New Greely field hockey coach Burgess LePage played for the Rangers early this century. Contributed photo

It turns out that you can go home again.

And that’s a very good thing for Burgess LePage and the Greely field hockey program.

LePage, Greely Class of 2003, and a captain and integral member of back-to-back regional championship teams during her high school days, when she was known as Gessy LePage, has been named the Rangers’ new head coach, replacing Chelsea Morley.

“It feels great to be back,” said LePage, 35, who has spent the past decade teaching and coaching in Colorado. “The Greely community is so wonderful in terms of support.”

David Shapiro, Greely’s athletic director, said that while the hiring process was unorthodox, LePage was the best candidate for the job.

“This is a historic hire,” Shapiro said. “It’s my first and hopefully last hire by ‘Zoom.’ (Coach LePage) is very impressive. She gets the big picture.”

As a player at Greely, Gessy LePage was known for her tenacity and leadership. She helped the Rangers win Western B titles in 2001 and 2002. Courtesy Robyn Thayer Cash

LePage was part of a Greely athletic golden age at the start of the century, when the Rangers were seemingly contending for state titles in every sport. LePage turned heads in indoor and outdoor track and in the fall, she was part of a resurgent field hockey team that won games and had a lot of fun in the process, but worked hard as well under the watchful eye of Coach Robyn Thayer.

LePage said that her high school coach left a big impression on her.

“Robyn was so integral in what happened to the program,” said LePage. “She set high standards and she allowed the older players to set the tone and take responsibility.

“She came in (my sophomore year) with tough expectations. We had a three mile timed run in the preseason. She let us know that every moment mattered. You show up and you need to be ready. She’s a great role model. She empowered student-athletes and I want to continue that.”

Greely upset perennial powerhouse York in overtime in the regional final in 2001, then lost on penalty corners to Winslow in the Class B state final in LePage’s junior season.

In LePage’s senior year, Greely returned to the state game, again beating York in overtime to get there, but again, the big stage brought disappointment, as the Rangers lost by a 1-0 score.

“I had a lot of success at Greely in field hockey and track and I learned as much from the losses as the wins,” LePage said.

LePage then walked on and played field hockey at Bowdoin College, riding a similar career arc which saw her serve as a captain for Coach Nicky Pearson as a junior and senior and play on teams which got to championship games her final two seasons, only to fall short.

“Coach Pearson was another huge influence on my life and my coaching,” LePage said.

Both Greely in 2003 and Bowdoin in 2007 finally got over the hump and won championships the year after LePage departed.

After college, LePage moved to Colorado and has taught and coached middle school soccer in a small school environment.

She learned of the Greely opening from her old coach and Shapiro felt she was the best candidate for the job.

“(Coach LePage will) help make girls better field hockey players and she’ll also help them grow as individuals,” said Shapiro. “She really understands Greely. The expectations and support. She’s happy to come back.”

Gessy LePage, right, with fellow captain Amanda Chase, receives the Class B state runner-up trophy in 2002. LePage, now the Rangers’ coach, hopes to lead the program back to a championship level. Courtesy Robyn Thayer Cash

LePage’s one-time coach and mentor, who now goes by Robyn Thayer Cash, is thrilled her protégé is taking over the Greely program.

“As a student athlete, Gessy was an integral part of the growth and success of the Greely field hockey program in the early 2000s and  to have her now at the helm of that same program is such a win for the school, the players and the overall community,” Cash said. “As the new head coach, Gessy brings home collegiate level field hockey experience, under a fabulous coach in Nicky Pearson, years of teaching experience, refined communication skills and a love for Greely field hockey. Gessy has also always understood that for a coach to be successful, she must learn who each student-athlete is beyond just on the field. With this knowledge and experience, I have no doubt she will lead the program to its former heights.”

LePage has been limited in her interactions with her new team and with the coronavirus remaining a present and future concern, the 2020 season isn’t guaranteed to start on time, if at all, but she’s eager to get started as soon as she gets the green light.

“I’ve met the kids on Zoom and they were very positive,” LePage said. “They know what they want.

“They’re fired up and so am I.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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