In six seasons as Northwestern head coach, Tracey Fuchs has turned around the program and made it a national power once again. Under Fuchs' direction, the Wildcats have posted winning seasons in six consecutive seasons after finishing at or below .500 in the 13 years prior to her arrival.
Fuchs is a truly legendary figure in the sport of field hockey having won NCAA championships both as a player and coach and serving as a leader on the United States National Team for nearly two decades. Fuchs was on staff as an assistant coach for a Team USA squad that captured its first-ever Pan American Games gold medal and earned an automatic bid to the 2012 Olympics in London. During the summer of 2013, she was an assistant coach for Team USA at the Junior World Cup in Germany.
In April 2014, Fuchs received the ultimate honor in the sport as she was elected to the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame.
At Northwestern, Fuchs has quickly turned the Wildcats into a consistent winner and regular contender for a Big Ten championship.
The 2014 season saw the 'Cats earn a Big Ten title for the second straight year as they posted wins over three teams ranked in the top 15 to win their first conference tournament title in school history. After defeating No. 15 Iowa, NU took down host and 12th-ranked Michigan before topping No. 2 Maryland 3-1 in the title game. The victory was the second of the season for Northwestern over the second-ranked Terrapins.
The tournament title earned the Wildcats an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, the program's first tournament berth in 20 years. The team finished the campaign with a 16-7 overall mark and was ranked in the top 10 nationally for the third straight year. Junior back Lisa McCarthy was recognized as an NFHCA second-team All-American and was one of four Northwestern players to earn all-region accolades.
Fuchs guided NU to a share of its first Big Ten championship since 1994 during the 2013 season. The Wildcats posted a 15-5 overall record, including a 6-1 mark in conference play. For her effort, Fuchs was recognized as the Big Ten Coach of the Year. Northwestern had a pair of NFHCA All-Americans for the second straight season as Nikki Parsley was named to the second team while Tara Puffenberger was a third-team selection.
Under Fuchs' tutelage, Chelsea Armstrong established herself as one of the top players in Big Ten history. In 2012, the Perth, Australia, native became just the ninth player in NCAA Division I history to tally 100 career goals. Her 29 goals in 2012 led the nation during the regular season. A four-time first-team All-Big Ten and All-West Region selection, she was the 2010 and 2011 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year as well as the 2012 West Region Player of the Year. Armstrong was honored as a first-team All-American as a junior and a senior and a second-team pick as a sophomore.
NU posted its highest win total in 23 years during the 2012 season as it notched a 16-4 record, including recording 15 wins over a 16-game span. The squad posted seven victories over teams ranked in the top 20 in the nation en route to reaching No. 8 in the NFHCA rankings. In addition to Armstrong's accolades, Puffenberger and Parsley were also first-team All-Big Ten selections with Puffenberger being named a third-team All-American. Lisa McCarthy was recognized as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year as well as a second-team all-conference pick, pacing the league with 18 assists.
In 2011, the Wildcats proved their ability to run with any team in the country, posting four wins over teams ranked in the top 20 nationally: No. 7 New Hampshire, No. 8 American, No. 11 Cal and No. 18 Virginia.
Fuchs' 2010 season with NU saw the Wildcats in the mix for the Big Ten championship when they entered the final weekend of the conference season with a 3-1 record. Northwestern began its league slate with a thrilling 3-2 victory on the road against sixth-ranked and eventual NCAA semifinalist Ohio State, the highest ranked team NU has beaten since 1997. NU's trio of Big Ten victories in 2010 was its highest total since the league instituted the six-game conference schedule in 2000.
The 2009 edition of the 'Cats posted the highest win total (12) of any NU squad since 1995 and scored 67 goals on the year, 23 more than the season before Fuchs' arrival and just two shy of the Northwestern school record set in 1982.
Fuchs' in-game coaching ability also was prominently on display in NU's five overtime games during her inaugural season with the 'Cats as they became the first team in school history to win four overtime contests in one season. The first-year head coach also guided the Wildcats to a tight 3-2 victory at Penn State, the first Northwestern win over the Nittany Lions since 1997. On the individual side, three 'Cats earned All-Big Ten recognition in 2009, the first time that has happened for NU since 2000.
Fuchs took over as the seventh head coach in the history of the Northwestern field hockey program on Jan. 15, 2009, arriving at Northwestern following two championship-laden coaching stints as the associate head coach at Michigan that spanned 12 seasons (1996-2003, 2005-'08).
When Fuchs assumed her duties as an assistant at Michigan in 1996, the Wolverines had never in their history reached the NCAA tournament. That quickly changed, however, when in 1999 Michigan qualified for the tournament for the first time and advanced all the way to the championship game. Two years later, Fuchs and Michigan completed their rise to the top, winning the 2001 NCAA title. In total at U of M, Fuchs was part of six NCAA-qualifying teams as well as three Big Ten Tournament-winning squads (1999, 2000, 2005).
Fuchs also has established herself as a permanent fixture on the United States national program circuit, serving as the head coach of the U.S. Junior National team from 2005-09. In that role, Fuchs guided the 2008 team to a historic victory at the Pan American Junior Championships in Mexico City, posting a 2-1 overtime win in the finals against Argentina, which had won all five tournaments dating to 1988.
In the last three years, USA Field Hockey also has tabbed Fuchs as an assistant on the Senior National team during its seven-match tour to England and Spain and as an assistant coach on the U-17 squad. She also was an assistant on the U-17 team that won the bronze medal at the 2010 Youth Pan American Cup in Uruguay.
Fuchs was named USA Field Hockey's National Coach of the Year in 2005 after leading her squad to a seventh-place finish at the Junior World Cup, the best showing ever by an American team at the event.
Fuchs is one of only a handful of American coaches to attain their Level III accreditation, the highest standard of coaching licensing.
Arguably the greatest player in the history of USA field hockey, Fuchs is a two-time USA Field Hockey Athlete of the Year (1990, '93), a member of two Olympic and four World Cup teams. She has participated in more international matches (268) than any other player in U.S. field hockey history. Fuchs gained extensive leadership experience as a 17-year member of the national team, serving as team captain for 14 seasons. She racked up 69 international goals and in 1994 was named to the President's XI, a world all-star team chosen to play the Australian Hockeyroos in honor of the International Hockey Federation's 75th Anniversary.
Fuchs began her coaching career as an assistant at Connecticut, where as a collegiate player she was a three-time All-American and twice named a finalist for the Honda Broderick Award, winning the honor as the nation's top field hockey player in 1987. She also earned all-tournament recognition after helping the Huskies win the 1985 NCAA championship and graduated with seven UConn scoring records to her name.
A native of Centereach (N.Y.) High School, Fuchs earned a bachelor's degree in sports management and marketing from Connecticut in 1988 and also has a master's degree in sport leadership from Northeastern University.