She never wanted this year to be “the Erin show.”
In recent press conferences, Erin Matson has been asked about the significance of this season, her emotions — all the buzz from the national media. Each time, she’s smiled politely and redirected the attention to her team.
“I never want it to be about me,” Matson said on Tuesday. “And at the same time, I'm lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to build a platform where I can spread field hockey.”
Now, following UNC’s 11th national title — coming in the 23-year-old’s first year at the helm — this season doesn’t just cement Matson as a coaching legend.
The former 4-time national champion became the youngest collegiate head coach to win an NCAA title. But most importantly, she’s laid the groundwork for women across college athletics to go directly into coaching – to have the confidence to ask their athletic director for the job they truly want.
UNC’s national championship wasn’t just a win for the program. It was a win for all athletes who don’t want to wait years or decades before coaching at the Division I level.
Because if Matson can do it, someone else can too.
While Matson’s success this season may have come as a surprise to outsiders, everyone close to the program knew she was the right person for the job — especially her predecessor.
“She’s got it all,” Karen Shelton told The Daily Tar Heel after the championship win. “She's really smart, articulate, mature and charismatic. She's smart. She knows the game inside and out. She's relatable. I knew it as the coach – you can tell when you have somebody that’s special.”