The Lehigh women’s lacrosse team stepped up to the line this week to run its fall fitness testing, but for the first time in four years, alumna Allison LaBeau, ’17, wasn’t stepping up to the line with them.
Instead, she was standing on the sideline with a stopwatch, evaluating the players with the rest of the coaching staff.
LaBeau was hired as the new assistant coach for the team following her graduation in May. Former associate head coach Shannon McHugh left the team and Sammy Cermack, the former assistant coach, was promoted to fill that position.
“(Labeau’s) vision for coaching was very detailed,” coach Jill Redfern wrote in an email. “She was able to clearly articulate her strengths and why she would be a valuable member of our coaching staff.”
LaBeau had a comprehensive career as a Mountain Hawk. She was a two-time captain and a two-time Patriot League major award winner, garnering Rookie of the Year in 2014 and Attacker of the Year in 2016. She is the school record holder for career assists (105) and assists in a season (48).
LaBeau ranks third in Lehigh history with 257 career points, and fifth in school history with 152 career goals.
“I had such a good experience at Lehigh and with Lehigh lacrosse in general,” LaBeau said. “I had a really good career here and good relationships with my coaches. From freshman year, my very first season, I just loved everything that came along with this program, so being back here is like being home.”
LaBeau said she was always able to lead by example through her hard work and competitiveness. But, when she was elected captain in her junior and senior years, the role required her to become more vocal.
“As a player, she was amazing, an unreal athlete,” fifth-year senior Julianne D’Orazio said. “She was always more of like a leader by example, but then junior and senior year, she really stepped up out of her shell and was finding her voice, and that will only help in her transition into becoming a coach.”
The transition from playing on the team to coaching has not been difficult for LaBeau. She said having experience as a team captain prepared her for the leadership role and that coaching has been more about learning the ins and outs of running a Division I lacrosse program.
D’Orazio said as a former player, LaBeau has cultivated relationships with current players on the team, and this will allow her to coach more effectively.
“Knowing the culture of our team and having been immersed in it helps so much,” D’Orazio said. “She already knows a lot of the players, she knows their tendencies, she knows their strengths and weaknesses and how they respond to feedback which is so important as a coach.”
Although LaBeau won’t be on the field as a Mountain Hawk again, she is excited to see where the new role as a coach takes her, and she is optimistic about how the team will change and adjust with new members and new leadership.
“Having graduated, I’m going to wish I was on the field so bad,” LaBeau said. “But I’m going to feel success through the team, through the individuals. I think that is going to be a new, exciting feeling that I’ll be able to experience on the sideline.”