Former Severna Park field hockey coach Lil Shelton, who retired five days after her team won its record 20th state championship, is on her way to Philadelphia, where she will be honored Friday as the South Region Coach of the Year by the United States Field Hockey Association.
It is the latest award to come Shelton’s way. Last month, she was named the Coach of the Year by VarsitySportsNetwork.com. TopOfTheCircle.com, which reports to be the largest scholastic field hockey website in the world, covering all aspects of the American field hockey community, from club to college, also named her Coach of the Year in December.
Shelton said she has a difficult time keeping up with the awards that are coming in. And she points to the situation surrounding her as the primary reason for them, rather than anything excessively special she did.
“I’ve won a bunch of awards over the years,” she said. “I do have a resume that goes way back. But I think I’m getting these awards now because I’m retiring. I did win the state title, but my teams won 19 of them before and I didn’t get all this.”
Shelton, who has framed photographs on her home office wall of every one of the teams she coached, led her teams to state titles in 1979-1981, 1986-1987, 1992-1995, 1997-2000, 2003, 2005-2009, and 2011.
“I did not get into this profession for awards,” she said. “This is the furthest thing from my mind. The first two years, I had three total wins. Winning titles were the last thing I thought about. But having won 20, it’s a good number to quit on. You go out on a win, on a great finale at 20. But the girls have always been the most important thing for me.”