Ostoich replaces Pelowski as field hockey's head coach

Former Indiana assistant coach Christine Ostoich was named Central Michigan field hockey's seventh head coach in program history on Dec. 15, replacing Molly Pelowski.

Ostoich was a four-year starter at Richmond University during her playing days. She was named to the Atlantic 10 Conference All-Tournament Team twice for the Spiders as a backer. An experienced defender, Ostoich specialized as a defensive assistant coach at Indiana, which went 6-13 overall. 

Similar to CMU, Indiana did not earn a conference win in the 2017 season. Indiana was second to last in the Big 10 Conference with 27 goals conceded and last with only nine goals scored in 2017. 

When introduced as head coach last month, Ostoich laid the foundation and her vision for the program going forward.

“We are going to be a very fit team that does not stop playing and does not stop working until the final whistle,” Ostoich said. “Work ethic, fitness, and leadership are the foundations of a strong program in my view. Those three traits are what I look for in a student-athlete.” 

Ostoich served as head coach for Montana State in 2016 and an assistant coach for Davidson College in North Carolina during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Montana State was Ostoich's only head coaching job before being hired at CMU. 

Athletic Director Michael Alford expressed his excitement about Ostoich's hiring. 

"She's had success at this level, not only as a player but as a coach," Alford said at Ostoich’s introduction to the athletic department on Jan. 5. "She has a great passion for the sport, she's very knowledgeable about the game and that really stood out through the interview process."

Pelowski, fired on Oct. 26, was the first person fired by Alford, who started on July 3.

The end of the Pelwoski Era

In her introductory press conference on Feb. 3, 2015, Pelowski said, “We’re going to be a tough opponent. We’re going to create a culture of competitiveness where teams are going to fear playing Central Michigan University.”

Pelowski compiled a 3-49 record in three seasons and did not earn a win in the 2017 season. Her team only gained one win in Mount Pleasant in three seasons. She was on a 31-game losing streak when she was relieved of her coaching duties Oct. 26, one day before the team’s final game. 

The Chippewas failed to score a goal in their final 12 games. 

CMU finished the season 0-18, the schools first winless season since gymnastics went 0-7-1 during the 1983-84 season.

According to personnel documents received through a Freedom of Information Act request, Pelowski received a letter of admonishment on May 16, 2016 from former Athletic Director Dave Heeke, who left for Arizona in February 2017. Pelowski reached out to a recruit via social media before the player was eligible to be recruited, violating NCAA Bylaw 13.4.1.  

Although she failed to find success with the Chippewas, Pelowski was under pressure from her superiors. A performance review, performed by Associate Athletic Director Cristy Freese, made note of the team's performance.

"Molly (Pelowski) and her staff need to find a way to get good leadership from all of her seniors, get the players to support the plan and learn to work together for the team's success," Freese said. "Leadership, team chemistry, and belief in the coaches will be the secret to a successful program. Molly is addressing this with her team and we should see progress this fall."

Pelowski was aware of not being reappointed with notice at least six months prior to contract expiration. This means CMU will be paying Pelowski to not coach the field hockey team until December 2018 if she does not accept a similar position in a different program. 

CMU's 2018 field hockey schedule has yet to be announced.

Junior goalkeeper Lily Amadio, sophomore forward Georgina Minta and junior midfielder Kayla McClure will all be returning to the team next season.