By Jordan Hall
When it comes to Lori Hussong, one thing is certain: Field hockey and success are in her DNA. From her playing days and now in her current position as Rider’s head field hockey coach, Hussong has had a passion for the game and a winning tradition attached to her name.
In her 11th season as Rider’s general, she has a remarkable 140-68 record, a winning percentage that ranks 11th in the nation among all active Division I coaches.
Hussong’s enthusiasm for field hockey began at a young age and grew stronger when she played competitively in high school and college. She graduated from Cinnaminson High School, where she starred on the field hockey field as well as the softball diamond, eventually leading her to Trenton State College, now known as TCNJ.
Without her competition, achievements and mentors in college, Hussong may not be where she is today.
“I experienced great team success as well as individual success,” she said. “I learned so many valuable lessons from being a part of the team and from playing for some excellent coaches.”
At Trenton State College, Hussong built quite a profile. The 1984 graduate won two National Championships, was named to the NCAA All-Tournament teams twice and was a member of the NCAA 1980s All-Decade team.
Hussong took an interesting path to Rider, one that she had never imagined. Following college, Hussong started teaching physical education at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School, where her field hockey coaching career took off. In her 13th season as the Northern Knights’ leader, a close colleague and friend by the name of Cheryl Reca informed her of an open coaching spot. Her husband, Michael Reca, Rider’s current associate vice president of Facilities and Auxiliary Services received word of the vacancy and relayed it down the line.
“Up until that point I had never ever considered the possibility of trying to coach at the college level,” Hussong said.
Since the day she applied and received the position, the Broncs’ field hockey program has reached new heights. Hussong has brought all 10 of her teams to the NEC playoffs with eight of them making the league championship. Four of her squads have clinched a regular season title, the most recent being last year, and three have captured an NEC Championship and competed in the NCAA Tournament.
“Combining supportive administrators, supportive parents and having our players all believing our philosophy of placing the team first, sacrifice and hard work, and always giving a best effort toward achieving our goals, makes it possible to accomplish great things,” she said.
Hussong has created a winner by preparation, focus and hard work, but more importantly, the talent recruited by her husband and assistant coach, Dan Hussong and herself.
“We know that it’s important for us to bring in players who are cut from the same cloth, who will be able to bond and gain strength from each other,” she said.
Hussong consistently produces top-notch student athletes that rank in the country statistically and perform well in the classroom, an aspect she’s always impressed on her teams.
“We always preach the importance of giving your best effort in all aspects of their lives,” she said. “We are extremely proud of their accomplishments off the field as much as their accomplishments on the field.”
Two of the prized players brought in by the staff, juniors Virginia Egusquiza and Megan Pisani, have Rider primed for another championship run and they couldn’t be more appreciative of Hussong.
“Coach has such a successful program and it’s all due to her hard work and dedication,” Pisani said.
Egusquiza feels at home with Hussong.
“Apart from field hockey, she is always taking care of all of us,” she said.
The well-rounded coach has become a fixture at Rider, not only making school history on the field, but helping others off it.