• Dan Russoman

Dot Cartica recalled fondly


From left, Jackie Kincaid, Cassie Kincaid, Dot Cartica, Maddie  Morano and Doobie Morano pose following an Eastern Regional High School game during the 2015 season. (Courtesy Photo)

HAMMONTON—Few local figures impacted the sports landscape of Hammonton like Dot Cartica, who died last week at the age of 90 [see obituary].


Cartica starred as an athlete at Hammonton High School in the 1940s, then excelled as a coach for decades at St. Joseph High School, leaving behind a legacy few in town can match.


She started St. Joseph’s field hockey program in 1971 and led the Wildcats to 14 Cape Atlantic League championships.


Cartica earned several Coach of the Year honors during her long career and was inducted into the New Jersey Interscholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1993. In a 23-year coaching career she compiled a career record of 254-52-65.


Cartica was beloved by her players and students, many of whom called her “Ma.”


John DeMarco, who served as an assistant coach with Cartica at St. Joseph before taking over as head coach when Cartica retired in 1996, fondly recalled his field hockey mentor.


“I learned everything I know about field hockey from Dot. All my sisters played for her at St. Joe and I was around her my whole life. Even after she retired, she would come out to the games and we talked all the time,” DeMarco said.


DeMarco went on to win more than 300 games as St. Joseph’s field hockey coach, and he always gave credit to Cartica.


“I would never have had the success I had without her. She always supported me and the program, Like I said, I learned everything from her. Even late in my career, when other teams were doing different things, I still coached my team to play the way she taught me. We always played that way and with that same approach on the field,” DeMarco said.


A photo of Dot Cartica from the 1979 St. Joseph High School yearbook is captioned: “Coach Cartica takes on the stance of confidence.” Her field hockey team was the 1978 Cape Atlantic Champions. (Courtesy Photo)

Like many, DeMarco talked about Cartica’s friendly demeanor and her sharp wit.


“She would always sing these songs and they were so much fun because she would find a way to work everyone’s name into it and find a rhyme to go with their name. I loved those songs,” DeMarco said.


Doobie Morano played for Cartica in the early 1980s and reflected on what Cartica meant to her during and after high school.


“Coach Cartica handed me a field hockey stick in ninth grade. She was the best teacher, coach and mentor a young girl could ever wish for. She became such a dear lifelong friend and one of my true role models. Dot has already landed in a much greater place and heaven is a little bit brighter because of it,” Morano said.


Jackie Kincaid, Cartica’s goddaughter, remembered Cartica as more than just a coach.


“Coach Cartica, ‘Mrs. C,’ ‘Ma,’ ‘Dottie,’ ‘Aunt Dot,’ whatever name she was answering to, she made sure it was always done with a smile. She served as a mentor to so many young adults at an important point in each of their lives. She was a coach, a director of the musicals, a teacher and a friend to many,” Kincaid said.


“Dot was not only my godmother and my coach, but my mentor and my forever friend. While she impacted my life in many ways, my children would proudly say the same. She has made them better students, individuals and even taught my youngest to love the game of hockey just like she did. Over the past few days, Dot has been discussed by so many and the common thread is telling a story about her with a smile. Her legacy will surely live on and that smile will surely be missed,” Kincaid said.


A church visitation for Cartica was held on Tuesday, June 22 at St. Anthony of Padua Hall in Hammonton. Donations in Dottie’s Memory may be made to AtlantiCare Hospice 6550 Delilah Rd., STE 210, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234, St. Mary of Mount Carmel Parish 226 French St, Hammonton, NJ 08037, or the Atlantic County SPCA 334 Steelmanville Rd, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234.