Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Sept. 3, 2019 — A pair of departures from an unusual place

Judy Baxter and Beth Patterson are two of the best scholastic coaches you probably have never heard of. That is, unless you ran into Eden Prairie (Minn.) on a lacrosse pitch.

Two decades ago, these two women started a lacrosse program in suburban Minneapolis, and it has burgeoned and grown in the years since. These coaches singlehandedly ignited the sport to where it is today: a sanctioned sport by the state governing body of scholastic sports, with nine state titles and 16 appearances in the state title game.

Last week, they announced that they would be stepping away from the program they birthed and nurtured for 20 years.

Baxter’s coaching and playing resumes are particularly remarkable. As Judy Turner, she was a stalwart at Lehigh University, first as a player, then as a coach for both the field hockey and lacrosse teams. She somehow found a way to be part of the U.S. women’s national team pool, and was one of the last cuts from the 1980 Olympic Team, which didn’t play in Moscow because of the Western boycott.

And back in 2003, Baxter returned to Lehigh to coach the varsity team, even as she and Patterson were coaching the Eden Prairie club program.

Now, it seems, both will be turning their attention to their boys, who also play lacrosse in Minnesota. Somehow, I think they’ll be well-prepared every game, just like the girls’ teams over the years.

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