Sarah Elleman finds herself in an interesting situation as far as her coaching career is concerned.
On one hand, she knows this is her final year as the coach at Utica College in upstate New York. On the other hand, there’s already a job waiting for her when she finishes.
Following this year’s college field hockey season, Elleman will take over as the new head coach at Stockton University. For the time being, six-year Stockton assistant Kristi Troster will serve as interim head coach.
“I saw the job opening, and I’m a native of New Jersey,” said Elleman, who is from Glassboro in Gloucester County. “I’ve been coaching in New York, and before that in Indiana, so I was really excited at the opportunity to come home.”
It was announced Wednesday that Elleman, 32, accepted the job as Stockton’s new coach. But with the start of preseason practices just two weeks away, Elleman and both schools agreed that it would be in everyone’s best interest for her to stay at Utica until the end of the season.
The last thing Elleman wanted to do was put Utica in a bind.
“Even though I’m not starting right away, I’m really excited to get down (to Stockton),” Elleman said. “If the timing had been a little bit better, we would have done everything we could have to make it work.”
Earlier this summer, Michelle Andre left Stockton after six years on the Ospreys bench to become the head coach at her alma mater, Rowan University.
In the meantime, Troster, entering her seventh year with Stockton, will look to improve upon last season’s 7-9 season, including a 2-4 New Jersey Athletic Conference record.
Troster played four seasons at Division I University of Maryland, Baltimore County, earning All-America East Second Team honors twice before graduation with her bachelor’s degree in biology in 2007.
Troster couldn’t be reached for comment, but Elleman said she hopes that Troster stays on as an assistant coach after this season.
“She has a wealth of knowledge and she’s got great experience, and I think it would be best for everyone if she wanted to,” Elleman said.
While Troster looks to give Stockton a smooth transition between head coaches, Elleman will wrap up her seventh and final season at Utica.
In her previous six seasons, Elleman has 77-41 record, including a school-record 18 wins last year. Utica has three straight Empire 8 titles and NCAA Division III Tournament berths, making it to the second round twice. She’s also a two-time Empire 8 Coach of the Year.
“It’s been a great place to really learn how to coach, and we had a ton of success,” Elleman said. “It’s a place I could have seen myself staying long-term, but at the end of the day, I’m really excited to be coming home.”
Prior to taking the coaching job at Utica, her first as a head coach, Elleman was an assistant for Earlham College in Indiana from 2006-09.
Elleman played field hockey at Division III Drew University. A three-time All-Freedom Conference selection, she graduated from Drew in 2005, getting her bachelor’s degree in sociology. She earned her master’s from the University of California Berkeley in 2006.