After a highly decorated tenure spanning 11 seasons at Austin Prep, head girls ice hockey coach Stephanie Wood will be departing Austin Prep to pursue college coaching opportunities. Coach Wood leaves Austin Prep after guiding the team to three Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Division 1 State Championships, and a successful transition to the New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) in 2022.
“Coming to Austin Prep was the best decision I've ever made in my career, and I am so proud of everything our program has accomplished. Seeing first-hand the incredible transformation of Austin Prep has also been remarkable, as the school continues to raise the bar and demonstrate repeatedly why it is such a remarkable institution,” Coach Wood said.
“Stephanie Wood has led Austin Prep’s girls ice hockey program through over a decade of sustained excellence,” Head of School, Dr. James Hickey said. “Her lasting impact will be felt by our current and former students for years to come, and we are grateful for her unwavering commitment to our School’s mission and proud of her accomplishments while at Austin Prep.”
Coach Wood departs Austin Prep with a 210-34-21 coaching record.
The pinnacle of Coach Wood’s tenure at Austin Prep was in 2022 when the girls ice hockey team captured the program’s third MIAA title, finishing the season a perfect 27-0-0. The 2022 championship added to the hockey team’s MIAA titles in 2016 and 2020. Coach Wood was named MIAA Division I Coach of the Year in 2016 by the Boston Globe, and New England Girls Ice Hockey Coach of the Year in 2022 by New England Hockey Journal.
“This group has cemented themselves as the most successful sports team in the history of Austin Prep athletics,” Coach Wood said, referencing the 2022 team after the championship win. “We knew the potential was there, but I didn’t know if we knew just how vast that greatness could be. It’s an incredible accomplishment for this team, but easier said than done. And to go 27-0-0, that’s a rarity in any sport. Any gender. Any level.”
In winning the 2022 state title, the Girls Ice Hockey program departed the MIAA on top, as the team joined all of Austin Prep's athletic programs in the New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) for the 2022-23 school year. In the inaugural year in the NEPSAC, the girls ice hockey team finished 15-6-3 and recently announced their commitment to join the Vaillancourt Conference within the NEPSAC beginning this upcoming year.
“Austin Prep entered the NEPSAC well positioned for success,” Director of Athletics, Pat Driscoll said. “That was due, in part, to the foundation built by the girls hockey program the decade prior. Coach Wood’s impact on Austin Prep athletics will be felt long after her departure from campus, and I am proud to have been able to partner with her on so many important initiatives.”
In departing Austin Prep, Coach Wood aims to return to the NCAA Division I level where she competed at while a student-athlete at Northeastern. “Leaving Austin Prep is such an emotional decision, but I am excited to embark on a career in coaching at the college level, as I have always wanted to be able to test my coaching abilities at the highest level. That said, this transition would not have been possible without Austin Prep, as the school has helped me grow and evolve as a coach.”
Despite her departure, Coach Wood will remain well connected with the Austin Prep community as she will serve on the hiring committee for the next girls ice hockey coach. Additionally, Austin Prep will host “Coach Wood Night” this upcoming season as an opportunity for current families, alumni and friends of the program to celebrate the countless contributions Coach Wood made to the girls ice hockey program.
“Coach Wood will forever be synonymous with Austin Prep girls ice hockey, and as she strives to advance her career at the college level, she will always remain a part of the Austin Prep family,” Associate Head of School Jonathan Pollard, who also served as Director of Athletics during part of Coach Wood's tenure, said. “While the state titles and coaching accolades are impressive, the manner in which she advanced the program and built relationships with students, families and colleagues will be Coach Wood’s ultimate contribution to Austin Prep.”
“I have loved every single moment I have been at Austin Prep and will never forget the incredible players, families, and accomplishments we've had, “Coach Wood said. “I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Hickey, Jonathan Pollard, and Pat Driscoll, as well as the entire Austin Prep community, who I consider family. I look forward to remaining a part of that family and watching the continued growth of the program.”