It’s finally Megan McCormick’s turn.
After years spent as an assistant, McCormick is getting her first chance as a head coach, becoming the third head coach in DePauw’s history.
“It’s an honor,” an excited McCormick repeated three times in an interview on Tuesday.
This is nothing more than a promotion for McCormick, as she spent the last two years as an assistant to her predecessor, John Carter. And that, McCormick says, will help make the transition smooth.
“Being familiar with the program is really helpful with how to spend time in the preseason and what needs to happen from day one to really get the team to the place that they should be,” McCormick said.
“I think this means that we’re doing a good job of grooming people from within,” athletic director Stevie Baker-Watson said.
Carter, who resigned in January to pursue his position in the Olympic Development Program, had become a fixture on the Boswell Field sideline. In his 24 years in charge of the Tigers, Carter accumulated over 250 wins, seven conference titles and four conference coach of the year awards.
His final year with the Tigers, however, didn’t get off to the greatest of starts. The women lost their first four games, including a 7-0 defeat at the hands of Washington University-St. Louis. The Tigers struggled to find offense, as they were shutout three times and scored only once during the losing streak.
“We had a really young team and started a lot of first year players,” McCormick said. “That was really evident in the first couple of games.”
Things turned around for the Tigers when Earlham College visited Greencastle in the middle of September. DePauw would win that game 3-2 and then followed that performance with wins over Marian University and Franklin College. The Ladies kept winning and when the calendar turned to October, DePauw had won six straight games.
The streak got the Tigers back into playoff contention, but the Tigers still couldn’t match up with the veteran-heavy teams at the top of the NCAC. That doomed the Tigers, as they fell in their lack of experience contributed to their early exit from the NCAC tournament.
“We had a really up and down season,” junior Stephanie Martin said. “ Our peaks were just at really different times and we never found our consistency.”
On a team with only one senior, that consistency proved difficult to find. Sophia Da Silveira was the team’s only senior and Coach Carter was forced to put five first-year players in the starting lineup on a regular basis.
Martin feels that that early experience for the younger players will only help the Tigers in 2014.
“They’ve already got that experience and the anxiety out of the way,” Martin said.
The team is already back in action, playing a two game exhibition series against Hanover College and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. DePauw fell 2-1 in the first matchup at Hanover and are getting set to host the Engineers later today.
When the regular season finally begins on Aug. 29, the first 10 games will be crucial. With nine of those 10 games being played at Boswell Field, it provides the Tigers an opportunity to boost their resume early in the season as they look to earn a bid to NCAA tournament.
The Tigers will begin that pursuit when they host Birmingham-Southern College in the season opener on Friday.