Terri-Jean Wilkinson has taken on the role of head coach of the Maine Central Institute field hockey team for the 2022 season. Credit: Courtesy of Terri-Jean Wilkinson

Terri-Jean Wilkinson knows she has big shoes to fill.

The new Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield field hockey coach is replacing Nancy Hughes, who guided the Huskies to 135 wins, two state championships and four regional titles in her 14 seasons.

The Huskies have strung together seven consecutive winning seasons with a combined regular season record of 74-22. The team won the Class C state championship in 2015 and the Class B state championship in 2017.

Wilkinson knows the high caliber of coach she is replacing because she played for Hughes at MCI before serving as Hughes’ assistant coach for eight years. She inherits a team that last year went 15-2 and won the Class C North championship before losing to Winthrop 3-2 in the state final.

This year, Wilkinson plans to pick up where the team left off, only with one more win — in the state championship finals.

Wilkinson indicated that she will have a strong starting lineup and said “we have some young players with a lot of potential.”

She had only 18 players between varsity and JV but expects her team to be solid in the back and tenacious up front in the circle.

During the team’s summer program players lifted weights, worked on their conditioning and played twice a week at Thomas College in Waterville.

Since she coached several of the players in middle school, Wilkinson feels confident that she knows what they are capable of doing on the field.

She added that the upperclassmen have provided “excellent leadership.”

Wilkinson began coaching at the Warsaw Middle School in Pittsfield in 2016.

“I was able to feed [Hughes] players who led her to some amazing success,” said Wilkinson, who stepped down during the COVID-19 pandemic. .

Wilkinson played four years of field hockey at MCI and also played basketball and softball her first two years before devoting herself to just field hockey.

She attended Hesser College in New Hampshire but didn’t play field hockey.

“I kick myself in the butt now for not following that passion I have for field hockey [at Hesser],” she said.

Hughes left coaching to spend more time with her family, Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson said she is blessed to have one of her best friends and her former high school teammate Raegan Ward as her assistant coach. Former MCI and Husson University of Bangor player Victoria Friend is also assisting.

Wilkinson and husband Jared have two sons, Landon and Evan.

MCI will open at home against Foxcroft Academy on Aug. 31.