UNC’s Shelton retiring as 10-time NCAA field hockey champion

The Tar Heels' coach will end her 42-year run in Chapel Hill

CHAPEL HILL — UNC field hockey coach Karen Shelton is retiring after a 42-year run that ended with the Tar Heels going unbeaten to claim an NCAA-record 10th national championship.

The school announced Shelton’s retirement Wednesday. She is the winningest coach in the sport’s history, with 745 victories, while her 10 NCAA Division I titles are tied for the most ever by any female coach with Stanford women’s tennis coach Lele Forood.

UNC (21-0) beat Northwestern 2-1 in November for the crown, marking the Tar Heels’ fourth in five seasons, with three unbeaten records.

Shelton earned her first win at UNC in September 1981 while still playing for the U.S. national team, including as a starter for the squad that won bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. She is a member of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame for her playing career.

The school honored Shelton in 2018 by naming its new stadium after her, making it the only campus facility named for a female coach.

Shelton will remain coach until the school hires her successor.