Ohio’s New Field Hockey Coach is a Returning Bobcat

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The Ohio University Women’s Field Hockey team met their new coach this week, but she is no stranger to OU.

Ohio University alumna, Ali Johnstone, was recently named the new field hockey coach. She played field hockey four seasons with Ohio before she graduated in 2002. She excelled academically and athletically while at Ohio and was inducted into the Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame.

She went on to play professionally for Hamburg in the German Premier Division before coaching.

Ali Johnstone playing field hockey

Before returning to Ohio, she served on staff with Northwestern University’s field hockey team. While she was with the Wildcats, the team had great success.

In 2014 the Wildcats won their first Big Ten tournament title in school history.  They defeated No. 15 Iowa, No. 12 Michigan and No. 2 Maryland to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

“I love this place… being here were some of the best years of my life,” Johnstone said. “I can’t wait to lead the team in the way I was able to go through this program.”

Johnstone isn’t the only one ready to get started.

Her graduate assistant, Andrea Rinehart, believes that the hectic coaching transition is going to be worth it.

“Hectic is a good word to describe the past few weeks,” Rinehart said. “Ali is a great person. The girls are excited, they just don’t know what’s happening yet. It’s going to be different, it’s going to be a change, but it’s going to be really good for them.”

Junior and team captain, Kendall Ballard, said she and the team experienced some stress during the coaching transition.

“There was some uncertainty. It’s just been a whirlwind. We went from not having a coach, to the job closing and now we have a coach,” Ballard said.

The team’s previous coach was Neil Macmillian. He had served as head coach since 2005.

The Post broke the news that Ohio Athletics “parted ways” with Macmillian after allegations from players emerged.

According to the article, “The complaints included not allotting time for the athletes to eat on trips, making remarks about some of the players’ physical appearance, pressuring players to swipe him into dining halls for free meals and inconsistent coaching techniques, according to players who did not want to be named.”

Ballard believes these will not be issues with Johnstone.

“She [Johnstone] is so personable and really wants to get to know everyone to help them better themselves. She wants to help us as both field hockey players and as people.”

Johnstone can relate to the girls on the team since she was once in their shoes.

This season the Bobcats only won four of their twelve games and did not qualify for the MAC Championships.

Johnstone want to improve that record and bring energy back into the team.

“I’m going to do everything I can to lead the team and make it a stronger program. The players here are talented and they’re fit, we just need to get them on the same page,” Johnstone said. “We are going to have some fun and put some energy back into the team.”

Coach Johnstone and her team will begin spring training after winter break in preparation for the 2018-2019 season.