Behind the Whistle: We Are Grateful For ...

PHOTOS BY TIFFANY TAYLOR / IWLCA


As 2022 starts to wind down, we wanted to take an opportunity to reflect upon the things we are most grateful for this year.

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than allowing some of our member coaches and staff to share their gratitude? Read on to see what they had to say, and please feel free to share what you are most grateful for by leaving a reply in the comments.

I am grateful for my support system... From my wife and kids, my assistant and team members, my AD and administrators at UVA Wise, to my family and friends. When times are challenging, you all keep me going and I am grateful every day for each and every one of you. – Meg Dennehy, Head Coach, UVA Wise

I am grateful to work with passionate and fun people. I am grateful for all of my family and the joy and laughs they bring into the world. And I am most recently grateful for my new Dyson wand vacuum that, after just one use, I can tell is going to be life changing. Happy Thanksgiving! – Samantha Ekstrand, IWLCA Legal Counsel

I am thankful for my family, friends, and fellow coaching peers who have supported me as I am starting off in this career. I am grateful for every athlete I have had the opportunity to coach as they have impacted my life more than they know. I am thankful for my Ave Maria Athletics family and all the current and past women's lacrosse players who have made, and continue to make, this program special. Finally, I am grateful for my two playful pups, Bentley, and Lincoln. – Katelyn Sherman, Head Coach, Ave Maria University

I’m grateful this Thanksgiving for my friends and family and all they do to support me. I’m grateful for my wife and the home we’re making together in Ithaca. I’m grateful for my team and the joy and fun they bring... Grateful I get to do what I love every day! – Karrie Moore, Head Coach, Ithaca College

I am thankful to have a career that allows me to be a mom and coach. To my team, staff, and support staff who work hard and care deeply about one another. My kids, husband, parents, and siblings who support and cheer me on through it all. I love working at UVM and sharing my two kids with 33 incredible women every day. As my daughter likes to sing, “the girls on the bus say Go Cats Go!”  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. – Sarah Dalton Graddock, Head Coach, University of Vermont

I have gratitude for the people who have made 2022 such a fun year. From my family to my friends in coaching and so many others in the lacrosse community, this year has really been special because of the relationships. – Liz Robertshaw, IWLCA Executive Director

First of all, I am grateful for my daughter. Regardless of what the day has in store for me as a coach- I know I have my little one that is just overjoyed to have her mommy home! That keeps everything in perspective for me! I am a single mom raising my daughter on my own and the support I have from my family is unmatched! Without them I would not be able to do what I do. Thanks Mom and Dad! I am also grateful for my team and staff that inspire me each and every day. This fall has taught my team resiliency and I know we will be stronger for it in the long run. They are amazing people, and I am so lucky that my daughter has 24 role models to look up to everyday. – Kelly Buikus, Head Coach, University of the Cumberlands

I am grateful for the sense of normalcy we had this fall! It felt so awesome to build relationships in person. I'm thankful that we are back in a place of players stopping by the office to chat or that my coaching staff can join the team for breakfast in the cafe! – Liz Beville, Head Coach, Le Moyne College







I am grateful for my new budding family - a beautiful baby girl and a loving supportive husband. I am grateful that I have such a supportive family and such an inspiring lacrosse family: fellow coaches, players, and others in the lacrosse network that support and push me to be my best. Finally, I am grateful for SNOW. That's right I said it, SNOW! Grateful to go snowboarding this winter and every day I get to be on the mountain. – Nora Fallon-Oben, Head Coach, Hartwick College

Gratitude – everyday at practice we have a player start out practice stating what they are grateful for. I am grateful for being able to coach such a thoughtful team of young women who recognize and embrace the importance of having gratitude and expressing it in their everyday lives. I am grateful for those in my life that surround me with positivity and support me through tough times. I am grateful for my wife who supports me daily as I navigate through uncharted waters. I am also forever grateful for being able to live in the state of Maine, doing what I love, and being able to take full advantage of the endless outdoor opportunities it presents – there is no better feeling than being outside on the ocean or in the mountains in Maine. Thank you, mother nature. – Liz Grote, Head Coach, Bowdoin College

