Have you heard about the drought? Not that drought. The other drought. No amount of Gatorade or sweat or tears can replenish Southern California’s dry supply of qualified girls’ lacrosse coaches during what may be the most pivotal preseason yet. We are in a drought, and it’s not new news.
Newport Harbor, Mater Dei, Tustin, and El Toro, have issued calls for girls’ coaches via MaxLaxOC.com. More teams are actively seeking staff as well, such as Mission Viejo and Laguna Hills. The Drought is county-wide. The lacrosse coaches needed to water the sport are as scarce as our actual water supply. Several factors contribute to this, but the main cause is mysterious. At one school, a seasoned coach might need a successor. For another school, the qualified potential coach is already attending college and working three jobs. Whatever the situation, the need for coaches presents an almost discouraging challenge.
Girls’ lacrosse has experienced challenges that the boys’ game has arguably overcome already. There are challenges to establish programs from scratch, and to earn recognition and respect as a competitive sport. Such obstacles are battled and conquered by the girls’ coaches and players who step out on the field everyday, unknowingly or knowingly fighting for a cause much bigger than themselves. For these multiple schools, the current challenge is to find staff where experience is relatively young, but in a place where increased, quality lacrosse experience in the youth is exactly what needs to be fostered.
To give insight into what a program experiences in the purgatory that is searching for a coach, MaxLaxOC talked to the coach who has been nurturing the sport longer than anyone else in the county: Laguna Hills Girls’ Head Coach Rick Hart. Coach Rick is seeking any applicants to coach with him, and eventually succeed him during the upcoming school year.
MaxLaxOC: What’s a brief history of girls’ lacrosse at Laguna Hills?
Coach Rick: Laguna Hills HS started playing girls lacrosse in 2007 with 30 girls. There were barely enough to field a JV and Varsity team. This year we will field approximately 45 girls. That doesn’t sound like much, but from a smaller enrollment school of around 1600, that is a big number. We have the normal growing pains of any new program. There were some struggling years, but some good years.
I have been the Head Coach since the start of the program. I encourage girls to strive for not only being good athletes but also great students. Our average GPA for the last 4 seasons has been a 3.56 or better.
We host two tournaments a year. Early in the season we hold a Varsity LA – OC Shootout which pits Los Angeles County schools against Orange County schools. It is a great chance for teams to play competition they would normally not have the opportunity to play. At the end of the season we host the Lax-a-pa-looza JV tournament. It lets the JV teams see how much they have improved and is open to all schools from the CIF Southern Section.
What kind of coach are you looking for?
The ideal coach would be a full time coach who has played the game before. However, playing the game is not the most critical issue. I never played or held a stick before starting to coach 8 years ago. We’re looking for someone who has confidence and leadership skills who can run a practice and manage a game. We would like someone who can be at practices enough so that the players see them as a coach, not just a substitute (when I am out for a couple of days– if that situation arises).
In what ways would the program accommodate that coach?
Our players, parents and school administration would be completely supportive. This can be a volunteer or paid position. The pay rate is the SVUSD stipend and would be pro-rated on the coach’s ability to spend time with the team.
How would you describe the people in the program?
We have a great group of players. Our returning players have a great chemistry, having been together for 2 – 4 years. We also have some very good freshman stepping into the program who have played with several of our existing players through the off seasons. Our parents are a very supportive group and will help out whenever we need them.
How does a coach apply for the job?
Contact me at Dadseight@cox.net or by phone (949-633-4405).
I will either set up a face to face interview or have a phone interview with them. From there, I will fill out a recommendation form and give to the LHHS administration. They applicant will then have an interview with our Vice Principal of Athletics and where they will receive the District Application packet. They complete the packet and the requirements (1st Aid, CPR, proof of TB test, NHFS online program, fingerprinting, and back ground check) and they are in.
The sooner they get started the better!