GVSU club lacrosse welcomes new coaches
Former players link up to fill women's coaching void
For years, Dan Teskey diligently coached the Grand Valley State women’s lacrosse club, compiling above-average records and improving each year. When Teskey received a job offer from Madonna University that he couldn't pass up, he left the place he spent many years at to start something new at another.
He did not, however, leave the team empty handed. Teskey asked his assistant coach, Kate Mitteer, if she would be interested in taking the head coaching job and, before consulting even her own husband, she accepted.
After a few days, Mitteer was approached by former GVSU lacrosse teammate, Kara Hogan, about the assistant coach job, and Mitteer brought her on.
“She helps out a lot so I don’t even consider her an assistant,” Mitteer said.
Hogan said she went for the job as a way to get her fix of working with the sport she loves, and that she wanted to give back to the program.
“When I heard that the old coach had received a full-time coaching job, I knew the opportunity was going to arise where they would need a coach. I was both excited for him, and for the potential to give back to the team that gave me so much while I was a college athlete.”
With 2016 being the first year as head coaches of the team, there will be a learning curve to handle as far as balancing playing time, schemes, practices, drills and the like, though Hogan believes they aren’t too far off from complete comfort.
“I feel that Katie and I both have a bit of an upper hand coming on to the coaching staff, because we still know the senior class. Katie is familiar with some of the girls (from being an assistant). We know the dynamics of what it’s like to be a student and an athlete, and also previously have put the time in. We understand that importance of school, and the trouble of balancing out that with a sport.”
Mitteer already knows how minutes will be divided among the athletes, and it’s a relatively simple answer -- evenly.
“I always had a hard time when I was a player with playing time, so we’re going to keep rotating people in and out and we’re not really going to have a starting line," she said. "I want all the girls to get that feeling of starting a game because it truly is amazing.”
With such a big team – 25 players – things can get difficult as far as managing the players' minutes and roles, but at least by now, the new coaches know each competitor's name.
Mitteer isn’t too worried about practice planning and coaching the tactical side of the game. She cited both her and Hogan’s player careers as reasons to be optimistic for coaching and player development. Hogan always played on offense, while Mitteer was a defender.
Mitteer and Hogan want nothing more than to observe the growth in their student-athletes, but having the records they set as players for GV would be icing on the cake.
"For the team, I expect to go really far. Everyone is pushing hard towards nationals and it’s very possible we get there. When I was a player, we made it to the second round of postseason play, and I think this team can beat that.”
The Lakers open their season on Feb. 5 against Ferris State.