May 8, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

They say that the family that plays together stays together, but for University of Maryland women’s lacrosse coaches Cathy and Brian Reese, the sentiment holds true in the coaching profession, too.

Cathy, who was a two-time All-America selection as a Terrapin standout in 1995-98, is in her third season as the head coach at her alma mater, and this season she has a little extra help from her husband Brian, who is serving as the team’s volunteer assistant coach.  

Brian was an All-American defensive player for Maryland’s men’s squad in 1995-98, and is currently the head coach and general manager of the Denver Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse – a position that keeps him on the road every weekend from May through August.  

The couple has three children under the age of five – sons Riley and Brody, and daughter Cayden Elizabeth – and juggling family and careers was tough, so this season, Brian gave up his full-time job with U.S. Lacrosse, and began volunteering for the Terrapin women.

“We just thought it would be best for our family at this point that he would continue work with Denver, but ease off of work so he could spend more time with the kids,” said Cathy, who was recently named Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year.  

The family has not only benefitted from the time together, but the Terrapin coaching staff gained a knowledgeable member that brings a wealth of experience in the sport.

“The women’s game is different for him, and coaching girls is obviously different that coaching professional men, but it’s been a great experience for our team,” said Cathy.  “They have learned a lot from him in terms of actual lacrosse knowledge.  I love having a male on our staff who challenges us as coaches to bring a different dimension to the game.”

Brian has also enjoyed spending more time with his family, not to mention a stellar lacrosse season as the Terrapins have posted a perfect 19-0 record entering the NCAA Division I Championship.
“It’s been a lot of fun being able to work closely with Cathy,” said Brian.  “It’s been awesome to keep our family close together, and work with the team.  They are great girls, are really willing to learn and work really hard.  It’s been a great experience.”

Not only has Brian brought a different perspective of the game to the program, but he has also learned a lot coaching collegiate women.

“Every time you coach a different team, you learn something,” said Brian.  “With these girls, they have so much playing and being around each other that they want to go out there and win for each other.  I think one of the things I’ll take out of it that the sport is fun, the game is fun.  It’s supposed to be a good time for the student-athletes and when you make it a fun experience for everyone involved, and when you do that, the players will play their best.”

Maryland, which graduated eight starters last season, does not have a senior starter on the squad, but boasts junior Caitlyn McFadden, the ACC Player of the Year, and Karri Ellen Johnson, the league’s Rookie of the Year.  McFadden, leads the undefeated Terps with 77 points this season, while Johnson paces the ACC with 65 goals.

“This year was going to be a new look for us from top to bottom,” said Cathy.  “These girls that have stepped in have been excited to play, working hard, our team chemistry is great and they are having fun.  Our seniors, even though they may not be contributing as much in playing time, they have been great leaders for us, and I think that’s important to acknowledge.”

The second-ranked Terrapins will host Patriot League champion Colgate in the first round of the NCAA Championship on May 10.  It is the program’s 20th consecutive appearance in the postseason.  
“We did an outstanding job this season to finish 19-0, but now you put it behind you when you get into the NCAA Tournament,” said Cathy.  “It’s one and done at this point, and you’ve got to win to play.”