Cheri Rice Sullivan, Massachusetts – 2014
After a stellar career in goal for the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School Field Hockey Team, Cheri took her athletic skills to Plymouth State College in New Hampshire, where she was the goalie in both field hockey and lacrosse. Before graduating in 1994, Cheri was a volunteer field hockey coach at the Russell Elementary School while student teaching. Her team from B-R won the first 6v6 field hockey tournament in the Bay State Games in 1993.
Cheri’s coaching career in field hockey and lacrosse have taken her to Wheaton College, Bridgewater State College, New Bedford High School, and Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School. She founded the Boas Middle School Indoor Field Hockey Program in 1998 and the Raynham-Bridgewater Youth Field Hockey Club in 2011 and is presently involved with both of those programs as well as coaching the high school lacrosse team.
One of Cheri’s initiatives is to get her current players involved in coaching and mentoring her younger players. “I initially thought it would be good for my youth/younger players to have realistic and valuable role models. I quickly learned that the high school and college players were learning just as much (if not more) as the kids they were coaching.” Her players learned responsibility, commitment, people skills, management skills, and they learned a lot about themselves. Some of the most committed and skilled volunteer coaches were not the leading scorers or players on their teams, but through coaching found their strengths.
Cheri was most proud when a former player saw one of the young girls she coached five years earlier get an award as a high school athlete. Coach Sullivan is pleased and proud that “the tradition of paying it forward continues.”