For many coaches, going out on a high note is the ideal way to exit a program.
Meghan Spratt actually achieved that.
Spratt stepped down as the head coach of the Central Bucks East field hockey team after leading the Patriots to the 2020 District One Class 3A title and a bid in the PIAA tournament.
“My youngest daughter, Phia (Mannino), is a senior this year and she’ll be playing at Penn State in the fall,” Spratt said. “I don’t know what the future holds for her as a freshman at a top program, but I did want the freedom to be able to go and watch her play if she has an impact.
“It’s very exciting for me because I played for Penn State for coach Char Morett and now Phia will be playing for her as well.
“My two older children also go to Penn State. Isabelle (Mannino) will be a senior in the fall and my son Dominic (Mannino) will be a junior, so this will be the only year that all three of my kids are in college at the same time, and at the same school. I still have a lot of friends and former teammates who live in that area, so I’m looking forward to visiting and spending time there.”
But that didn’t make it easy for her to say goodbye to the program she has been a part of for eight years, five as an assistant and the last three as the head coach.
“It’s so hard to leave the team,” she said. “That’s been the hardest part. Each year I get so attached to all the players and this year was so special because we won the district.
“We had an abbreviated season last year due to COVID and I don’t think anyone understood how difficult that was. Yes, it was easier on some levels but at the same time there was the pressure of having to win every game to keep season alive. There was no margin for error, and that made it so much more difficult.
“In previous seasons, you could lose a game or two in the tournament and still advance to states, but this year you had to win every game to move on. Our girls had the resilience to go ahead and win those games and get to states and I think that shows so much character.
“I definitely feel as though I’m leaving on a high note, but I also feel that there’s unfinished business. Every year I always told the team to go after a state championship and I still feel that is a possibility for them.”
The Patriots finished the 2020 campaign 13-2 overall, and 9-1 in the Suburban One League Colonial Division, their fifth consecutive league title.
Spratt’s career record was 49-11 overall as the head coach. She led CB East to the state tournament twice, reaching the quarterfinals in 2018 and bowing out in the first round last season.
She is a 1993 graduate of Central Bucks West, where she played basketball and softball in addition to field hockey. An All-American at Penn State, she graduated in 1998 with a degree in art and architecture and a minor in psychology.
She is an interior designer.
“Her youngest daughter is graduating and she wants to watch her play in college,” CB East athletic director John Reading said. “I can certainly understand that. Any parent can understand that.
“We will certainly miss her here at Central Bucks East. The job is posted and we will hopefully get some good applicants and start interviewing soon.”
The job is posted on the district website, cbsd.org, under Human Resources.
Spratt hasn’t ruled out the thought of someday returning to the sidelines.
“My assistant coach, Lori Ierubino, and I have talked about that,” she said. “We really get along well together and down the road I would definitely consider coaching again, especially with her. I don’t know if that would be coaching club, high school or even college, but I think I would like to get back into it.”
While she’s no longer at the helm, she will still be rooting for the Patriots.
“I’ll definitely go to their games, but I’ll just be spectator,” she said.