Erin Livingston: A Coach in the Spotlight
By Jordyn Austin ’14
Oftentimes, when it comes to sports, all the glory goes to star players, while little attention is paid to the less glamorous yet critical parts of the team. Individuals such as Joe Paterno notwithstanding, coaches usually are the least celebrated or recognized members of any sports team. This is ironic, since a good coach—like a brave captain or a bold general—is the fearless leader who organizes the raw talent of individual players and crafts it into a cohesive unit.
Take for instance Erin Livingston, head coach for Field Hockey and Women’s Lacrosse. Livingston’s lengthy experience and deep passion for coaching have been a boon to Arcadia’s women’s sports teams for the past two years. Livingston recognized early on that her passion lay in leading players. “I knew once I was in college that I could make a career out of coaching,” she says, “Once I was enrolled in coaching classes, coaching was the only thing I wanted to do.”
Livingston majored in Elementary Education with a concentration in Coaching while an undergraduate and continued her education through to a Master’s degree, using ‘motivation and anxiety in athletics’ as the topic of her thesis. “I started coaching while I was still a student, and then became a graduate assistant,” she says. Livingston has coached for five and a half years now, two of which have been with Arcadia, first as the Field Hockey coach and now as coach of the Women’s Lacrosse Team.
According to Livingston, she enjoys working for Arcadia because of its location and emphasis on strong academics. She also enjoys the working in a supportive athletic department. Arcadia, meanwhile, is more than happy to indulge her passion, of which she states, “ I love coaching because I think you can reach students on so many different levels. You can challenge them to get better as players and as people. You can help them to become passionate about their goals and develop a vision of how they will achieve them.”
This enthusiasm for the fine art of coaching is recognized and appreciated by Livingston’s players. “I think that she [Coach Livingston] has a really good balance between getting to know us on a personal level and still commanding the respect of a coach. I looked up to her right away,” says Ashely Ditchey ’14 of the Field Hockey team. Ashley McCarthy ’10 (Field Hockey) responded, “[Coach Livingston creates a] more structured environment, which is very beneficial to the team… . [T]he Program is only going to get better in the next two years, and that’s because of her.” Lynne Beatty agrees with her teammates. She adds, “[With Coach] we always push ourselves on the field but academics always comes first.”
The delicate balance of dedicated leadership, sympathetic support-system, and passionate coaching that Livingston pulls off is exactly what keeps her in the background and her players in the spotlight—sort of. “A full-time coach is what our team needs to improve our standings in the conference, and I think that she is definitely up to the challenge,” says Kaitlyn Gamber ’10 of the Lacrosse team. Arcadia can’t help but agree.