2023 USA Field Hockey National Coach Award Winner: Tiffany Cappellano
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Following the announcement of all winners, USA Field Hockey is individually highlighting each recipient of USA Field Hockey's 2023 Annual Awards. This week, USA Field Hockey is honored to feature the 2023 National Coach Award winner, Tiffany (Leister) Cappellano.
Cappellano picked up the sport in fifth grade, after being the only girl on her youth soccer team. She played for Oley Valley High School from 1995 to 1998, where she was a two-time Regional All-American, National All-American and part of the program that won the 1997 State title. She went on the play collegiately at the University of Iowa where she was a standout athlete from 1999 to 2002. In her first year, she was named 1999 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, after assisting the team to capture the Big Ten title and make a Final Four appearance. As a Hawkeye, she was a three-time Regional All-American, two-time National All-American, two-time All-Big Ten and in 2002 was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
Throughout high school and college, she played on all levels of the Junior U.S. Women’s National Teams. She was part of the U-21 squad that finished second at the 2000 Junior Pan American Games in Bridgetown, Barbados and qualified and played at the 2001 Junior World Cup in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
After college, Cappellano moved to Omaha, Neb., her husband’s hometown, where she started teaching second grade. She stayed there for two years, before moving back east to her hometown of Oley, Pa. in 2006. That same year, she became the assistant varsity coach at Daniel Boone High School. A year later, alongside her sister, she was the co-head coach at Twin Valley Middle School. Cappellano started coaching at X-Caliber Field Hockey club in 2006, leading countless teams to National Indoor Tournament and National Hockey Festival pool medals, and National Club Championship appearances.
In 2009, Cappellano took over as the head coach at her alma mater Oley Valley High School. With an accumulated overall record of 319-54-6, she has led the Lynx to 12 straight division championships, six Berks County titles, five District III championships, three PIAA 1A State Runner ups and a PIAA 1A State title. In 2023, the program had a historic year, claiming the division, county, district and state titles while currently holding a 104 league game unbeaten streak. She did this, all while battling cancer. On March 6, 2023, she was diagnosed with Grade 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma that had metastasized to the lymph nodes. She completed six rounds of chemotherapy and in September had a bi-lateral mastectomy. She missed a week of the season but couldn’t stay away and watched one game from the press box. She completed sessions of radiation in January and continues to do bio-therapy treatments every 3 weeks.
On top of coaching club and high school, Cappellano is active in growing the game in her community, especially at the Oley Valley Youth League. She volunteers time during their annual OVYL Field Hockey Tournament and Oley Valley Youth Field Hockey Camp, and continues to inspire the youth.
When she can, she continues to play for the U.S. Masters Teams. She was part of the O-35 women’s squad that competed at the 2018 EXIN Masters World Cup in Terresa, Spain.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to receive the National Coach of the Year Award,” commented Cappellano. “I am honored to have been nominated alongside so many deserving coaches. I am also blessed to work with other like-minded women who love the game as much as I do. Thank you, USA Field Hockey, for this acknowledgement, I am truly humbled.”
Cappellano married Jon, a baseball Hawkeye, in 2005 and they have two sons. Gryffin (16), named after the field hockey brand, and Grant (10), named after the legendary Dr. Christine Grant and Grant Field. Her youngest plays indoor for X-Calibur.
Congratulations once again to Tiffany Cappellano for winning the 2023 USA Field Hockey National Coach Award.