The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

Matson Makes History

Scores NCAA Championship Title as the Youngest to Ever Do So
Matson Makes History
Instagram/@erin_matson

University of North Carolina’s (UNC) Erin Matson made history by becoming the youngest collegiate head coach to win an NCAA championship, proving that the title “head coach” does not come with an age requirement. 

At 18 years old, Matson won her first of four NCAA championship titles as a midfielder for UNC’s field hockey team. At 21, she was recognized as ACC Player of the Year for the fifth time. At 22, she became the youngest Division I coach in NCAA history when she was named head coach of the school where she won four national titles. 

“She’s got it all,” coach Karen Shelton, Matson’s predecessor, said after the championship win. “She’s really smart, articulate, mature and charismatic. She’s smart. She knows the game inside and out. She’s relatable. I knew it as the coach – you can tell when you have somebody that’s special.”

In the final game of Matson’s first coaching season, No. 1 Tar Heels and No. 2 Wildcats ended their second overtime tied 1-1, requiring a shootout to determine the game’s final outcome. Northwestern took an initial lead, scoring two out of three goals while UNC scored one out of three. By Northwestern’s sixth shot, the teams were tied with two points each, leaving sophomore Ryleigh Heck to break the tie with UNC’s third goal in a sudden death round. 

“I don’t know how to put it into words,” Matson said to UNC press. “I don’t know what more you’d want in a national championship matchup than tied at the end of regulation, two overtimes, sudden death shootout, just a phenomenal atmosphere.”

She is showing people all over the world that she’s doing something impossible.

— Ryleigh Heck

Matson’s success as a coach is not only significant to the UNC field hockey program, but to women everywhere looking to enter the coaching arena. According to NCAA data, only 40% of women’s teams across all NCAA levels have a female head coach, a significant decrease compared to the numbers in the NCAA’s Title IX 50th Anniversary Report in 1972, which cited that over 90% of female teams were coached by women.

“I think that she is showing people all over the world that she’s doing something impossible,” Heck said. “And it’s proven because we just won a national championship, and I give her full credit.”

Looking at her record-breaking season, it’s safe to say that Erin Matson proves age and gender are no hindrance to coaching excellence.

About the Contributor
Jillian Wallner, Section Editor
Jillian Wallner is a senior, a returning writer at the "Bulldog Tribune", and involved in multiple groups at Stone Bridge, including PEER and the cross country team. When she’s not hanging out with middle schoolers as a youth group leader she’s probably at the bookstore “just browsing”.