Hartford High Hires A Hartford to Coach

Valley News Staff Writer
Sunday, February 25, 2018

Hartford High School has hired a familiar name to take over its girls lacrosse program. No, the new staff member hasn’t been a part of the Hurricanes’ program before, but with the moniker Heather Hartford, she should fit right in.

Hartford, the coach, is a Springfield, Vt., native and 1986 graduate of Colby-Sawyer College. She was a 2012 inductee into that institution’s athletic hall of fame and played volleyball, basketball and lacrosse for the Chargers.

Hartford helped start youth lacrosse and then the high school version in Georgetown, Mass., north of Boston and east of Lawerence. She began coaching the high school Royals upon their 2003 debut and was 70-42-1 before retiring in 2011. She told a local news site at the time that she was stepping down to be able to see her children play lacrosse in high school and college.

Hartford takes over for three-year predecessor Jen Wheatley, who resigned following last season because of health concerns. Wheatley went 8-41 but was the program’s fifth coach in six years and inherited a team that had gone 8-78 the previous six seasons, including a winless campaign in 2014.

The Hurricanes are a combined 15-99 during their last nine campaigns, and athletic director Jeff Moreno said last year that they have never posted a winning record during what’s closing in on a 20-year history.

Wheatley said via email on Sunday that her health caused her to miss some practices and one game last season for Hartford, which went 6-11, its best record in more than a decade. The eighth-seeded Hurricanes defeated Woodstock in the first round of the Vermont Division II playoffs, the program’s first postseason victory since 2008.

A 2006 Hartford graduate who helped the Hurricanes reach the state semifinals as a senior, Wheatley previously coached in the town’s recreation ranks and worked to link those teams and the high school program after moving up.

“Coaching these girls is so important to me, but I can’t do that to the best of my potential … if I’m not completely healthy,” Wheatley wrote. “It’s what’s best for me and the program right now.”

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.