Eastern field hockey coach reaches milestone

Eastern High School Varsity Field Hockey coach Danyle Heilig reached a milestone by attaining her 300th career coaching victory by trouncing Paul VI 10–0 recently.

“It’s exciting,” Heilig said. “I’m proud of it from a personal standpoint.

“I think that’s an outstanding accomplishment for all the girls who have been involved in the program and I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished here,” she added.

But it was all business for the coach as she went into the team’s first home game.

“The fact that it’s my 300th is about as far away from my mind as you can imagine,” Heilig said. “It’s more about the kids.

“I worry more about the team than I do about myself getting 300,” she added.

The team practiced a lot over the summer and got together a handful of times.

“The kids have worked hard over the summer in preparation for the 2011 season,” Heilig said, noting the Vikings defeated Bishop Eustace in the season opener.

Of the 300 wins she has garnered, 14 were in Haddon Heights Senior High School. Heilig is now in her 13th year with Eastern.

“I think that I have players who make field hockey a massive priority in their lives,” she said. “It’s something they want to play at the next level.”

Some of Heilig’s athletes want to play for the American team and have supportive parents who encourage them to follow Heilig’s advice.

She said there are too many outstanding moments to pick just one memorable one.

“I’ve had some great athletes,” Heilig said. “There have been some great games, there have been some great state tournament runs, there are so many memories I definitely couldn’t recount just one.”

Her philosophy is you have to be willing to work harder than your opponents and have a commitment to your team first and yourself second as well as a desire to win.

“You have to be willing to put everything on the line and walk off the field with no wouldas, couldas, shouldas,” Heilig said. “If you do that then I think as a group you can collectively be very successful.”

She said sports teaches life lessons not learned in school like commitment to a group, dealing with adversity, being disciplined, and hard work.

“It’s not just about the wins and the losses I hope when my kids leave my program that they’re taking lessons that will make them successful in life,” Heilig said.

The coach also teaches health and physical education to juniors.

She said finding a balance between work and personal life the most challenging because she immerses herself in the game. And seeing kids succeed is the most rewarding aspect for her.

For now, Heilig plans to stay put.

“I thoroughly enjoy being here at Eastern,” she said.