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She went from player to coach at UNC for field hockey

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
The Truth Network Radio
November 6, 2023 3:29 pm

She went from player to coach at UNC for field hockey

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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November 6, 2023 3:29 pm

Erin Matson, UNC Field Hockey Head Coach, on the evolution of the sport and her excitement on where the sport is going.

She’s the best to ever do it in her sport thus far at UNC and now she’s coaching there. Did she ever think about continuing her time on the field and go pro overseas? How did the relationship have to change between her and her former teammates, now that she’s the boss? What is everyone calling her, Erin or coach? How has life changed for her socially, now that she’s a coach? When will everyone find out the brackets for this season?

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This is how old I feel right now. I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina and started talking on the radio in February of 1998, two years before Erin Matson was born. She is the field hockey coach at the University of North Carolina.

She's won everything that there is to win in this sport. I want to thank you first for winning a title, an ACC title, and for making me feel older than I have felt maybe in 10 years. How you doing?

I'm doing well, Adam. Thank you for having me. That was that was a good intro.

I haven't heard one like that before, so well done. Well, I mean, you've like the last the last, you know, a year ago you were playing. Did you think you were going to be a coach when you were playing? Was there any conversation at all?

Well, I guess I'm sure you've heard the story. I went to our athletic director in August and said, I want this job. I know our coach is going to be retiring soon, but that was not at the forefront of my mind. What was at the forefront of my mind was carrying home another trophy to Carolina with my teammates. So we were fortunate and able to do that. But no, I did not expect to be as lucky as I am now. But of course, I'm very grateful.

I mean, it's it's it's a great it's a great story. In some ways, do you do you are you mad that you didn't pick a sport with that where there was a pro future, you know, like soccer or something else? I mean, at some point we're going to have I think we're going to have like pro women's lacrosse. But I mean, you're as good as it gets in the history of this game at a place that has Mia Hamm and Michael Jordan and some other Tyler Hansberg.

Those are the people that they've compared you to. Yeah, I think, you know, field hockey is a new sport in terms of our country. You go overseas and it's a very international game, but it's very different.

And there are pro outlets and everything. So it's kind of it would be nice to, you know, have the hype around field hockey, like a basketball, like a lacrosse, stuff like that. But it's also exciting. And I'm grateful I'm in the position where we have the platform as UNC field hockey and I have the platform that I've built, you know, to be able to kind of jumpstart that for our sport.

So two sides to it. I get what you're saying completely and agree to some extent, but at the same time, you know, it's exciting to see how many more people are paying attention to field hockey, see how much support we've garnered for the sport and everything. So I guess a little bit of yes, but also exciting with what we're doing. Was there any temptation to maybe go overseas and try to and try to continue your playing career? It's the it's a hard thing to give up when you're as good as you are. I know.

Yes, there was for a little bit. There was always the conversation of continuing to play for the national team. But I just I don't know how to describe it. My heart, you know, tells me that this is where I'm supposed to be. Carolina deserves all of my energy. The staff and the team they do. So, you know, it's of course, I want to be out there and I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss having a stick in my hands and making stuff happen with my teammates. But it's also just crazy the amount of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from coaching and the beauty in that. So I thought a little bit about going overseas early on, but it just, you know, there was a more incredible story to be to be told. And by the way, Karen Shelton, who you replaced, was only in the job for 42 years. So I'm trying to think.

Yeah, you'll be you'll still be younger than me, maybe by the time you get on. Just kidding. But it's it's not that it's not that far off. We're talking with Erin Mattson, the head coach, UNC women's field hockey. How did the relationship have to change between you and your teammates now that you're bossing them around?

I think, yeah, exactly. Well, I try not to boss them around too much. They've also they've also been used to that. I was just in the middle of the white lines and now I'm on the outside of them. But I think that's the most underrated part of the story is how much this team and these student athletes have bought into it.

It would not be possible. I tell them all the time, you know, it doesn't this doesn't just happen anywhere to anybody. Just, you know, on accident, it is totally only possible because of their attitude, their support, their buy into it, their willingness to figure out new boundaries and totally respect me and staff and the uniqueness of the situation and everything, but also have a great time with it. And we have a great we have so much fun. We love what we do. We love being surrounded by each other. And I think they're the most underrated piece of this puzzle for just how amazing it's been seeing this group of student athletes just completely and utterly buy into the common goal, show up every day with great attitudes, want to work hard, understand that there's going to be times where they need to be held accountable and disciplined and everything. But luckily, they know how I roll. They know what my standards are. It's not like I'm introducing myself to them all over again.

So it's worked well and I'm just it wouldn't have happened with another group. Aaron Mattson is joining us here, UNC women's field hockey head coach and the greatest player in the history of the program, maybe the sport. So last year, I have no idea what your nickname might be, but I'll just say E. So when they were calling you E a year ago, do they have to call you coach? So that was actually the first question that came up. And I was introduced to the team officially as the head coach in February, February 1st. And I knew exactly who was going to ask the question. I knew it was going to be the first question.

