Betty Logan: coach, umpire, administrator

One in an occasional series.

By Al Mattei


There are a number of stories that define the life of Betty Logan, the woman who has been involved in just about every endeavor in American field hockey and lacrosse for more than 30 years.

She has umpired countless games at every level. She was a collegiate head coach when making a living in the game was financially difficult. She organized national collegiate field hockey and lacrosse championships before the NCAA got involved.

But one incident, I think, offers the deepest insight into Betty Logan. As the story goes, she was officiating a lacrosse game (we think it was either in the preseason or in the first couple of weeks of the year) which involved some rather sloppy defense on the part of both teams.

A few minutes into the contest, she blew her whistle and crossed her wrists to stop the clock.

"Does anyone here know what shooting space is?" she could be heard admonishing the players.

You couldn't take the coaching instinct out of Logan, no matter the situation. Whether she was at a game as an administrator, umpire, or as a fan, the coaching instinct was constantly in the "on" position.

"Stay low! Stay low!" she would exhort from her position as clock operator during an indoor field hockey session as players would attack the goal at one end of the field.

Talk to Logan, as this website did a couple of years back, and you find that you are talking to a person who was a teacher of the game first. This meant that she was pretty much expendable when the lords of Princeton athletics decided that they wanted to go "big-time" with many of their women's athletic teams. Logan's style would no longer do: a motivator would be more likely to give highly aggressive, well-trained athletes a shot as a national title, this giving greater publicity to the school.

Princeton University, however, gave American field hockey a greater gift than it ever imagined. Betty Logan set out on a crusade to improve the game. She coached in the USFHA Futures program, umpired, organized summer hockey camps, and instituted various off-season field hockey and lacrosse programs in and around her Lawrenceville, N.J. home.

And, despite the way Princeton let her go, Logan could be seen in the stands at Tiger home games wearing her black and white umpire's windbreaker, drinking in all sides of the contest -- offense, defense, umpire positioning, goalkeeping. It was almost as though the old coaching instinct was coming out again.

It almost seemed as though Logan was coaching somewhere in perpituity. As a result, she touched many young lives. To find out how many, go to some all-comers field hockey event, find the New Jersey-based players and teams, and ask them how many had Betty Logan as a coach. Just about all of them will raise their hands. In this way, Betty Logan is to be long-remembered.

Logan's talents as a grass-roots and tournament organizer, however, cannot be overemphasized. Betty Logan put together the 1980 national championship for women's lacrosse and 1979 national tournament for women's collegiate lacrosse in an era when the words "women's athletics" and "NCAA" were never used in the same sentence.

In part because of these championship tournaments, the NCAA began holding championships in both sports by the mid-1980s. In this way also, Betty Logan is to be long-remembered.

But what this website will remember is the passion for the game of field hockey, greetings from her warm Scottish heart, and straight talk on all of the issues facing the game in the United States. While these issues are still legion, maybe she helped to solve a few throughout her lifetime. And for that, the game is better off for it.