For the first time more than a decade, a new face will headline the Chambersburg field hockey team, as longtime coach Jen Amsley announced her retirement on Nov. 1.
Trojan girls lacrosse coach Katie Feairheller also announced her resignation to focus on her new teaching position, according to Chambersburg athletic director Jeremy Flores.
"You just kind of know," Amsley said. "I've been thinking about it the last year or two, but I wanted to give it one more year. This year was a good year for us. I thought we would have a good year, and overall it was a great season. I wanted to end on a positive note and I think we did that. It's just time for me to pursue other things."
And this season was a positive note.
The Chambersburg field hockey team had its best season since 2008, finishing at 9-7-1, and nearly made it to the district playoffs for the first time in eight years.
"I've really enjoyed my last 11 years with Chambersburg," Amsley said, "but I think it's time to get some new blood in there. I still want to stay involved, and ultimately, I would like to start a youth team to help build the field hockey program."
The last time Chambersburg found such success was when three coaches on Amsley's staff - Chelsea Amsley, Rachel Sanders and Tori Ricker - were seniors on the team, which models the "Chambersburg field hockey family."
"Chambersburg field hockey is a family team," Amsley said. "Anyone who has ever played is a part of it, and it's like the whole family comes back together (during alumni games). They come up through the program and I hope they are able to carry on some of those traditions we have going."
Amsley organizes a Chambersburg field hockey alumni game every year around the holidays, so students on break and alumni who have dispersed around the state can come back and play together. She hopes this year's alumni game will be her final farewell.
"Obviously when you have a coach that has been here for 10-11 seasons, you build up some continuity," Flores said. "It is disappointing to see her retire, but we understand it and wish her the best in the next chapter of her life. Moving forward we want to build upon the success of this past season, and we are looking for someone who is student-athlete centered and understands the larger mission that we are all Trojans and we are all in this together."
In Amsley's 11 seasons with Chambersburg, she complied a record of 85-93-5, and in her first year as head coach in 2006, she turned the team around from 5-13 to 13-6 and a trip deep into the district playoffs.
"It's always been my hope that one of my former players would take the reigns, so I am hoping that will still happen," Amsley said. "I would love for the next coach to continue the tradition of helping players get to the next level of playing field hockey in college, and continue to build on the stepping stones I have started to help the program be competitive in the Mid Penn Commonwealth Division."
While replacing Amsley will be a large burden for the Chambersburg athletic department, CASD is up against the clock in terms of finding a new girls lacrosse coach to replace Feairheller, because the spring season is just around the corner.
"Being a head varsity coach is a large commitment and on top of a full-time job it's even harder," Flores said. "Feairheller recently switched from being a special education teacher to a kindergarten teacher in the district and she wanted to focus on her teaching."
The Chambersburg girls lacrosse program started in 2013, and Feairheller took over after its initial year. Since, she has compiled a 10-40 record, with 2015 being the most successful season with the team completing the season 5-12.
"As we move forward we are looking to improve in every aspect," Flores said. "It's still a young program and it's still growing. The YMCA has done a great job with the youth program to help build lacrosse in the area, and we would like the next coach to focus on understanding the process.
"We want to get a coach hired as quickly as possible. It's a very short turnaround, so that is going to be the priority. Once girls lacrosse is settled we can focus on field hockey from there. Luckily lacrosse and field hockey share a lot of the same athletes, so we will probably be looking at both of those positions to understand the big picture and build programs from there."