What I am thankful for this year is the opportunity to be a mother to my beautiful, determined, and quite precocious, son. With the window of opportunity narrowing with every passing birthday, I wasn't sure that having a child was in the cards for us - but last September I gave birth to a miracle boy. I have learned the true meaning of unconditional love and am so thankful I have to the opportunity to be a mom. I am also thankful for the opportunity to return to my lacrosse roots at the Division II level and rebuild a program with some of the most hardworking, patient and "bought-in" student athletes I have ever coached. Balancing being a new mom and a "new" coach certainly had its challenges, however both experiences lead to some of the most rewarding times of my life. Cheers to 2022 and I look forward to 2023! – Carissa Medeiros, Head Coach, Southern New Hampshire State University

I am grateful for the practice of gratitude. This season our team partnered with Grateful Peoples, a non-for-profit that “was founded on the idea that if we focus on getting the most out of the present moment, we set up the best possible foundation for our future.” We spent some time on a Zoom with the company founder hearing about his story and the work he is doing with Grateful Peoples and everyone was given a gratitude journal to use. The simple practice of writing down two or three things a day you are grateful for was a little strange at first and took some getting used to. After a few weeks it became habit and I now find myself looking for things daily to be grateful for. I am taking note of positivity in small moments that I would have otherwise looked past, and I catch myself reframing the challenges of daily life in the positive rather than the negative a little more often. I also found my team adopted a more grateful and positive attitude this spring. Their willingness and ability to see the positive and step back with perspective on the challenges they were faced with was noticeable. I also heard them saying “thank you” a bit more often to the people around them, teammates, coaches, bus drivers, game day staff; it became a phrase that we heard often over the smallest of things rather than reserved for big obvious things. It was not a change that happened over night, but little by little, day by day, the skill of practicing gratitude is now a bit easier for my team and me. And for that I am very grateful! – Michelle Smith, Head Coach, Babson College

I am extremely thankful for the support system I have and the ways in which I have grown over the last year with their guidance and encouragement. I am thankful for the lifelong friends I have found and my awesome family my Savior has blessed me with. I was so fortunate enough to add the lacrosse community to my circle and I’m excited to see what lies ahead! – Tiffany Taylor, IWLCA Manager of Communications and Marketing

I am grateful for each one of my student-athletes and their individual unique qualities that make our team us! I am grateful for the trust that each of my student-athlete’s families have placed in me and my staff. I am grateful for the friends and colleagues who have become family throughout my coaching career. I am grateful for the unwavering support and love of my family, especially my husband, Chuck. – Kelly Gallagher, Head Coach, University of Tampa

In a year full of life changes and new challenges, I am most grateful for my family. First and foremost, I am grateful for my little ray of sunshine, Santino. Thank you for giving me a greater purpose. I am thankful for the endless support from my husband, Greg. From hitting the recruiting trail with us this summer, to being a single parent every weekend this fall, I am forever grateful for his support of my career. For my parents, especially my mom, who spent six straight days in the Hilton Anatole last week... thank you to anyone who took the time to chat with her at the breaks and socials, she can’t wait for Florida next year! For my Ohio State family, I am grateful every day to be a Buckeye for life! Finally, our IWLCA family – I could not be more thankful for the relationships that I have built through this great community. – Gabby Capuzzi Solomon, Associate Head Coach, Ohio State University

My people. Everyone has a group of people, people that you can lean on during the tough times in coaching, that lift you up when you win in coaching, and the ones that can guide you during the challenging times in coaching. The IWLCA Convention is always a week of relief for me; I get to see my people, and I am always so thankful for the time spent with them. Time spent, learning, growing, laughing, planning, and connecting (if you can’t tell I’m a Convention stan). It’s another layer of inspiration and motivation to tackle the upcoming spring, it reminds you; you aren’t alone. I always leave Convention feeling comforted and happy to be in this profession, that gave me such a supportive group of people. Happy Thanksgiving! – Kirkland Lewis, Head Coach, Furman University

Most Recent

Long Path to Glory: Siblings Alyssa and Kyle Long Both Undefeated Champs

Alyssa (North Carolina) and Kyle (Maryland) both helped their teams make NCAA history.

A Comeback for the Ages: An Oral History of North Carolina vs. Northwestern

This one had it all — a lightning delay, goalie redemption, an unlikely hero and more.

Why We Chose Cailin Bracken as the December 2022 Cover Star

Bracken's "A Letter to College Sports" helped kickstart mental health conversations.

Out of Darkness, a Light: Behind Cailin Bracken's Letter to College Sports

How Bracken became the voice of a mental health movement in college sports.







Twitter Posts