As a result of longevity, the profits of stability and consistency come to the forefront of Bucknell's field hockey program. Head coach Heather Lewis, entering her 16th season, not only carries the distinction of having the longest tenure of any head coach in the history of the Bison field hockey program, but is also credited with having the highest number of victories for any coach in the history of the program.
While one can debate the meaning of a successful coach to include the number of championships won, Lewis reflects on her time at Bucknell and remarks on what she considers success. "When I have time to reflect on the women who have been a part of this program, you can't help but feel a sense of pride in all of their accomplishments. From doctors to poets, teachers to lawyers, this program has produced an array of talented professionals. I take pride in the people associated with this program more so than any victory that has come our way."
Short of winning a Patriot League championship, Lewis has founded a program marked by its consistency and ability to develop individual athletes into talented, cohesive units. In 2002, Bucknell was pleased to announce its first-ever national All-American in graduate Lauren Campbell. Campbell left behind a legacy that others can aspire to on the defensive end. According to Lewis, Campbell is the symbol of what this program represents. "Lauren, through an unbelievable work ethic and absolute desire to compete and excel, embodied all that is right in this program and sport. She, along with many others, sacrificed so much in her pursuit and has heightened the expectations of a Bison field hockey player and for that, I will truly benefit as this program's mentor."
In 16 years on the Lewisburg campus, Lewis has given selflessly to the university's efforts to maintain a model for Division I athletics. In 1992 she started her first campaign at Bucknell as the head women's field hockey and head women's lacrosse coach. After serving four years in that dual capacity, she stepped aside from coaching lacrosse and assumed the role of sports information assistant. Drawing on her previous experiences in the sports information office at the University of Maryland, Lewis was responsible for media guide production and covering a few Bison programs in the winter and spring months.
In the summer of 1999, Lewis was promoted to assistant athletics director for compliance while still maintaining her role as head field hockey coach. After serving as assistant athletics director for one year and director of compliance services for 18 months, Lewis stepped into the role of associate athletics director/senior woman administrator in August of 2000. Her intentions were to embark solely on a career in athletics administration following the conclusion of the 2001 field hockey season. But as the seasons change in central Pennsylvania, Lewis found her heart and passion remained with the student-athlete. "While I truly appreciate the opportunity John Hardt presented me in administration, I realized my passion for coaching was too strong to let go. I absolutely love the time out on the field and I couldn't step away from those experiences," Lewis explained.
And while Lewis has stepped away from her administrative duties on campus, she is deeply entrenched in the development of her sport. In December 2006 she was elected to a four-year term as a member of the Board of Directors for USA Field Hockey. This appointment follows a six-year term as the president of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA). In addition to her presidency, Lewis has served on a number of committees in her 15 years at Bucknell, including the USFHA Futures Committee, the NFHCA Mideast Regional All-American Committee and the NCAA Mideast Region Committee. In addition, on campus she serves as a member of the Community Judicial Board, which is responsible for Hearing Boards to determine responsibility in the breach of student codes and conduct.
In 15 seasons at the helm, Lewis has coached one national All-American, one national Academic All-American, 20 Regional All-Americans, 52 All-Patriot League selections, one Defensive Player of the Year, six Patriot League Rookie of the Year honorees, and four Patriot League Scholar-Athletes. A total of 114 of her student-athletes have been selected to the NFHCA National Academic Squad and 2007 sees the return of 14 players named to the 2006 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.
Lewis' arrival at Bucknell came at the end of a very diverse coaching journey. Her first coaching job, as a fifth-year senior at Maryland, was guiding the varsity and junior varsity field hockey programs at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Md. After three successful seasons at Springbrook, Lewis moved on to coaching field hockey, lacrosse and basketball at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Mass.
After two years at Deerfield, Lewis embarked on a coaching career at the intercollegiate level. Up until her appointment at Bucknell, from the spring of 1991 through May of 1992, Lewis was the assistant field hockey coach at the University of Massachusetts. Upon her arrival in Lewisburg, Lewis became involved with numerous developmental programs run by the USFHA including directing and coaching in the Futures Program, overseeing Super Camp and, for three years, assisting at A-Camp--a tryout camp for the National Team, Under-21 Squad, and Under-18 Squad.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Lewis attended the University of Maryland, where she collected Regional All-American and All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in field hockey. She was a team captain in field hockey and an All-ACC Academic selection multiple years. As a member of the 1986 National Champion Lacrosse Team, Lewis was recognized for her defensive play with Regional All-American honors.
While attending Maryland she received both her bachelor of science (zoology) and master of science (kinesiology/sport psychology) degrees from the College Park campus.