He left that to his kid sister, Cathy, who’d go on to play both ice hockey and field hockey for RPI.
But back in 2001, McCann, a fresh-from-Springfield College 22-year-old got a job teaching physical education at Hastings High and, in turn, was given the field hockey head coaching job.
Hastings had previously only had a modified (middle school) program.
And so it was meshing of brand new coach with brand new team.
Many calls to Cathy followed.
“I didn’t know much. I definitely wasn’t Mr. Field Hockey,” McCann recalled.
That was 1,000 or more whistle-blows ago.
For the past 10 years McCann has conducted post-season practices at Hastings, January-mid-May each Thursday before school.
Two yearrs ago, he launched the January-March, indoor Southern Westchester Field Hockey League, out of Elmsford.
Last season, it included high school teams from Hastings, Sleepy Hollow, Valhalla and Bronxville.
But now, with his wife, Jessica. a Brewster High guidance counselor and Iraq War Naval veteran, expecting their third child, McCann has decided to make his 13th field hockey season his last.
“I just feel it’s time to slow down a little bit,” said McCann, who gave up coaching varsity indoor track after seven seasons in 2011 but who continues to coach girls lacrosse.
Don’t expect the Yellow Jackets to reward McCann with a field hockey championship in a league that includes Mamaroneck and Scarsdale. But they should improve on last year’s three-win season.
“It’s just experience. They all played last year. They’ll should all be inherently better than they were last year,” said McCann (pictured sharing a laugh with Nanuet coach Karen Leitner during a recent scrimmage).
His 15-player squad is still young—starters including four seniors, two juniors and five sophomores.
Those five started as freshmen last year, leading McCann to describe Hasting’s three wins as a surprise.
Asked about youth field hockey programs feeding into his team, he joked, “I already have one. It’s called my varsity team.”
But McCann is expecting a big year from at least one of those youngsters. Sophomore Lucy Sedky was one of only two freshman in Section 1 to gain honorable mention All-Section honors last year.
Sedky, a speedster, who was a state-qualifier in indoor track, will play center midfield.
Scoring for the Yellow Jackets may be by committee but McCann figures by season’s end his top scorer could be sophomore forward Alicea Kim, who started last year.
All-League honoree Jamie Katz, a senior, will anchor Hasting’s defense.
Win or lose, McCann seems to be content.
“A lot of games that we’ve lost were nail-biters,” he said. “A lot we won we probably shouldn’t have.. I enjoyed my time here—just seeing the kids get better, seeing the commitment level go through the roof.”
And the coach got better, of course.
Cathy is now married (it’s Cathy Hotchkiss), has two children and lives in Maine.
She no longer plays either style of hockey.
And she no longer fields calls from her brother, seeking advice about the grass/artificial turf version of the game.
“At this point, I hope I know more about it than she does,” McCann remarked.
Hastings opens Tuesday (Sept. 10) at Sleepy Hollow.