Some college graduates can have a hard time finding that first job out of school right away, but that's not the case for North Carolina Tar Heels field hockey legend Erin Matson. She just graduated in December, and she is now taking over the program at the age of 22.
On Tuesday, North Carolina announced that Matson has been named the next head coach of the Tar Heels' field hockey team. Matson just completed one of the most prolific collegiate careers in history, and she will immediately put that experience to use as a coach. In the official announcement from the school, Matson said she was excited to take the next step in her career.
"To say I'm excited and honored to be the head coach of the UNC field hockey program is an understatement -- this is a dream come true," Matson said. "This program means the world to me, and I will do whatever it takes to continue the excellence that is UNC Field Hockey. I want to thank Bubba Cunningham, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and the members of the Board of Trustees for this opportunity and for believing in me.
"I intend to honor the University of North Carolina, Coach Shelton, and the program's history while working to find ways to achieve new heights, side-by-side with our Carolina community."
North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham said the qualities that made Matson great on the field will translate well to her new role as head coach.
"Erin is an outstanding leader who has a deep and thorough knowledge of the game, understands the balance it takes to be a successful student and athlete, and is determined to expand and propel the winning tradition of Carolina Field Hockey," Cunningham said. "She knows how to inspire, listen, teach and win - all qualities that that will translate well to the sidelines and make her a terrific head coach. We all look forward to supporting her as she transitions and leads in this new role."
In her time as a player with the Tar Heels, Matson helped lead the team to four national championships and five ACC championships. She was a five-time ACC Offensive Player of the Year, and she won the Honda Sport Award for Field Hockey three times.
Matson ended her college career as the all-time leading scorer in ACC history and NCAA Tournament history. In 2021, ACC Network named her one of the top 10 female athletes in conference history.
Matson will take over for her former coach, Karen Shelton, who was a star at North Carolina in her own right. Shelton took over the Tar Heels' field hockey program in 1981 at the age of 23, and she won 10 national titles and 25 conference championships in her 42 years on the job.