Leaving an enjoyable job is difficult, especially if your a coach like Ally Orrico, who was part of Greenwich’s field hockey program for decades.
Orrico, who played for the Cardinals’ field hockey team in high school, then served as coach of the team since 2007, made the difficult decision to step down from her post.
She talked to Hearst Connecticut Media Monday afternoon.
“It was a heartbreaking decision to make,” Orrico said. “I have a lot of family and business obligations that have become so overwhelming. I felt I couldn’t give the team 100 percent. These kids put so much time and dedication into the sport, so for me to just try and get through it — that would not be my style. You can’t tell the players to give 100 percent and not do it yourself.”
During Orrico’s 12-season tenure, the team qualified for the FCIAC and state playoffs each year. The Cardinals shared the FCIAC championship with Darien during the 2012 season and captured the CIAC Class L title in 2009, defeating Pomperaug, 2-1.
“I have done this for a while now, I was part of Greenwich’s field hockey program for so long,” Orrico said. “I grew up in Greenwich and was a field hockey player for four years. I basically, tried to give something back to the sport, which gave me so much. Between my passion for the sport, loving all the kids, the coaching staff and parents — I am really going to miss it. It was a very tough decision to make.”
For the 2017 season, Orrico was named the FCIAC Field Hockey Coach of the Year. She also earned the honor of being recognized as the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Field Hockey Coach of the year for the 2017 campaign.
Orrico owns a pet transportation business, which she said, has become very time consuming. The family business covers the tri-state area, as well locations such as Florida and Illinois.
“I was going to try to keep everything going, but it’s tough,” said Orrico, who thanked athletic director Gus Lindine, coaching staff and players for their support. It’s been an amazing run.”
A 1983 GHS graduate, she played on Greenwich’s field hockey team, which was coached by Bea Walko (assisted by Carolyn Pagnano). Orrico helped the Cardinals claim the state championship in the fall of 1982 and continued her field hockey career at Gettysburg.
Numerous players have earned All-FCIAC and All-State team accolades during Orrico’s years at the helm for the Cardinals. Several such as Paige Mautner, Zoe Metalios, Sydney Cole, Hannah Bowers, Brooke Cabrera and Storm Kodde, were All-Region selections.
“I’m very proud of the fact that our team made the playoffs every year,” Orrico said. “Every kid I had on each team worked so hard. To look back and see their accomplishments — I am so proud of them.
“I am going to miss being around the kids every day in practice. When you spend that much time around them every day, you build a family atmosphere. I’ll miss the joking around, the competitiveness. Each season, we tried to put the pieces together and tried to figure out what we needed to work on. I’ll miss that challenge and miss the grind.”
Between being a high school player, an assistant coach and a head coach, Orrico said she’s been a part of the Cardinals’ field hockey program for three decades.
“It’s been an amazing run and I thank everyone involved,” she said. “I had a great relationship with Gus Lindine, I could always count on him for support. Our coaches Megan Wax, Sarah Jarombek, Erik Caraballo and Kelly Winslow Shepard — I was so lucky to have the opportunity to work with them, they were phenomenal. And our players — they were the best part of this coaching journey. It was an honor and a privilege to coach them.”