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Kelly Terwilliger back in the fold for Ohio State field hockey team

Photo courtesy of the Ohio State Athletic Department

After gaining three years of coaching experience, Kelly Terwilliger has returned to Ohio State as an assistant field hockey coach.

She was eager to talk about what it means to come back to OSU, saying it was “coming back home.”

“I’m more than thrilled,” she said. “Having the opportunity to coach with Anne Wilkinson is a dream.”

Terwilliger was a member of the OSU field hockey team from 2004-07, where she started every game.

She was Academic All-Big Ten twice during her career and earned the team’s Most Valuable Defender award her final two years on the team.

Terwilliger, a native of East Stroudsburg, Pa., spent the last two years coaching as a graduate assistant and one as an assistant coach at Ohio University.

Along with coaching at OU, she was busy earning two master’s degrees in coaching education and sports administration.

“I had a great time and had some awesome learning experience,” she said.

It was not just the coaching aspect of OU that she enjoyed so much, but the ability to further her education, she said.

“Being on the field and in the classroom is an unbelievable opportunity for any coach,” she said.

OU field hockey coach, Neil Macmillan, whom Terwilliger coached under, had nothing but positive things to say about her.

“Her graduate studies really translated to coaching,” he said. “She was really excited to learn and bring things on to the field.”

Macmillan said the energy she brought to the sidelines was a boost for the team during games.

“Having a coach like that, players feed off of it,” he said.

Macmillan also said Terwilliger is very approachable.

“I think the players found someone in Kelly that they could talk to and really help them out in ways the assistant coach can and that I, as a head coach, cannot,” Macmillan said.

In her final season at OU, Terwilliger helped the Bobcats to a school best 9-1 record in Mid-American Conference play.

While he was supportive of Terwilliger’s decision, Macmillan expressed regret at seeing her return to OSU.

“I would just say that we’re sorry to see her go. We had a good working relationship,” he said. “I know the pull of her alma mater was strong and she’s excited to go back.”

Even early on in Terwilliger’s career, Wilkinson said she knew Terwilliger would end up in coaching.

“She loves to coach,” Wilkinson said. “It’s a natural fit.”

After all, coaching seems to be the Terwilliger family business.

Her father has been a football coach for more than 30 years at East Stroudsburg University and her brother coaches football at a high school near East Stroudsburg.

Terwilliger played defense while at OSU but said she knew if she wanted to coach she would have to increase her knowledge of the game.

She said that after she finished her playing career, she made an effort to familiarize herself with all areas of the game.

The open position at OSU could not have come at a better time for Terwilliger, as she had just completed her degrees at OU, Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson said there’s no specific role that Terwilliger will fill on the coaching staff.

“We’re all excited she returned,” she said. “She’ll work closely with the defense and she’s a great recruiter. She’ll cover it all.”

Terwilliger said she is excited to bring to the team “the alumni aspect of winning a Big Ten championship.”

The OSU field hockey team finished the 2011 season with a 12-9 record and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Old Dominion.

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