MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Wesleyan University head field hockey coach Patti Klecha-Porter will retire following the 2018-19 academic year, after concluding her 34th season at the helm of the program.
"I am very thankful for the incredible athletes and colleagues that I have had the good fortune to coach and work with throughout my time here at Wesleyan. I am both proud and pleased that I had the opportunity to make an impact on so many young women's lives."
Klecha-Porter arrived at Wesleyan in 1985, taking over the field hockey program, while serving as an assistant for women's basketball and lacrosse. Following her first year, she was additionally named the head women's squash coach, where she was at the helm for 15 seasons, before transitioning into an assistant role for 14 additional years.
During her time as the head field hockey coach, Klecha-Porter led Wesleyan to 13 NESCAC Tournament appearances. Her 1999 and 2000 seasons were magical, as she guided the team to back-to-back ECAC New England Division III titles. Both years, the squads set the school record for wins in a season with 13. Throughout her career, she was able to take six of her teams on international trips to six different countries. Klecha-Porter concludes her field hockey career with a program-high 210 wins, having coached 24 All-NESCAC players, 33 NFHCA All-Region athletes and three All-Americans during her career.
"Serving as our head field hockey coach for the past 34 years, Patti has been a role model and mentor for many student-athletes at Wesleyan," said Director of Athletics Mike Whalen. "An excellent physical education instructor, Patti's classes were always some of our most popular during her tenure. A well-respected coach by colleagues at both Wesleyan and in the NESCAC, Patti is also one of the nation's top women's lacrosse officials, officiating numerous games at the NCAA Division I level."
While she was at the helm of the women's squash program, Klecha-Porter tallied the most wins in program history (146), recently surpassed by the current head coach (147). The 1996-97 season was a great campaign, as she guided her team to a program-high 19 wins. During the 1998 season, Klecha-Porter led her team to a first-place finish in the Walker Cup (C Division), before guiding her 2001 squad to a first-place finish in the Epps Cup (D Division).
In 2005, Klecha-Porter was honored by the Connecticut Field Hockey Coaches Association with its Chickie Poisson Award for distinguished service to the sport. She was also inducted into the New York State Sectional Hall of Fame in 1989, the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Connecticut Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2011.
A 1981 Ithaca College graduate, Kelcha-Porter was a team captain and MVP in both field hockey and lacrosse. In 1986, she was inducted into her alma mater's Sports Hall of Fame. While at Springfield as a graduate assistant, she served as the head coach of lacrosse and the field hockey assistant, while she trained under the guidance of legendary coach Dottie Potter Zenaty. During her post-collegiate career, Klecha-Porter competed in the Olympic Sports Festival, and played on the club team Stars and Stripes and the USFHA Mid-East 1 team, where she played in the United States and internationally.
Klecha-Porter holds an International Umpiring rating, the highest level for umpires in the game of women's lacrosse, and umpired at the IFWLA World Cup five times. She has also served as a referee for countless NCAA Tournament contests, including title games at all levels.
Although Klecha-Porter is retiring from her coaching career, she will still remain connected to field hockey and lacrosse. "This new chapter of my life will provide me the ability to enjoy time with family, pursue hikes in different countries and continue to stay on the athletic field as an umpire! I will always treasure my time at Wesleyan, and wish everyone the best."
"It is with gratitude and pride for her many contributions to Wesleyan, that I wish Patti, on behalf of the Department of Athletics and Physical Education, all the best as she begins the next chapter of her life," said Director of Athletics Mike Whalen.