Robert Thornhill, a science teacher at Leesville, has recently accepted the position as assistant coach of the women’s lacrosse team for the 2016-2017 season. Although Mr. Thornhill does not have any prior affiliations with women’s lacrosse, he is eager to learn and help the program grow.
The women’s lacrosse program started in 2013 with Jack Rogers, Leesville’s athletic director, as the head coach. Since then, the team has moved through different coaches and, as the 2017 season edged closer, the team found themselves without an assistant coach. While this might not sound like a big deal since ultimately all a team needs is a head coach, which the girls did have, without an assistant coach the girls would not be able to have a junior varsity team as well.
Fortunately, after hard work of searching for an assistant coach, Lindsay Bateman, Leesville senior, stumbled upon Mr. Thornhill.
Mr. Thornhill agreed to coach the junior varsity team for the 2017 season. To show their appreciation for his help, on Thursday, February 23, the team gifted coach Thornhill his very own brand new lacrosse stick.
Extremely grateful for his help, the girl’s excitement grew again because they knew a jv team could be once again. “Mr. Thornhill came to help this team without the knowledge of the sport. Without him we wouldn’t have been able to build the program and allow more girls to play the sport. He adds positivity to our practices and is always supportive,” said Erin Olivera, Leesville junior and a member on the women’s varsity lacrosse team, via text.
The girls first lacrosse game originally scheduled for Tuesday was postponed to Wednesday, March 1. Both varsity and junior varsity will take on Broughton at home for their first regular season game with coach Karen Fegely and coach Robert Thornhill on the sidelines. While the closest Mr. Thornhill has come to lacrosse is the drink LaCroix, he’s eager to experience his first real lacrosse game.
Although this is Thornhill’s first time coaching, he hopefully plans to continue coaching the junior varsity team in seasons to come. As the team grows, Thornhill sees this as a great opportunity to watch the girls grow together and appreciate the game of lacrosse.
“So for me, my main goal is that I get some experience coaching and develop some positive relationships with the students on the team. Also it would be awesome if we could get better at lacrosse, not necessarily meaning like we win but just means that we have some confidence in what we’re doing so that hopefully all these girls will play again next year and I’ll coach again next year and we’ll start with a lot more of a sure footing,” said Thornhill.