After being hired as the University of Richmond’s next head field hockey coach, Martu Loncarica reflected on the opportunity of working with a new program, coaching another team in the Atlantic 10 conference and how she envisions turning the Spiders into contenders.
COLLEGIAN: You were announced as the next head coach for the UR field hockey team Dec. 12. What are your preliminary thoughts on accepting this role and joining Richmond Athletics this upcoming season?
MARTU LONCARICA: I feel incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work in such a prestigious university. The school is beautiful, the faculty is excellent, the students want nothing but to be better and better every day and it’s an incredible opportunity, so I’m just thrilled and looking forward to this next chapter.
C: And you mentioned things about the school that are strong, but was there one thing that drew you to UR and sort of the program?
ML: They have a history of success in the A-10 and they are at the top of the A-10 when it comes to resources, and it’s a school that is the perfect fit for me and my family because they’re very supportive. And I’ll feel like I’ll be able to implement my vision and help the program just get back to where it was in 2002, which is when they won a lot of games, from 2002 to 2006. So, yeah, it’s a great opportunity and it wasn’t one thing that drew me to Richmond, it was the perfect combination of academics, athletics, a family-oriented university. One of the prettiest campuses I’ve been on and everyone seems incredibly friendly. And the overall culture is, I get the sense that they want to be great at everything that they do. So it’s exciting for me.
C: And in taking on this role, you join another program in the A-10, which is a conference you are quite familiar with. You’ve coached at both Saint Joseph’s University and most recently La Salle University. What will it be like coaching for another A-10 team after lacing up against the Spiders for several years now?
ML: I think it’s great to have a sense of familiarity already with the A-10. I’ve been in the A-10 for a really long time, so I know every team well. I know their style. I know how they operate. So, I mean, I wouldn’t say it’s an advantage, but it’s definitely nice to know how it operates because I wouldn’t go into the tournament blindly. I would know exactly where we need to be in order to perform and to continue to make the tournament.
C: Just last month, you were named the 2023 A-10 Coach of the Year, you have led a team to an A-10 Championship and you were even on the staff at Syracuse University when the program fell just one game short of winning an NCAA Championship. You have seen what goes into a successful program, so with that being said, how do you plan to work with the players at UR to turn this program into a contender?
ML: I’m a firm believer in doing things a little bit better each time. First of all, I’m just gonna go into the team, assessing how the current players are and making sure that we both meet halfway. And it’s not gonna be a full-on transformation on day one. We’re gonna work hard every day and the goal will be to be one percent better every day until we work on ourselves and we get better and better until we reach our goals.
C: And finally, what are you looking forward to most come spring practices and the fall season in 2024?
ML: Everything. I look forward to meeting the players and learning about them, establishing relationships with them. Also, getting to know the people around on campus and just being there. Being there and making the most of it. But mostly, yeah, establishing relationships with everybody in the community of University of Richmond.
Contact sports editor Jimmy James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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