BEVERLY, Mass. – During the entire 2018-19 academic year, the Endicott Athletics & Recreation Department will celebrate 25 years of men's and women's athletics at the NCAA Division III level. This landmark achievement will be commemorated throughout the year via special events, alumni spotlights, giveaways, and much more. For our third installment of our alumni feature, www.ecgulls.com reconnected with former field hockey/women's lacrosse student-athlete Deana Ward '01 to highlight her experiences as a Gull. Here's what Ward said about her time at The Nest.
ECGULLS: Describe your overall experience as a student-athlete. What does it mean to you now/what did it mean to you while you were a student-athlete?
WARD: Being a student-athlete at EC was special, we all bled kelly green and navy blue, those will always be some of my favorite memories. Everyone was so supportive of us all, Doc Wylie especially, all the coaches, the professors, literally everyone, it was a big family and we were all in it together. We all have the best times when we get together, trading stories and reliving the days from Endicott. We loved being Power Gulls, the school was much smaller back then, little did we know how big EC would get and it's great to see what the teams accomplish now.
ECGULLS: Based on the record books, your lacrosse senior class really set the foundation for the future success of the program. The same could be said for field hockey as well. Describe what that means to you and why.
WARD: Both teams improved so much over the four years I was there, I see how talented the teams are now and I am glad that we went through our growing pains back then.
Freshman year in lacrosse, Coach Sharman was busy recruiting players and all the returners were helping teach us the basics since lacrosse wasn't offered at a lot of high schools back in the '90s; at least not by most of the high schools where I had grown up. By senior year we qualified for ECAC's, which was the first time we qualified for post-season and now the recent teams have shattered our records, good job ladies!
In field hockey, freshman year we only had a few subs on the sidelines. We would surprise teams when we showed up and gave them a game, it was a great challenge for us and we all became so close…those tough seasons are sometimes the best ones! Over the next few years, the team doubled in talent and size, we made the playoffs, I hope that we helped start some great traditions for EC field hockey.
ECGULLS: As a whole, what does it mean to you to know you played a major impact on the success of all female athletic programs here at Endicott?
WARD: I've never thought of it that way. At the time, we all didn't know how successful Endicott would become. We all just tried our best and grew together. If I played a major impact then I'm all for it, it would be an honor to know that people now think of the alums as setting the building blocks for the future Gulls.
ECGULLS: What was your favorite memory of being a student-athlete at Endicott?
WARD: I would have to say the lifelong friends I made along the way. There are too many memories to pick just one; the rival games against Gordon in both field hockey and lacrosse, watching the Post Center being built, the basketball guys winning their first championship, the soccer and softball teams winning championships, I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but it was so fun to watch it all back then. We were the little engine that could and now the possibilities are endless for EC.
ECGULLS: What was it like to be a two-sport student-athlete?
WARD: Busy, it kept me in check. I did better in class during the seasons, so I'm glad I played two sports. Wouldn't change a thing!
ECGULLS: What do you miss most about your Endicott experience?
WARD: Again, the friends I made. We all still keep in touch, and social media helps keep even more tabs on what everyone is up to. And I'll always remember the smell of the ocean at practice when the field hockey field was down in front of Tupper, which was the best!
ECGULLS: What are you doing now professionally? How did your overall experience at Endicott get you to where you are today?
WARD: I work at Farmingdale State College (in New York) as the Associate AD/SWA. When I was at EC, a lot of the coaches and professors were Springfield grads and I looked up to them as mentors, so I decided to follow in their footsteps and go to Springfield for my Master's. After that, I was lucky to land a job at FSC as the Sports Information Director, and am still there today. I love working in college athletics, it's keeping me young being around the college kids. I hope I can help steer them in the right direction as my former coaches did for me. A big THANK YOU goes out to those coaches and professors!
ECGULLS: Give me your thoughts on Endicott's continued success both athletically and as a college as a whole.
WARD: Endicott is an amazing place; both the college and the athletics department. The administration has done a great job in improving the athletics programs over the past 25 years, and the college can only get stronger. We all got such a great education and are lucky to be alums. Any alum you speak to would tell you the same.
Great memories, great place. "Endicott! What! What!" Feels like yesterday we were chanting that. Good luck to all the teams this year!
MORE ABOUT DEANA WARD '01
Deana Ward was promoted to Associate Athletic Director at Farmingdale State in October 2018 after serving as the Sports Information Director since September of 2003 and Assistant AD since 2008. Deana is also the Senior Women's Administrator in the athletic department.
She is directly responsible for scheduling and game contracts of all 18 intercollegiate sports as well as supervising athletic department interns. Deana also assists with compliance, event management, and chairs the campus assessment committee.
From 2005-2008, she also served as the assistant women's lacrosse coach at the College.
A native of Wilmington, Mass., she attended Endicott College, where she received her bachelor's degree in Sport Management in 2001. She was a member of the field hockey and lacrosse teams for four years. After Endicott, she pursued her master's at Springfield College and received her M.P.E. in Athletic Administration in 2003. While attending Springfield, she was the assistant coach of the field hockey and lacrosse teams for two years at Elms College in Chicopee, Mass.