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March 18, 2016 — The UWLX is making a splash with its coaching choices

We are about 10 weeks out from the inaugural match weekend of United Women’s Lacrosse, which will feature four teams of postcollegiate players representing Baltimore, Long Island, Boston, and Philadelphia.

And much like their bretheren in Major League Lacrosse, the teams’ four coaches are taken from the college ranks.

The biggest name of the four announced coaches is Jen Adams, the greatest women’s lacrosse player who ever lived, who currently coaches at Loyola. The four-time champion from Maryland is going to coach the Baltimore team.

Two other coaches are also part of the Maryland legacy. Missy (Holmes) Doherty was a defender on three NCAA championship teams for head coach Cindy Timchal, and helped the Terps to their record 50-game win streak. The current Penn State head coach will be coaching the Philadelphia team.

Amy Patton, the Dartmouth coach, lettered in lacrosse and field hockey at Maryland. The veteran coach will be coaching the Boston/New England franchise.

Finally, Shannon Smith, the first high-school player to exceed the 500-goal mark, will be coaching Long Island. The Northwestern graduate is also the current Hofstra head coach.

“Each of these four coaches brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience that is not only key to the development of players, but also will lay the groundwork for the success of the UWLX,” UWLX Commissioner Michele DeJuliis said in a press release. “They share our vision of establishing a league for women to go beyond their college lacrosse careers and will be at the forefront of empowering female athletes to play forward their talents.”

I think it was a bit of a risk for the UWLX to recruit current college coaches for their four franchises. I’ve noticed that Major League Lacrosse has gone away a bit from current college coaches, for whom the professional job would be seen as a part-time position. Today, about half the head coaches in MLL have made it their primary coaching occupation.

But, I have also noticed how the coaching of the various USA Field Hockey adult competitions — from the original USFHA Summer League in 1998 to the current Women’s National Championship — have gone from full-time head coaches to top assistants to a mixture of both.

In starting the league, I’m think DeJuliis was willing to take the risk to get “name” coaches to increase the buy-in from the player pool and from potential sponsors. And with these four leaders, that buy-in should be strong.

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