UNC field hockey names Erin Matson its new head coach

The University of North Carolina field hockey program updated its contact list on Tuesday.

And, at the top of the list, is new head coach Erin Matson.

“A Tar Heel legend on the field hockey turf will follow a Tar Heel legend on the sidelines,” according to Matson’s bio.

Matson, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, was named as new head coach after a nationwide search.

“Erin is an outstanding leader who has a deep and thorough knowledge of the game, understands the balance it takes to be a successful student and athlete, and is determined to expand and propel the winning tradition of Carolina Field Hockey,” Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. “She knows how to inspire, listen, teach and win – all qualities that will translate well to the sidelines and make her a terrific head coach. We all look forward to supporting her as she transitions and leads in this this new role.”

Matson assumes her role immediately, according to the university. She is the fifth head coach in the program’s history. Karen Shelton became head coach at the age of 23 in 1981. Shelton, who leaves behind a legacy including 10 NCAA Championships and 25 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, both more than any other school, publicly announced her retirement on Dec. 7, 2022.

This is Matson’s bio

“During her time as a Tar Heel, Matson played on four NCAA Championship teams and five ACC Championship teams. She was a three-time recipient of the Honda Sport Award for Field Hockey, becoming just the second player ever – after Shelton – to win that honor three times. She finished her career as the all-time scoring leader in both ACC history and NCAA Tournament play. In 2021, she was named by the ACC Network as one of the top 10 female athletes in conference history. A five-time ACC Offensive Player of the Year and the only student-athlete in any sport to earn ACC Player of the Year recognition five times, Matson started for three of the five undefeated teams in program history.  

“To say I’m excited and honored to be the head coach of the UNC field hockey program is an understatement – this is a dream come true,” Matson said. “This program means the world to me, and I will do whatever it takes to continue the excellence that is UNC Field Hockey. I want to thank Bubba Cunningham, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and the members of the Board of Trustee for this opportunity and for believing in me. I intend to honor the University of North Carolina, Coach Shelton, and the program’s history while working to find ways to achieve new heights, side-by-side with our Carolina community.”

A member of the U.S. National Team since the age of 17,  Matson has extensive international playing experience in addition to her collegiate experience. She was the top scorer at the 2022 Pan American Cup in Chile and has represented the U.S. all over the world, in countries including India, England, South Africa and New Zealand.

While balancing collegiate play, international play and studies, she also became an entrepreneur, founding a brand, “One,” that sells gear bearing her logo. The company also organized and executed summer clinics, maximizing NIL (Name, Image, Likeness opportunities) as allowed by the NCAA.

A three-time team captain while at UNC, Matson majored in Advertising and Public Relations and minored in Coaching Education, graduating in December 2022.”

*Photo: Jana Benscoter (Karen Shelton Stadium 2009, UNC vs Duke)

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