Today, the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) girls’ lacrosse championship game is scheduled to be played at the University of Maryland, weather permitting.
In the coaching boxes for the two teams is going to be a relative rarity in the United States: two male head coaches battling for the title.
Of course, when it comes to Michael Haight of Olney Good Counsel (Md.) and Rick Sofield of Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.), this isn’t the first time around for them. These two coaches met in the WCAC title match in 2013 and 2014.
In the ongoing debate about men being offered coaching spots for women’s collegiate sports teams in everything from swimming to basketball to field hockey, the presence of men on the sideline of scholastic girls’ lacrosse teams has raised eyebrows. It has gotten to the point where press releases and statements by officials of the United Women’s Lacrosse League emphasize the “by women, for women” ethic behind the league — as well as the fact that the coaching and managing staffs for all four teams are all women.
The discussion over gender and coaching, however, should not mask the fact that both Haight and Sofield are extremely smart people. Haight, before coaching at Good Counsel, was a molecular geneticist for a biotech firm. Sofield graduated from Harvard in 1991.
Each have come into the game of lacrosse in their own way. They figured out their own tactics and strategies and built their programs into amongst the best playing in the United States. They are not afraid to test themselves against the best competition available; for the last two years, both teams have scheduled the nation’s most dominant girls’ lacrosse program, Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.), which is also coached by a male.
Should be a great final. If you’re in the area, go see the game.