Friday, August 6, 2010

University of Albany Field Hockey Names Andy Thornton Associate Head Coach; Michelle Simpson Joins Staff - UAlbany Sports 2010

Albany, N.Y. - University at Albany head field hockey coach Phil Sykes has named Andy Thornton as associate head coach, while former UAlbany star Michelle Simpson returns to join the staff as an assistant for the upcoming season.

Thornton has been elevated to associate head coach after spending the past six seasons as an assistant. Thornton led the U.S. National Indoor Field Hockey team to the team championship at the 2010 National Indoor Tournament held at The Training Center on March 13-14. After joining the Indoor National Team staff as an assistant coach in 2008, Thornton was named the head coach of the program. He helped lead the Great Danes to their first-ever America East Conference Championship title in 2008. UAlbany won the regular-season crown in 2009 and returned to the championship game for the third straight season.

Thornton was named the 2004 Scottish Coach of the Year for youth boys and took Grove Academy High School to its first U-18 national field hockey title in March of 2004. He was also the head coach for the women's field hockey team at Dundee University from 2002-04 and was named the 2003 Scottish Grass Roots Coach of the Year. As a player, Thornton was a member of the Menzieshill men's field hockey club, which competes at the top indoor and outdoor level. Thornton won eight national titles and played in eight European Cups, representing Scotland. He played on the Scottish outdoor and indoor senior teams, including U-18, U-19 and U-21 international teams.

Simpson returns to her alma mater as an assistant coach after volunteering with the program last season following the conclusion of one of the most decorated careers in program history. Simpson, a two-time All-American, was named the America East Conference Midfielder of the Year as a senior after scoring 10 goals and recording 12 assists. She was named UAlbany's Female Athlete of the Year in 2008-09 after wrapping up her career ranked second all-time in career points (101) as well as fourth in goals (37) and assists (27). She was a three-time all-conference first team selection and was named the league's offensive player of the year in 2006.

Simpson became the first UAlbany player in the Division I era to earn All-America status, garnering the accolade in 2007 and 2008. She was also a three-time NFHCA All-Northeast Region selection and ECAC Division I All-Star. Simpson was invited to play in the North-South Senior All-Star game in 2008 after leading the Great Danes to the program's first-ever America East championship and NCAA Tournament berth.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

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