Winthrop High School goalie Corinna Coulton, left, and assistant coach Sharon Coulton, right, Corinna’s mother, walk toward the halftime huddle during a game in Winthrop in 2014. Sun Journal file photo

Sharon Coulton was perfectly content being the assistant coach for the Winthrop field hockey team.

She coached the varsity for several years before Jessica Merrill became the head coach and led the Ramblers for the past eight seasons. Merrill recently moved on, and Coulton wasn’t sure if she wanted to return to being the head coach.

“Jess was my assistant when she first came over here,” Coulton said. “She had coached the varsity (field hockey team) at Hall-Dale for a while. We switched after the 2012 season. Jess has accepted another opportunity. She will be teaching and coaching in another district. Their gain, our loss.

“I started here in Winthrop in 1981. I applied for a one-year teaching position and was offered the coaching position. I was on the fence about it. Sometimes you get the impression if you don’t say yes, you won’t get the job. I have been doing it ever since in some capacity.”

Coulton was head coach of the 1988 Ramblers squad that claimed the Class C state title. That was the school’s first field hockey state championship. It also won in 1989 and 2018, and appeared in the three most recent state finals, in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Coulton also remains a social studies teacher for Winthrop. She is presently teaching psychology and civics courses.

“That was kind of a dream season, really,” she recalled. “The year before, we struggled, and I think it was the only season that we didn’t make it to the playoffs. The next year, 1988, we were undefeated. We had one tie to Leavitt.

“But it was a tie; so it was not a loss. I remember some of the girls came over to me and actually apologized. They said, ‘It won’t happen again.’ They said that.”

Coulton eventually decided to jump back into the saddle as a head coach for the Ramblers this fall.

“The opportunity is there and this is a great group of kids and I am really excited to work with them,” she said. “I think that’s what keeps everybody coming back (as a coach) for another year. You always have new faces. You are sad to see your seniors go. You’ve always get the new group or the new combination coming in. That’s what keeps most of us coming back. It is the challenge.

“I did want to give the athletic director the opportunity to see if he could find someone with experience who was excited to step in — and then I would see what my role might be, if any ….”

Winthrop athletic director Joel Stoneton was delighted Coulton accepted the position.

“We did advertise,” Stoneton said, “and then Sharon was still part of the program and we had a conversation — and she decided to step up and be the head coach this year — which I am extremely excited for, just because she is nearing the end of her career so that is pretty neat.

“I know she was with Jess, and that was fantastic. Sharon can come in and certainly fill those shoes. She is the quintessential (coach) in what you look for in coaches. We are pretty excited to have her back.”

Coulton also coached track in the 1990s.

“That was one thing (track) I did give up when my daughter was born,” she said. “I couldn’t do two sports. I couldn’t give up the field hockey. I just couldn’t do that. We made it work.”

As an assistant, Coulton was fortunate to watch and coach her daughter, Corinna, who was the Ramblers’ starting goalie several years ago.

Sharon Coulton’s passion for field hockey runs deep and she takes pleasure in coaching the sport.

“I have always viewed it as a very challenging sport to learn, to play and to coach,” she said. “I say that without a ton experience coaching anything else, but I think that was one of the things that really drew me to it. This is not an easy game.” 

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