Winthrop field hockey coach Sharon Coulton looks on during the Class C championship game on Nov. 5 at Messalonskee High School in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The high school field hockey season has come and gone, and so, too, have the careers of four veteran coaches in central Maine.

Sharon Gallant (Gardiner), Sharon Coulton (Winthrop), Gloria Hewitt (Mount View) and Jody Harmon (Mt. Blue) are retiring, leaving a big void in the sport. The four coaches combined to win 689 games over parts of five decades in the sport.

“I retired from teaching in June,” said Coulton, who has coached at Winthrop in some capacity since 1981. “Obviously, the 2021 season was fantastic, and we had a large group of seniors, so they seemed to be open for me coming back for one more year, so I was willing to do that. But now, it’s time to be retired.”

Coulton, who went 335-158-37, was part of five state championship teams with the Ramblers, including the Class C crown this fall. She won four state titles as head coach and another in 2018 as an assistant under Jess Merrill.

Coulton also led the Ramblers to the Class C crown in 2021, beating MCI 3-2 on a late goal.

“It’s been so awesome, partly because it wasn’t entirely expected, plus we lost a season in 2020,” Coulton said. “Even just coming back and even having a season (in 2021) was going to be awesome. And then (the 2021 team) was the first undefeated team — all the way through (the season). In 1988, we did go undefeated, but we had one tie. It’s really hard to express how phenomenal it was to have two awesome seasons. When you’re trying to do back-to-back, there’s expectations from everybody, but (especially) the team members themselves.”


After serving as an assistant coach for 15 years, Gallant had the unenviable task of replacing legendary Gardiner coach Moe McNally — who won more than 400 games — for the 2014 season. Gallant made the most of her eight seasons as Gardiner head coach, going 105-30-3, with a Class B title in 2018.

Mt. Blue’s Jordyn Lawrence jumps into the arms of head coach Jody Harmon after the Cougars defeated Skowhegan on Oct. 6, 2016 in Farmington. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“Twenty-three years is a long time, and as I’m starting to think about retiring from teaching as a whole, I realized I’ve never had a fall off,” Gallant said. “I guess I’m just trying to line my ducks in a row to the next stage of what happens. This was an incredible group of seniors. I wasn’t sure if it would be this year or next year. At some point, I was like, ‘Okay, this is really it.'”

Gallant said the 2018 season, in which Gardiner beat York 3-2 for the Class B title, is one of her favorite memories. But she said she’s especially proud of the annual Drive Out Cancer game with Cony. The game — which McNally and former Cony coach Krista Chase started years ago — raised money for the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta.

“They hold an absolute dear spot to me, because they were so much more than a game,” Gallant said. “Those are probably, of all of them, those games are really sacred, they were really phenomenal.”

Harmon led the Class A Cougars to consistent success. Mt. Blue made it to at least the regional semifinal from 2013-2019, including appearances in the A North final in 2018 and 2019 (both won by Skowhegan).

Harmon, who went 103-51-4, said she appreciates the relationships she made with players and coaches over the years.


Gardiner Area High School coach Sharon Gallant, center, hugs players Lynsey Seymour, left, and Laura Nimon after a victory during the 2004 season. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“It’s just a great community of people that support each other and love this great sport,” Harmon said. “I think that’s the biggest thing I’m going to miss.”

Harmon decided to retire this season so she could watch her daughter, Molly Harmon, play for Bates College.

“My daughter is in college, and honestly, I was going to do it a couple of years ago,” Harmon said. “But then COVID hit (and) there was no way I could leave the program during that. I didn’t feel comfortable (leaving) until we got it going again and getting the youth program going again. Now, she’s going to be a senior next season, and she plays field hockey at Bates and I don’t want to miss any of it.”

Hewitt led a strong Mount View program for 15 years, going 146-85-10. Hewitt, who is also a teacher, is planning to retire from both positions.

Winthrop field hockey coach Sharon Coulton, middle, instructs players during an Aug. 17, 2021 practice in Winthrop. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“You always get more than you give,” Hewitt said. “To be a coach that’s happy and wants to keep coaching, you have to get from the kids energy and excitement. I always feel sort of fortunate to have had a chance to work with athletes who are willing to work hard and try hard for me, put everything into it. They just love the sport and they feel good about working for me as players. That’s always a good thing, that I have positive-minded kids. Especially in my last three years, because I had some tiny teams and they still make it to tournaments every year.”

Hewitt said one of her favorite memories came in 2010, when the Mustangs fell just short of a Class B title game appearance. Mount View made it to the B North final, where it lost a 1-0 decision to Nokomis.

“We had beaten Nokomis twice during the season and we lost 1-0 to them in that game,” Hewitt said. “That game, the phrase ‘the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,’ all my players just melted with so much pain. We had just a fantastic season and that will always stand out, both the thrill of that year, and the fact that no matter what, only three teams (in the state) win their last game every season.”

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