RICHMOND, Va. – There's one thing for certain about the newest program to join the VCU Athletics family, there won't be a lack of passion and enthusiasm when it comes to the VCU women's lacrosse program.
Head Coach Jen O'Brien announced the addition of two of the bright, young coaches to her staff in Tara Coyle and Meg Decker. Both were four-year collegiate stars and will join the Rams this spring in preparation for the opening season of VCU Lacrosse in 2015-16.
"I am beyond excited to add Tara and Meg to our coaching staff. They are bright, young coaches with endless amounts of passion and enthusiasm for the game. We all share similar philosophies and goals for the program and I believe we will compliment each other very well," O'Brien said. "What stood out the most was Tara and Meg's belief in where we can take this program and recognizing what it will take to get there. It was clear in speaking with both coaches that they recognize the well-being and success of the student-athletes and program as a whole, is more important than any individual."
Coyle brings a life-long passion for lacrosse, which was displayed during her four-year career at the University of Richmond. She was an All-Conference midfielder and served as the Spiders' captain during her senior season in 2013. She also served as a coach for the Blue Chip Recruiting Camp and the Long Island Yellow Jackets Lacrosse Club back home in Farmingdale, N.Y.
"For a young coach, Tara brings a great deal of real world and coaching experience to the table. Lacrosse has always been a major passion of Tara's and I am thrilled to be working alongside someone who is so eager to learn. Tara was a leader and quarterback on the defensive end of the field for the University of Richmond and we will utilize her experiences as she works with our midfield and defensive units," O'Brien said. "It is a major bonus that Tara is so familiar and fond of the city of Richmond. Living so close to campus, she has a great understanding of the VCU culture and appreciates what makes us unique. I also look forward to taking advantage of the tremendous relationship Tara has maintained with her hometown community of Farmingdale, NY, home to one of the top high school programs in the country. Tara will no doubt be a phenomenal role model for our student-athletes and quickly become an integral part of the VCU community."
"I am humbled to be a part of the inaugural VCU Women's Lacrosse Coaching staff. A big thank you to Ed McLaughlin, the search committee, and the entire VCU family for their warm welcome and support," Coyle added. "I am beyond excited to stand alongside Jen and Meg to start the legacy of VCU Women's Lacrosse. It is truly a rare opportunity and honor to contribute to the winning culture of VCU Athletics."
Decker is not a stranger to start-up lacrosse programs as she started her collegiate career as an original member of the inaugural Navy Women's Lacrosse Team in 2008. After earning Rookie of the Year and All-American Accolades at Navy, Decker transferred to Loyola to finish her career with the Greyhounds, earning All-Conference accolades and helping her team to the 2011 NCAA Quarterfinals. Recently, Decker has served as the Head Coach of the Flash Club Women's Lacrosse squad in Tustin, California, as well as the Director of the Whirlwind Lacrosse Tournament in Newport Beach, California.
"It was evident in our first conversation that Meg has a great deal to offer our program both on and off the field, the variety of experiences Meg has had will no doubt serve our program well. Her participation on the inaugural Navy Women's Lacrosse Team stood out as we look to build our own competitive program here at VCU," O'Brien said. "Meg's critical understanding of the game, in addition to her genuine energy and endless enthusiasm, will quickly impact our student-athletes and challenge those around her to excel. Throughout her playing career, Meg worked to become dominant on the draw circle and a massive threat on the offensive end of the field. We will directly apply her talents and skills as she works with our attacking unit and draw team. Similar to Tara, we are excited to utilize the lacrosse relationships Meg has established all across the country."
"It is an incredible opportunity to work under Jen and alongside Tara in building this program. I am looking forward to growing our future student athletes as lacrosse players and more importantly, as young women," Decker added. "VCU is a quality school in a gorgeous city. Add the fastest growing sport in the U.S. to that mix, backed by an incredibly supportive Athletic Department, and there is no limit to where this program can go. Thank you to VCU for inviting me on the journey!"