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After joining the University of Albany field hockey coaching staff in 2004, Andy Thornton returned for his fourth season as associate head coach and 16th overall in 2019. Thornton was promoted to the associate head coaching position on Nov. 1, 2013.  In his tenure with Phil Sykes, Thornton has had a hand in six NCAA Tournament appearances for the Danes, including the 2014 NCAA Final Four run. He has been instrumental in coaching an offense that has been ranked among the nation's leaders in points per game and goals per game. As an assistant for the five-time America East Champions, Thornton has coached three America East Rookies of the Year, two Midfielders of the Year and two Offensive Players of the Year. 

In 2014, Thornton led the U.S., Men's Indoor field hockey squad to a silver medal at the 2014 Pan-Am games in Uruguay as the team's head coach. He previously held the women's head coach position in which he led the team to a bronze medal at the Pan American Games in Venezuela in 2010 and a silver medal in Argentina in 2008.

He was named the 2004 Scottish Coach of the Year for youth boys and took Grove Academy High School to their first U-18 national title in March of 2004. Thornton was also the head coach for the women's field hockey team at Dundee University from 2002-04. In 2003 he was named the Scottish Grass Roots Coach of the Year.

As a player, Thornton was a member of the Menzieshill men's field hockey club, which competes at the top indoor and outdoor levels. Thornton has won nine national titles and played in 10 European Cups, representing Scotland. He has played in Czech Republic, Spain, Germany, France, Russia, Denmark, Austria, Scotland and Poland, winning gold, two silver and bronze European medals. Thornton has played on the Scottish outdoor and indoor senior teams, including a match against then-reigning World and Olympic Champion Germany in 2008.

In January 2010, Thornton captained Scotland at the European Championships in Poznan, Poland where the team finished fifth. In December 2008, he captained Scotland in a tri-nations tournament against England and Australia. Thornton's team won the European Indoor gold medal in the Czech Republic in 1999. He also played on Scotland's U-18, U-19 and U-21 international teams.Thornton earned a bachelor's degree in sports coaching and development from the University of Abertay in 2004.


Phil Sykes enters his 16th season as head coach of the University at Albany field hockey program in 2019. In his tenure, Sykes has guided the Great Danes to six of the last eleven America East Conference Championship titles (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018) and six NCAA Tournament berths. With his efforts, Sykes has been named America East Conference Coach of the Year three times (2008, 2009, 2014). 

In his 11th season, Sykes guided the Great Danes to a historic 2014 year on all cylinders. UAlbany won its first NCAA Tournament game on Nov. 15 in the First Round against No. 5 Wake Forest 2-1 in College Park, Md. UAlbany followed up that victory by beating regional host No. 2 Maryland in the Second Round on Nov. 16, 2-1. Those two victories sent the 2014 squad to the University's first all-time appearance in a national semifinal.  No other SUNY school in any sports program has ever made a final four in D1 athletics. 

Phil Sykes also became the first male head coach since the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Tournament was established in 1981 to appear in the NCAA Semifinals. He was named the NFHCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year ad ECAC Coach of the Year for his efforts.

The Great Danes took an all-time single season record 20 games in 2014. UAlbany won its first game against a top-10 nationally ranked opponent on Sept. 14 when the team downed No. 8 Stanford in Palo Alto 1-0. The Purple & Gold went on to achieve its highest all-time national ranking at No. 7. 

Prior to his arrival at UAlbany, Sykes stepped into a role as interim head coach at Cornell in 2003. Sykes also served as the first assistant at Towson University, as the Tigers showed dramatic improvement during Sykes' tenure, winning 10 games during the 2002 season.

Sykes has a vast amount of playing experience. At age 16, Sykes represented his country in a United States vs. Canada Challenge in Calgary, Alberta. That served as the beginning of Sykes' experience on the U.S. Junior and Senior National Teams, which included playing in the 1989 Junior World Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia. Sykes competed at the 1995 Pan American Games in Argentina, where the U.S. squad won a bronze medal. The highlight of Sykes' playing career came in the 1996 Olympics, when he played on the U.S. Olympic team.

A native of Livermore, California, Sykes retired from international competition to finish his college degree. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Hayward in 1999. He lives in Round Lake with his wife Jen.  Phil is the co-founder of ADK and serves as a current director along side Andy and Dana.

DIRECTOR, CO-FOUNDER, Master Coach: Jennifer Sykes

As the co-founder of the Adirondack (ADK) field hockey club, Jen brings a wealth of experience as a coach, administrator and physical educator. A 1998 graduate of East Stroudsburg University with a degree in Health and Physical Education, she was a four year starter and All-American in both field hockey and lacrosse. Jen has a masters in education from Canisius College and is also a certified 200 hour yoga teacher and strength and conditioning coach (CSCS).  Jen believes that field hockey should be accessible to all and is dedicated to the growth of the game.  Jen along with husband Phil were part of a group of current college coaches who played in the Adult Premier Indoor Field Hockey League.  Both played for team Philadelphia.  Jen retired from indoor at the age of 34 due to injury.  Jen has been the assistant coach for Hudson Valley's Junior Indoor Premier League Team for the past 5 years.  She travels every weekend in the winter to PA to coach in the top indoor league in the nation. A level 1 and 2 USA Certified Lacrosse coach, her professional goal is to always continue to learn and grow as a coach.  

Her top accolades included First Team All-American, PSAC Scholar Athlete, PSAC First Team Selection, ESU Scholar Athlete of the Year, and NCAA Women of the Year Nominee. Jen’s coaching experience: 5 year assistant coach at Conestoga Valley High School (2003 Lancaster/Lebanon League Champions, District and State qualifier 2003/2004), 5 year Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach University at Albany, and she spent 8 years as a Physical Educator and Field Hockey/Lacrosse Coach at Shenendehowa Central School District.  Jen is proud to be named the Head Varsity Field Hockey Coach and Physical Educator at Guilderland School District effective the Fall of 2017.  She was named Coach of the Year in 2019 following a historic run by her high school team who won it's first ever Section 2 championship.  The program had been the last place team in the Suburban Council the year before Jen took the helm.  Jen's high school coach was Lee Gerdes, a legend in the sport of field hockey who just retired after 37 years at Conestoga Valley in Lancaster, PA.  In addition, Jen's mom was a Collegiate All American Field Hockey Player.  Jen says one of the most important things about growing up playing in the Lancaster/Lebanon League in Pennsylvania was being coached and surrounded by women who fought for title 9 rights and were advocates for women in sports.  

A native of Lancaster Pennsylvania, Jen moved to the Albany NY area with husband Phil Sykes who is the Head Women’s Field Hockey Coach for the University at Albany.  Jen is a non paid director and coach in ADK.  She believes in giving back to the sport she loves so much.



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