Field hockey head coach Steve Jennings took a temporary hiatus from his AU coaching responsibilities for the U.S. national team this past month, helping lead the squad into competition against the best teams in the world at the 2006 World Cup in Madrid.
Coach Jennings was named as the team manager for the international tournament, the only collegiate coach named to the coaching staff. It is the second time that the U.S. national team has honored Jennings, who previously served as assistant coach during the team’s 2002 World Cup run in Perth, Australia.
As coach of the AU field hockey team for the past eight seasons, Jennings has made American one of the most successful programs in the country. The Eagles are currently 8-4 (1-0 PL) and ranked No. 15 in the nation through the first month of play.
Last season, the Eagles won their third consecutive PL championship with a 20-2 overall record, losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament to eventual national champion Maryland. AU finished ranked No. 6 in the country, their highest final ranking ever.
In a pre-tournament interview with AUeagles.com, Jennings stressed how important his selection to coach will be on his program at AU.
“I think it’s a great way for American University to show how far we have come as a unit and a program,” Jennings said. “I believe in the players and staff completely and know they are prepared to be successful and gain an added confidence in each other over the next two weeks.”
His coaching experience at the national team level is not the only time that Jennings has represented his country on the world stage. Jennings was also one of the best players in men’s national team history, playing in 91 international matches in a career lasting from 1991 to 1999. During this time, he was named the vice captain of the squad that played in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Jennings hopes that his knowledge from this newest challenge will help him lead the Eagles to an even higher level of success than before.
“The publicity generated from being at these types of events gives our program a higher profile and an added respectability amongst top recruits/programs in the country,” Jennings said.