MONTCLAIR, N.J. - Gloversville High School graduate Beth Gottung saw her father coaching youth sports when she was a child and really enjoyed the process.
Today, she coaches the Montclair State Red Hawks field hockey team.
On Sunday, the top-seeded Red Hawks fell just short of advancing to the Division III NCAA Tournament Final Four.
Montclair State field hockey coach Beth Gottung, a Gloversville graduate, talks to her team during a game earlier this season. (Photo submitted)
"I think [coaching] is something I've always wanted to do," said Gottung. "I thought it would be probably more along the lines of being a high school teacher and coaching."
Gottung started playing field hockey in middle school.
After participating in a clinic in fifth grade, Gottung knew the sport was for her.
"I loved it from the minute I started and I had great coaches and friends growing up," Gottung said. "It just made it so much fun for me."
Gottung took the standard path in high school athletics; she played junior varsity hockey in ninth and 10th grades before moving up to the varsity team her junior year.
After a successful high school career, Gottung attended American International College in Springfield, Mass. on a field hockey scholarship. Gottung earned a degree in education, but quickly realized her desire to coach was far stronger than her desire to teach.
While coaching at field hockey camps one summer, Gottung met the head field hockey coach from Trinity College in Connecticut.
"She had an opening and she was someone that I really admired at camp and I was lucky enough to get hired there to be a graduate assistant for the field hockey and lacrosse programs," Gottung said. "I worked at Trinity for two years in the office every day."
Gottung earned a master's degree at Trinity before landing her current position as director of athletic advancement and head field hockey coach at Montclair State University in New Jersey.
Fast forward 12 years and the Red Hawks have just completed one of their most successful seasons in school history.
They posted a 20-1 record and their second straight New Jersey Athletic Conference championship using a mixture of senior leadership and a talented younger class.
The team has been on a mission since losing in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2011. That team went 19-3 in the regular season with a roster loaded with young players.
"We had a lot of young talent and they saw the difference between being good and great," said Gottung.
Last season, the Red Hawks went 22-2 and finished as national runner-up. Looking to make that final leap, this season they earned the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
After defeating Mount Holyoke in the second round of the tournament Saturday by a score of 1-0, Gottung and Montclair State fell 1-0 to Bowdoin in the Elite Eight on?Sunday.
Despite three straight successful seasons with heartbreaking endings, Gottung is satisfied right where she is and has no plans to leave Northern New Jersey.
"I'm not looking to go Division I," said Gottung. "I really love DIII and I love the sort of purity that they're playing for the love of the game not money, not anything else."
The challenges of a Division III coach are more than enough to keep her busy. Gottung loves being around the athletes and says adjusting to individuals and situations is an everyday part of her job.
"I have great mentors that I can call on when I need things," said Gottung. "I'd like to continue my coaching career at Montclair and see what happens."
Montclair State should be ecstatic to hear that. Under Gottung, the Red Hawks field hockey team is 186-56, making her the most successful field hockey coach in program history.