First to Convention Radcliffe Hopes Team Follows Suit
Coach Deanna Radcliffe wants her South Lyon (Mich.) High School girls’ lacrosse team to be first. No surprise given that competitive desire still burns in most former NCAA Division I athletes.
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But Radcliffe has turned that desire into a quest for knowledge, gaining Level 1 certification through US Lacrosse’s Coaching Education Program and becoming the very first person to register for the 2012 US Lacrosse National Convention, presented by Champion, back when registration opened Aug. 1, 2011. She’ll join roughly 5,000 coaches, officials, administrators and fans in Philadelphia Jan. 13-15 for the lacrosse world’s largest professional development and networking event.
"I liked seeing what other schools were doing as far as drills, and how to adjust instructions for my girls that are either advanced or not as advanced," Radcliffe said of her experience at the 2011 convention in Baltimore. "The sessions gave a variety of tips, and I learned ways to approach teamwork to take back to them."
The convention’s move to the City of Brotherly Love for 2012-14 allows Radcliffe a bit of a homecoming. She grew up in Collegeville, Pa., and played at Temple University under former coach Kim Ciarrocca. Radcliffe moved to Michigan in 2006, but she’s certainly not alone in making pilgrimages to an event that’s become the unofficial start of the season.
"A lot of my friends are now coaches, so it’s great to see us all together, bounce ideas off each other and learn from each other," Radcliffe said. "I’ve slowly been getting more coaches and officials from Michigan to the convention."
Not unlike other Eastern transplants with long histories in the game (Radcliffe began playing in seventh grade), she’s done her best to increase playing opportunities and improve the lacrosse experience in her new community. Radcliffe had an immediate impact on a once-struggling South Lyon program, helping the Lions to a winning record at 8-7-1 in her first season of 2006. She also established the Cyclones club team.
"I try to teach our high school-aged players about work ethic and being dedicated to something, whether it’s lacrosse or not, to put your whole heart into it. If you don’t, you’ll never know the results you can achieve," Radcliffe said.
"Early on, we had some players with potential, but maybe not the work ethic and drive. I tried to instill in them to have that passion. We had that first winning season, and they felt like they were on top of the world. People think highly of them now."
And for good reason. The Lions finished eighth in LaxPower’s state ratings in 2011 with a 15-4-1 record and have posted double-digit win seasons each year since 2007.
Radcliffe will return to the US Lacrosse National Convention in hopes of gaining an edge that could help her team be No. 1. If the Lions follow her lead this year, they just might do it.
— Paul Krome
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