Since returning in 2003 for her second stint as the head coach of the Saint Joseph's University field hockey team, Michelle Finegan has guided the Hawk program to new heights. Finegan’s return coincided with the program’s most successful stretch in 20 years, as Saint Joseph’s recorded five consecutive seasons with double-digit wins (2004-2008) for just the second time in its history.
In 2011, Finegan presided over the Hawks’ return to campus as the brand-new, state-of-the-art Ellen Ryan Field opened on September 24. The Hawks notched their first win on the new pitch a few weeks later, toppling rival Villanova, 3-2 in overtime, on October 12.
A two-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, Finegan has notched more wins than any coach in program history. Taken alone, either of her two stints at Saint Joseph’s would put her atop the all-time list; combined, Finegan has won nearly three times as many games as her nearest competitor. She led the Hawks to the Atlantic 10 Tournament in the first seven seasons after her return, including appearances in the championship game in 2006 and 2007. She earned the 100th win of her career in a 3-2 win over La Salle on October 19, 2003; exactly four years later, a 6-0 victory over West Chester marked her 100th win on Hawk Hill.
Finegan returned to Hawk Hill after spending seven seasons as the head coach at Lehigh University. She previously guided the SJU program for six years, earning both conference and regional Coach of the Year honors after leading the Hawks to both the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament titles in 1995.
One of the most respected names in the game, Finegan built the SJU program into one of the Mid-Atlantic's best during her first stint as head coach. After spending her first three years retooling the team, the Hawks went 37-22-2 over her final three seasons. She capped her run at SJU in 1995 by leading the program to the best season in its history. That year, the Hawks won both the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament titles on their way to a school-record 16 wins and a #17 national ranking in the final poll. It was the natural culmination of Finegan’s rebuilding efforts as the Hawks had qualified for the A-10 Tournament in three of her final four seasons before she took over the head coaching position at Lehigh.
An excellent player at both the collegiate and national levels, Finegan was a standout defensive player at the University of Delaware (1978-81), helping the Blue Hens place third in the nation as a junior. She was a member of the United States National Team from 1981-86 and was an alternate on the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team that won the bronze medal in Los Angeles. She came out of retirement as a player in 1993 to start for the U.S. National Team that placed fifth at the Intercontinental Cup and qualified the U.S. for the 1994 World Cup.
Actively involved with the United States Field Hockey Association for more than two decades, Finegan has played a role in developing players throughout the nation since the inception of the USFHA Futures Program. She has also served as head coach of the Pennsylvania Pride in the USFHA Summer League.
A 1984 graduate of the University of Delaware, Finegan earned her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. She resides in Buckingham, Pa., with her husband, John, and five children.