Less than a month ago, Gettysburg High School athletic director Carlos Wampler was facing a complex situation. There was one month until fall sports started, and he did not have a girls' soccer coach.
"We had advertised the position," Wampler said, "but we did not get too many applications."
The vacancy occurred because the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association voted to move the District 3 girls' soccer season from the spring to the fall, starting this year.
This move was made to create a state-wide state tournament because, prior to this vote, some districts played girls' soccer in the fall and some played in the spring.
"I would have like to have seen it stay in the spring," Wampler said, "but I can see why the PIAA changed it. The girls who were playing in the spring were not getting as many college looks, so they wanted to even the playing field."
That ruling put Gettysburg between a rock and a hard place because former head coach Scott Hancock had been coaching the boys' team in the fall and the girls' team in the spring. He was forced to choose one or the other.
After many conversations with Wampler, Hancock decided to continue coaching the boys' team.
"I was a little surprised he stayed with the boys," Wampler said. "He will do a great job with them this year as usual."
That decision left a void that needed to be filled immediately.
Enter Elise Tebbetts.
Tebbetts is from Waterville, Maine, and played NCAA Division I soccer for the Maine Black Bears.
"In July, I received an email from Elise saying that she was moving into the area and was looking to get back into coaching and wanted to know if we needed any assistants," Wampler recalls. "She had no idea we were looking for a head coach. She emailed me her resume, we conducted a phone interview and the rest is history. She had more experience than any of the other candidates, both playing and her experience coaching camps."
Tebbetts was relocating from New Hampshire, where she spent six years working full-time for Proex Physical Therapy. The move to the Gettysburg area was made simple after the National Park Service in Gettysburg hired her soon-to-be fiance'.
"I wanted to try something new and wanted to get back into coaching and kind of saw my opportunity to find a job down here and be with him," Tebbetts said. "Kind of kill two birds with one stone."
Now that Tebbetts is settled in Gettysburg and has the coaching job she desired, she is wasting no time in getting plugged into the community.
"Gettysburg was my first choice of schools to coach," Tebbetts said. "What better way to get to know the community than coach the local high school team."
For some first-year coaches, trying to replace a coach who had the success that Hancock had is a daunting task, but Tebbetts is embracing the challenge.
"Coach Hancock was extremely successful coaching the girls' team and has been a great resource for me so far," Tebbetts said. " I emailed him before I got here and he was giving me advice on players, on some of his practices, and just giving me advice on who is good, who might be coming out for the team this year, that kind of stuff."
The 2012 season is one both the players and coaching staff are anticipating.
"The girls are excited," Tebbetts said. "I am excited. We are ready to start the season. We had 23, 24 girls come out for the team this year so, unfortunately, it does not look like we will be having a junior varsity team."
Low turnouts for girls' soccer was something that was anticipated all throughout the Hanover area as girls who last year may have played volleyball, field hockey, cross country or tennis in the fall now had to decide between those sports and soccer.
"We lost a few girls to volleyball and field hockey," Tebbetts said. "A few of them were really good players, but they made their decisions. They are very good athletes and I wish them the best of luck. I mean, they are still Gettysburg athletes, so I want them to do well. Maybe we will get them next year."
Being a former Division I player, Tebbetts hopes she can instill the same mindset in this year's team that she had as a small-town kid in Maine.
"Hopefully, it is inspiring to have someone who knows what it takes to get there (Division I)," Tebbetts said. "I was a small-town kid from Maine, I played for my state school, I had a goal in mind and I went for it. I am telling these kids the same thing. Nothing is impossible. If you want it. You gotta go for it."
Tebbetts went to the University of Maine as a defender, but her coach told her she was good at scoring and he wanted her to play midfield. Throughout her four years there, she also played forward, an experience she wants to teach her team.
"I want them to be well-rounded players," Tebbetts said. "You never know when you will be needed in another position."
Gettysburg is hoping to build on the success it experienced last season when it set a school record for wins (14) and qualified for the district tournament for the first time in school history. Fortunately for Coach Tebbetts, she has some well-rounded players returning.
One of those players will be junior forward Rachel Lyon. Tebbetts anticipates Lyon will play the striker position this year.
"I have only seen her play once," Tebbetts said. "I hear great things about her and I am hoping for great things from her."
Another player that the Warriors will rely heavily on will be Jordan Williams. She will likely play at back as Tebbetts commented on her strength as a defender and on her strength and power as her greatest assets.
"We are a pretty young team (three seniors)," Tebbetts said. "We probably have six freshmen. I have high hopes for them. I probably will be starting a few of them. The next couple of years, we should have a really good team."
And Gettysburg has a young head coach who is full of energy, excitement and passion.
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