After eight seasons as head coach of the Dinos field hockey team, Deb Covey-Barnett announced her resignation on Wednesday.
Covey-Barnett’s husband, Andy–with whom she has a 14-month-old son, Matthew–accepted a position with an athlete-training complex near Tampa, Florida, that starts in May.
"I’m sad to be leaving the program–it’s been building for awhile," she said. "But this is a super opportunity in the sports field in the States."
"Losing a coach the calibre of Deb Covey-Barnett is a great blow to not only the Dinos program but field hockey in Alberta," said Athletic Director Don Wilson. "Her technical skill and tenacity as a player took her to two Olympics. This type of leader will not be easily replaced. Aside from all of Deb’s athletic ability, she cares deeply about the program and athletes and will be working with us to ensure field hockey continues forward."
Covey-Barnett specified that this is a tough time to leave the team. She believes their rebuilding process is nearly finished and they will be a contender soon.
"It’s exciting, the growth coming up," she said. "It’s been a young team the past two years, and they’re coming into their own."
Covey-Barnett joined the Dinos in 1992, following a playing career that took her to the Olympics and saw her inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. She coached the Dinos to fifth-place finishes at the national tournaments in 1994 and 1998, and was named CIAU coach of the year in 1998.
Among the highlights of Covey-Barnett’s career were trips to the national tournament, particularly when the University of Calgary hosted, in 1994, when stars Kathy Massey, Julie Courage and Stacy Kozak finished their CIAU careers; and when Marla Richardson captured the CIAU player of the year award in 1998. Covey-Barnett added that some of the smaller highlights, such as seeing former players go on to medical school, have been just as important.
"It’s rewarding to see what great people they’re becoming."
While there aren’t any universities near where Covey-Barnett is moving, she plans to look into high school programs where she might continue coaching field hockey.
"I’m not exactly sure what’s there," she said. "How quickly [I get involved] remains to be seen."