“It was worth it!” That is how Debbie Bross described her 37-year tenure at Moravian Academy. “Working with students and athletes was a privilege and an honor.”
Debbie arrived at Moravian Academy in 1981 to teach physical education and was soon charged by then Headmaster David Devey with bolstering a fledgling field hockey program. Over her years in the classroom and on the field, she taught and impacted students in all three divisions.
“By the time I came to Moravian Academy in 1996, Debbie was already a field hockey icon,” said former Athletic Director Jim Tiernan. “Debbie has been a role model to her players and her example has led to their individual success on and off the field of play. She is always quick to share stories about the people her students have grown into and what contributions they make to their respective communities.”
Under Debbie’s leadership, Moravian Academy field hockey teams won over 500 games and brought home two state championships, first in 1984 and again in 2016. Her teams earned five Colonial League titles and six District titles during her tenure. Because of her success, in 2013 Debbie was recognized by the National Federation of State High School Associations as a coach of the year, one of just 22 such awards given out across the country.
“There was never any question as to the commitment that Debbie had to the field hockey program, the student athletes on the team, and her love for teaching and coaching,” said Athletic Director Manny Oudin. “ I also did not fully appreciate until she and I developed a stronger relationship, how much she cares deeply for our school. This passion for the field hockey program and for Moravian Academy was instrumental in the drive for the program to be successful.”
Since retiring in 2018, Debbie is enjoying spending time with husband Tom, former Moravian Academy Upper School Physics teacher, and her growing family, including granddaughters Sophie and Naomi. Daughter Emily Quinn ’04 is teaching French in the Moravian Academy Middle School. Recently married, son Matt ’06 lives in Munich, Germany, and works as an experimental researcher in the Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics Department of the Bundeswehr University Munich.
This past fall, Debbie began officiating middle school field hockey through the PIAA, seeing it as a way of giving back through teachable moments. It also affords her the opportunity to occasionally see former players cheering on their own daughters from the sidelines, which imparts a certain sense of pride.
Reflected Debbie, “It’s not all about wins and championships, but about the love of the game and how it can transform a person. Every team that I’ve worked with over the years has really clicked and these experiences transfer to their colleges and career choices and bond all of us. I think field hockey is special, but participation in any sport can change your life forever.”