Marywood University News

Profiles in Passion - Julie Dougherty ’12 Mentors and Coaches Student-Athletes
Julie Dougherty ’12
Julie Dougherty ’12
April 10, 2018

Julie Dougherty ’12 thought she wanted to be a teacher. She got her degree from Marywood in Elementary Education in 2012, but realized towards the end of her undergraduate career that she didn’t want to teach in a classroom. Dr. Mary Jo Gunning, Marywood’s Athletics Director, posed the possibility to Julie’s parents that perhaps the exemplary student-athlete should consider a career in sports administration. Julie, a field hockey standout at Marywood, had not previously considered this type of occupation, but she knew she could apply her solid education knowledge to a sports administration career. “I have so many great memories from my playing career at Marywood,” she said. “One of my favorites comes from my freshman year, which was the first time in 10 seasons that the field hockey team had a winning season. It was an honor serving as a captain of the field hockey from my sophomore year through my senior year, as we returned to the CSAC playoffs two more times.” 

Julie went on to Temple and earned her Master of Science degree in Sports Business. She says that the valuable knowledge she gained as an education major at Marywood applied well to coaching and sports administration—it’s just that the chosen learning experience is different; she is teaching on the field instead of in front of a classroom. While Julie was pursuing her master’s degree, she thought she might want to fundraise for a Division I school, but discovered after several rounds of interviews for these types of jobs that her heart was leading her in a different direction. “I missed field hockey,” she said. This led Julie to seek employment coaching the sport she knew and loved so well. She began working as a part-time Assistant Field Hockey coach at Marywood.

Additionally, Dr. Gunning and Casey Manning, Field Hockey Head Coach, secured an NCAA grant so that Julie could work full-time at Marywood as the Assistant Coordinator of Student-Athlete Affairs. This position, made possible through the NCAA Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Internship Program, allows Julie to work with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on campus, which focuses on athletic success, academic achievement, and community service. Their work includes service events and programming for NCAA Division III week. Julie also mentors three Division III student-athletes who are ethnic minorities and/or women in the Immersion Program. She calls the athletes monthly, stays in touch via email and texts, and gives advice on what helped her to find entry-level employment in the sports administration field.

In addition to her work at Marywood, Julie is a seasonal coach for Pursuit, an indoor club field hockey program based in Honesdale, PA, and she coaches in the USA Futures Program, an Olympic development program based in Whitehall, PA. Julie works with individual field hockey players to help them develop to their next level of play, and, perhaps one day, to compete in the Olympics.

Julie, who is originally from Long Island (Wading River, N.Y.), is a member of a Marywood legacy family—her mom, Ann Doherty Dougherty ’76, a Scranton native, is a Marywood graduate, and her grandmother graduated from the former Marywood Seminary. Julie did not consider attending Marywood at first, simply because she did not want to go to her mom’s alma mater. Yet, once she visited campus and met the field hockey coach, it quickly became clear that she belonged. Julie went on other college visits and began comparing all of them to Marywood. “I would go on overnight visits with the field hockey teams at various schools, and I would always find myself comparing the people, the facilities, and the overall experience to Marywood—and, in the end, there simply was no comparison.”

After getting a Marywood sweatshirt from her parents for her birthday, she committed to attending—a choice she has never regretted. “I love Marywood,” said Julie. “I met my best friends while attending as an undergraduate, and my experiences, both as a student and as an employee, have been great. I feel fortunate to work where I went to school, and, through my work with the NCAA, I have been able to work with many athletes.”

Julie’s career goals include being a field hockey head coach at the Division III level. For now, she is happy to be at Marywood completing her NCAA internship, and she enjoys the challenges of her external work with club field hockey and the USA Futures program. She concluded, “The professional development experience of this internship has been invaluable! The fact that I have been able to pursue it at Marywood is a major plus.”