services, Compliance, and Student Support.  The move will key the start of a general departmental restructuring which will result in a more efficient distribution of administrative responsibilities.

“I am eager to bring my voice to the table as an experienced coach, and especially as a coach of female athletes,” stated Hawthorne.  “I was hired by and mentored by former Associate Athletics Director Millie West, and she continues to be one of my heroes in athletics and in life.  Barb Wetters was also an administrator who directly influenced my leadership style.  If I can channel even a fraction of these two icons as I take on more responsibilities, I know can have a positive influence on the department.”

Hawthorne will assume the new role, effective immediately, as long-time assistant coach Tess Ellis takes over the reigns of the field hockey program as interim head coach.  

“During the past six years [Associate AD, Internal Operations] Steve Cole has inspired me to get more involved with administrative projects and committees,” said Hawthorne.  “I have Terry Driscoll and Steve to thank for fueling my interest in administration.  In developing this structure, Terry sought the input of coaches and considered the most pressing needs of the department. My hope is that I can address some of those needs, enhance the overall athlete experience, and support our programs and coaching staffs.”

Additionally, Hawthorne is excited about the timing of her career transition, as she is extremely confident in the leadership Ellis and current field hockey staff will bring her former program.

"The good news for our alumnae, players, parents and recruits is that Tribe hockey is in great hands and will continue to be successful,” stated Hawthorne.  “It will remain a program known for its integrity, balance, and tradition of excellence.  There should be only excitement about what lies ahead."

“I am confident the program could not be placed in better hands for the coming year,” stated William and Mary Athletics Director Terry Driscoll.  “Tess Ellis couldn’t be better qualified to lead the program in this time of transition, as she is respected both within the program, and throughout the sport.”

No stranger to the Tidewater area, Ellis has spent the majority of her professional career developing the sport at every level in the area, and beyond.  Her commitment and passion for the W&M program is unrivaled and she is excited for the opportunity to lead it for the coming season.

“It has been a great privilege to coach with Peel on and off over the last 18 years,” said Ellis.  “I'm excited to continue working with her in her new position.  I know I speak for the whole team in wishing her all the best in her new endeavors.  As for the coming season, I am looking forward to the challenges of leading such an outstanding group of student-athletes.  I know everyone is going to remain focused on committing themselves to our team goals.”

Ellis rejoined W&M for the third time in 2010, and was promoted to associate head coach in May of 2011.  She has been instrumental in helping the Tribe regain its position in the CAA, improving to a 10-9 record in 2012 and making the conference tournament for the first time since 2008.  Last season, the Tribe broke the school record for most assists in a year and had four players earn all-conference honors.

Hawthorne’s remarkable 30-year career on the sidelines included 306 wins and a .549 winning percentage (306-251-6), ranking her 28th all-time in field hockey history and 14th all-time in NCAA Division I.  Her 275 wins as the coach of the Tribe makes her one of just 13 women to win as many at the same top-division school.  She achieved win No. 300 last fall, defeating Liberty 3-0 on Sept. 2.  Hawthorne took the Tribe to a pair of NCAA Tournaments, in 2000 and 2002, and achieved 18 seasons of 10 or more wins including last fall.

The Tribe field hockey team kicks off their season on Friday, Aug. 30 versus Radford.