Big Honors and Bright Future, Coach McCracken leaving a legacy


(Submitted Photo)

Shannon McCracken follows through after hitting a ball while playing collegiate hockey.

Being inducted into your alma mater’s Hall of Fame is the dream of many collegiate athletes, and for girls’ Field Hockey Coach Shannon McCracken, she was able to experience it first hand. Over the weekend, McCracken, along with nine other inductees, were honored in a ceremony by the President and Athletic Director of East Stroudsburg University. She was then honored during halftime of the field hockey game the following day and halftime of the football game that night.

“It really meant a lot to me.” said McCracken.

 A midfielder on the East Stroudsburg University Field Hockey team, with 12 goals and 19 assists, McCracken had an interesting start to her athletic career.

“I remember not being very good at first.” said McCracken.

After switching from soccer to field hockey in 7th grade, McCracken had a rough start to the game, but she thought of field hockey as a way to challenge and improve herself. Throughout middle school, she stuck with it, while also playing softball and dancing. Finally, while attending Methacton High School, McCracken really started to stand out. She recalled playing in various showcase tournaments and having copious amounts of college scouts speak to her about collegiate field hockey.

“I couldn’t imagine going to college and not doing an activity.” said McCracken.

After many different schools offered her spots on their teams, including Syracuse University, McCracken made the final decision to go where she believed she fit in best: East Stroudsburg University.

During her time at East Stroudsburg, McCracken realized her love for health, physical education, and sports, which led her to become a teacher. Out of college McCracken began teaching at Phoenixville Middle School, and the following year became a long term substitute at Pennfield Middle School, where she was given the opportunity to begin her coaching career.

“I always knew I wanted to be a coach,” said McCracken.

After her time at Pennfield, McCracken got her first head coaching job at Dock Academy, where she was able to build some experience. She then became a teacher at North Penn, and later was put into the head coaching position when the spot opened up on the field hockey team.

“The thing I love most about coaching is being able to help young people and help them to reach their goals.” said McCracken.

As a coach at North Penn, McCracken wants nothing more than for her players to succeed. Many of her players wish to consider playing at the next level, and Coach McCracken is always willing to help.

“I want to share that experience with them.” said McCracken.

For her, being a collegiate athlete was one of the best experiences of her life and she feels that if she can help her student athletes experience the same, then she has succeeded as a coach.

Since she has taken over as the Field Hockey Head Coach, McCracken has tried to put her own influence into the program- it just so happens to stem from her “East Stroudsburg Values”.

“I’ve tried to instill the tradition, discipline, pride, and community.” said McCracken.

Her time at East Stroudsburg University, where they have had the same coaches and faculty for decades, has brought the value of loyalty and tradition to her coaching. The emphasis on being a student first, is also something that McCracken enforces on her team.

With a senior heavy team this year, McCracken is feeling very confident in her team’s ability to play. For her, their biggest goal this year is to win a conference title, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1978.

“I really feel fortunate for this team. They play like sisters.” said McCracken.

The Knights look to leave a legacy for the field hockey program this season, a legacy that has been cultivating under Coach McCracken since she began coaching at North Penn.