As the wife of Lenoir-Rhyne's men's lacrosse coach, I have been asked countless times over the past few weeks, "How is Coach?" It has always been a difficult question to answer. Greg (my husband) and his lacrosse team just won the National Championship game in Philidelphia on May 28th by beating Mercyhurst University 20-5! It was an incredible experience and one that was 13 years in the making.
Greg started the lacrosse program at LR in 2010 and has steadily followed his vision, learned from his mistakes, and created a culture of connection and integrity among the players that culminated in them stepping onto the field for the final game feeling confident, focused, and having fun. A lot of work went on behind the scenes to create the sort of environment for Greg and his players that allowed them the mental and physical bandwidth to prepare for each game. As you probably know, when it comes to tournament time, you need to keep winning to keep playing. So, we had to take each game as it happened. There was no planning ahead. Because they were the fifth seed, they had to travel for all of their games - to Tampa, Orlando, Gaffney SC, and finally, Philadephia. Moving, feeding, and taking care of 50 young men on the road is no easy task, and the administration at LR was amazing. They provided the behind-the-scenes support that allowed the team to focus on the games and created an amazing environment for the fans and alumni who traveled to support their Bears.
On a smaller scale, navigating the last-minute logistics of getting my family to Philadelphia (from New Hampshire, Florida, New York, and NC) for the final game was only possible with the help of friends and the lacrosse "village." And then, all of a sudden, we were all there! The weather was gorgeous, the tailgate was hopping, the fan support was powerful, the family was together, and the players were on the field for their final game.
The initial face-off happened; our defense made a stop, and then another stop, then we scored and scored again and again and just kept scoring. At halftime, we were up 14-1, and I started to let myself believe that it was possible that Greg and his team might return to Hickory as National Champions. And...they did!
So, to get back to the original question, "How is Greg?" During this process, he was focused, anxious, confident, exhausted, excited, and above all else, grateful for the support he received, the trust others have in his vision, and that he gets to do what he loves to do every day of his life.