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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Women’s Hockey coach begins quest for the gold in Sochi

Schaus at the 2010 World Championships

Most athletic coaches tend to have had a terrific career in their respective sport prior to hanging them up and beginning their career as a molder of young men and women. Whether he or she was a champion, an All-American, or even played professionally, just about every coach you can think of tends to have a distinguished athletic background. Those who have had the most success, as one may figure, return to coach at their alma maters, which most likely a big-name college or university. Division II or Division III schools may have coaches who achieved success in their careers, but nothing like the backgrounds of coaches at Division I schools. Of course, there are exceptions.

You could probably find a coach or two at a Division II/III school that went pro in his or her sport, or perhaps is maybe even making it a little further. Sitting in the hockey office of the Clark Athletic Center is an example of this. Molly Schaus, the goaltender’s coach for the Women’s Ice Hockey team, is donning the red, white, and blue this month at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. This will be Schaus’ second time representing the U.S. in the Olympics, having played for the team in Vancouver four years ago, where she earned a Silver Medal.

Schaus, in her second season at the University of Massachusetts Boston, was a former standout at Boston College, where she was a teammate of Head Coach Colleen Harris. There, she became one of the most decorated goaltenders in the program’s history, capturing both All-Hockey East and All-American First Team selections in 2011. She also holds BC records in saves, goals against average, and wins.

In addition to the two Olympic appearances, Schaus has also represented the U.S. at the Four Nations Cup, the Women’s World Championships, and as a member of the Under-22 Team that battled rival Canada in the U-22 series. She was also drafted by the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League back in 2011. To say her career has been successful would be an understatement.

Harris, her fellow coach and friend, and current Lady Beacons forward Kayla Kiernan both expressed their excitement for Schaus.

“It’s really cool to have someone on staff to be headed to the Olympics,” Harris said. “We see the level of commitment she has and how humble she is, and we are very proud that her hard work has paid off.”

Kiernan, a junior, echoes her head coach. “To have a coach who is an Olympic athlete alone is crazy. It’s every girl’s dream to be an Olympian, but some of us are not as fortunate as Molly, so we definitely share the excitement with her.” Both Harris and Kiernan also agree that seeing their friend and coach succeed serves as a bit of motivation on the ice.

“Her success motivates me as a player, and makes me strive to be the best I can be on and off the ice,” said Kiernan. She added, “there is always room for improvement and all that is needed is a little hard work. Molly still improves every day she steps on the ice, which I feel our team does as well.”

Harris added, “Absolutely it serves as motivation. Seeing that success, all the ups and downs, and hopefully coming home with the gold  we will definitely feed off of that.”

Of course, the team will be supporting Molly every step of the way as she tries to lead Team USA to their first Olympic gold medal since 1998, which was the first time that Women’s Ice Hockey was included in the Olympics.

“We’ve been communicating with her through email and Twitter, and we’ll surely be watching. It’s really cool to have a [familiar] face there,” Harris says. “We’re also going to be sending her text messages,” Kiernan adds, “just to let her know that we are here for her support.”

In order for them to show their support by watching, they have to be willing to wake up early. The team’s first game is Saturday, Feb. 8 at 3 a.m. against Finland, followed by a 5 a.m. game against Switzerland on Feb. 10. The team then wraps up the Preliminary round with a 7:30 a.m. game against rival Canada on Feb. 12. For more information on Coach Molly Schaus and her pursuit of gold, visit beaconsathletics.com.