Championship head coach of W.T. Woodson High School, All-Met coach of the year, northern Virginia regional coach of the year, founder of DC area college recruiting showcase and fall lacrosse league, selector of regional high school teams for national tournament, James Madison University graduate, speaker at local lacrosse camps and clinics.
Throughout his life to date, Darah Bonham has been blessed with both opportunity and success. Still, no one could have charted the path that he eventually followed.
Growing up in Roanoke, he earned a marketing degree at James Madison University and began his career with a Beltway consulting firm. Soon he knew that he wanted something different. Returning to school for his teaching certification, he began teaching at W.T. Woodson High School in 1993. He asked to coach boys’ basketball. In return, he was asked to coach JV girls’ lacrosse. It was his first exposure to the sport and the beginning of unforeseen good fortune.
As the public schools in northern Virginia began to assert themselves as varsity programs throughout the 1990’s, Woodson led the way. First as junior varsity coach, and then as varsity head coach, Darah was an excellent communicator, emphasizing achieving one’s best and putting the team first. He helped them to learn the fundamentals of the game, and established a strong rapport with his players, inspiring them toward success on the field. In ten years as head coach at Woodson High School, his teams recorded 144 victories against 22 losses (.867). During this incredible run, Woodson won a championship every year on some level: nine district titles, five northern region championships, and five state titles.
Darah received numerous coaching honors on the district and regional levels. In 2000, the Washington Post recognized him as All-Met coach of the year. More than 30 of his players continued to play in college – an unusual number for such a young program. Today, more than ten of his former players are now coaching in high school or college, a tribute to his influence as a lacrosse mentor.
An innovative coach as well as marketer, Darah established the Washington Metro Girls’ Lacrosse Showcase in 1997 to expose college recruiters to the deepening pool of lacrosse talent in northern Virginia. Beginning with only 40 players in the first year, more than 70 local squads as well as teams from around the nation would eventually show up at Woodson each fall to be seen by more than 50 college coaches. Darah channeled all the fees collected from these efforts back into the Woodson program.
After playing such a large role in the development and success of lacrosse in Fairfax County, Darah stepped away from the game and opted for more normal working hours. He accepted a position in 2004 as Director of the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center. He and his wife, Julie, now reside in Charlottesville, VA with his two daughters Reilly (4), and Reese (2).
Darah is being presented by fellow coach and friend, Brian Puhlick.