I couldn't it couldn't have been drawn up any better. She raised her hand and it was so on point. She goes, So do we call you Aaron or coach? And the whole room just erupted into laughter.

It was just perfect. It really was just an ice breaker. And I told them like, No, you refer to me as Aaron. I'm Aaron to you guys, maybe in four years, five years, if it's like my true recruiting class, that'll change.

But I'm leaving that up to nature. I'm not here to make anyone feel a certain way, act a certain way. I'm here to guide and be a resource and motivate. So you know, to them, I am still Aaron. It's funny now hearing them a couple times coach will slip out and we laugh about it. And it's just, it's great to be able to be authentic. And obviously viewed as their coach, but we have that personal relationship that we've built off of. So sometimes like an ear and air will slip out.

And they'll laugh and sometimes coach slips out too. So it's it's it's all great. Well, how has life changed for you?

I got this is going to sound like I'm prying. I really don't mean it that way. But how has life changed for you socially? So you're you have a different level of responsibility now, as a coach?

I mean, I've been to Franklin Street, Franklin Street's a cool spot. So how is how has life changed? Yeah, I definitely think I don't, you know, do what every other 23 year old does on a typical week by week basis anymore. And that's just, again, the nature of it. But I I'm learning so much.

There's so much to learn and so many successful coaches and people in Carolina to lean on. So, you know, there's not even really time for me to get hung up on how my life has changed. I love diving into everything and learning about everything that's going on. Definitely busy, definitely chaotic, but who's not these days?

And I'd rather be busy and in chaos than be bored. So I it's great. And it's definitely, you know, there's there's been an element of figuring that out. And, you know, moving from a house where I lived with six college girls to now living alone and actually coaching the college girls that I lived with, you know, it's very different. But I think it's it's totally just the attitude of let's do it, let's roll with it, bring it on, let's see, you know, let's do something really special that's never been done before, hasn't been done in a while.

So while it's very different, it's very exciting and rewarding and I couldn't be happier. Aaron Mattson is joining us here. A couple more things and then we'll let you go. You've got you got to get ready for the NCAA tournament. We still don't know you're playing as far as I know. You just came off an ACC championship. You beat Duke to do it.

So what is the next step? When do we find out who you're playing? And I know you're going to host at least a couple of games at home.

So when do we find all this stuff out and when can we get to it already? Yeah, so the brackets on NCAA.com. It was announced last night at 10pm. We will play the winner of William and Mary Sacred Heart on Friday, this coming Friday. So the games are there. We're lucky. We have the number one seed. We're hosting the first round and then, you know, it's survive and advance at this point. We need to keep winning.

Every team does. And then the Final Four is also being hosted at Karen Shelton Stadium in Chapel Hill. So, you know, hopefully we earn another game in front of our home crowd and everything on our home turf. But it's a one game at a time mindset for us at this point.

And we'll, I'm currently sitting in the office with the staff. We just finished practice planning for the week. William and Mary and Sacred Heart will play Wednesday and we'll watch that game and scout it and then we'll know our opponent for Friday.

So a typical preparation, pretty typical week of practice and then a normal game day on Friday with high stakes and high pressures. But that's what we love. Did you treat champion, you know, tournament games as just another game or do you have to treat it differently?

Definitely. No, it's just another game to us. We, we really embrace and love the high stakes, high pressure. The, you know, I say it all the time, pressure is a privilege and you come to Carolina because you want to play in those big moments and big games. So we train that.

It's nothing new. So that when we are in those environments and situations and everything, it's nothing different. So to us, it's just go out there, play another game, play it well, play it together, take into account the other team's tendencies and strengths and where their opportunities lie. But for us, it is, it's just another game on our home pitch. And hopefully we can earn another one after that.

Erin Madsen, UNC women's field hockey coach at UNC. Hey, you made me nervous. I appreciate your time. Good luck.

Good luck in the tournament and hopefully you'll come back. Awesome. Thank you so much, Adam. I appreciate it.

You got it. That's Erin Madsen. I don't know. I was a little, I got a little nervous there for a second.

She threw in the, you know, not like a normal 23 year old, just to kind of drive home the point that I've been here for almost 26 years and she was born like two years after I got here. Well, we don't need to talk about that. That's fine. Wow. But think about that. Just think about the dynamic that changes. You're playing a year ago and now you're the coach. We're coming up on the one year anniversary of her being named the head coach. And we're not quite there yet. We're like three and a half months away, but still definitely a weird dynamic going from that to now coach. Unbelievable. Good luck to the Tar Heels in the tournament.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-06 17:22:31 / 2023-11-06 17:27:47 / 5

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