BIDDEFORD — A former University of Vermont standout will be at the helm this fall when the University of New England field hockey team begins its 2013 season.

Danielle Collins was announced as UNE’s next field hockey coach by Director of Athletics Kim Allen on Monday afternoon, ending a national search to replace outgoing coach Dani Ryder, who resigned in May after two years in Biddeford to accept the head coaching position at Bates College.

“I am excited to be named the new head coach at the University of New England and honored to be a part of the team,” Collins said in a prepared statement Monday. “I look forward to building upon the success of this program and furthering our reputation within the Commonwealth Coast Conference and the nation.”

Collins was one of three finalists for the position and set herself apart during the interview process, said Associate Director of Athletics Curt Smyth, who headed up the search committee.

“During the interview process, she displayed an organization and poise and ability to relate to different groups,” Smyth said. “I view her as having a lot of qualities that we look for in a head coach.”

UNE will be the first head-coaching position for Collins, who comes to the Nor’easters after serving three years as the top assistant under Jill Reeve at Brown University.

At Brown, Collins was the recruiting coordinator as well as assisting with practice planning and execution. Prior that, she had served as an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts Lowell for one season, helping the River Hawks advance to the NCAA Division II National Championship title game in 2008.

“Anytime that you hire somebody who’s yet to be a head coach, there’s obviously a transition to be made,” Smyth said. “But we’ve had many coaches who have been able to make that transition, and we’re confident that she’ll be able to make the transition from assistant coach to head coach in a seamless fashion.”

While just getting started in her coaching career, Collins was as decorated as they come during her collegiate career.

She ended her four years at Vermont in 2007 with program records in career points (121), career goals (48), single-season points (45), single-season goals (18) and was tied for the school record for career assists (25).

A three-time First Team America East All-Conference selection for the Catamounts, Collins was also named a Third Team All-American in 2007, a year when she was also an America East Field Hockey All-Academic Team selection.

“It’s important that we attract head coaches that support what our academic mission is and the priority that we place on academics,” Smyth said. “Certainly the fact that she was at an institution such as Brown was important to us.”

Collins takes over for Ryder, who compiled a 29-14 record in her two seasons in charge, including a phenomenal 18-4 mark in 2011, when the Nor’easters fell to Endicott in overtime of the CCC championship game.

Last fall, UNE finished 11-0, including a 7-3 record in CCC, and qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference New England Championship.

The Nor’easters begin their 2013 schedule Sept. 1 when they travel to Bangor to take on Husson, and will open their home slate on Sept. 14 with a game against Castleton State.

— Staff Writer Cameron Dunbar can be contacted at 282-1535, Ext. 323.



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