McCoy takes over as MC field hockey coach
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
A couple of months ago, Lisa McCoy’s thoughts were focused on trying to help the Penn Manor field hockey team win a fourth L-L League crown in five years this fall.
But then the long-time Lady Comets’ assistant coach got an email from the parent of a Manheim Central player.
The subject of the correspondence was Central’s head coaching vacancy.
"The parent asked me if I knew of anybody that was interested," said McCoy, who coached a few of Manheim Central’s players on the Spooky Nook club team. "And I was just like, ‘Hey, maybe I am.’ So then I started to think about it and went from there."
The more McCoy thought about the position, the more it made sense. With her twin daughters, Emily and Eryn, having just graduated from Penn Manor, the timing was right. Plus, this seemed like a good opportunity to provide some stability for a Manheim Central program which was hiring its fourth new coach in four years.
So McCoy submitted her resume, and at Manheim Central’s school board meeting on July 22, she received approval to take over at the helm of the Lady Barons.
"It just kinda happened very quick and it seemed like the right thing to do," McCoy said.
Having the support of family was a big factor in her decision. Emily and Eryn are embarking on their collegiate field hockey careers this fall at Boston College, but with them playing the majority of their games on Sundays, Lisa will still have time to travel.
"I had planned on continuing to coach at Penn Manor, so we had talked about that as a family before this ever came up," McCoy said, "and I think Emily and Eryn knew, ‘Mom’s a coach, always been a coach and enjoys coaching.’ The intent wasn’t for me to coach until they got through (high) school and then stop coaching. I really enjoy coaching and I enjoy the aspects of the game and I really enjoy field hockey and that’s kinda hard just to give that up."
There is no doubt that McCoy knows the game. She played at Penn Manor before graduating in 1987, and besides serving as an assistant with the Lady Comets for eight years and winning PIAA gold with them in 2008, she is also currently the assistant director of field hockey at Spooky Nook Sports.
Naturally, McCoy is still trying to learn all her players at Manheim Central right now. Prior to preseason workouts getting underway this week, she had only met with her team twice. But McCoy is stressing the importance of basics and getting better every day.
"I think they have a nice core of kids back, they definitely have a lot of potential and I think we just need to sorta start from the ground level and kind of work up," she said. "I really have to learn every player and I think I’m going to challenge them to think a little bit differently than they have in the past – maybe to think about different positions that they haven’t played in the past. I just want to work with them that way and get them all thinking like a field hockey player and get them in the best where they can be."
McCoy inherits a Lady Barons’ team that went 9-9-1 under Becca Keener in 2012, dropping a 3-2 loss to Conestoga Valley in a District Three Triple-A play-in game.
Rather than coming in with a pre-determined system that she wants her team to play, McCoy plans to adapt to the players that she has on her roster.
"I think every year there could be a new system in field hockey," McCoy said. "You’ve got to work a system by the players that you have, and every year that can change. It’s a little bit different in college. You’re not recruiting for kids (in high school). You get what comes and you need to work with what you have. I told them, ‘You’ve had a lot of change over the last four years, but we could have as much change over the next four years because every year brings new kids, new players and a little bit different dynamic to the team. And we have to work with that.’ I just kinda challenged them to be open to changes."
At this early stage, McCoy admitted that it’s too soon to know whether they can challenge for a playoff spot or not. She added, however, that it’s not too lofty of a goal for her players to have this fall.
"I think it’s a great goal to have to really challenge in Section Two and make it to the League playoffs," McCoy remarked. "I know it’s a goal of some of these girls. But we’re going to have to work hard and they’re going to have to know what I expect and there’s a lot we need to learn."
Penn Manor is one of those teams from whom Manheim Central can learn. The Lady Barons will scrimmage McCoy’s former team on Wednesday, Aug. 28, leading into their non-league homer at home against Carlisle on Friday, Aug. 30.
Although Manheim Central doesn’t have Penn Manor on its regular-season schedule, the time could come in the playoffs – or in a future season – that McCoy’s Lady Barons square off against the Lady Comets.
There will probably be mixed emotions for McCoy when that happens. She was happy as an assistant at Penn Manor and she considers their coaching staff to be close friends.
"It will be interesting. It will be tough," McCoy said. "I had a great experience there. I mean, I’m great friends with all those people. They’re a great team. They were here eight years ago and just kinda starting at the basics and going forward and you can see what they’ve done. It will be a little bittersweet, I’m sure, for lack of a better word. It will be interesting, but there’s a lot that we can learn from that team. And that’s what we’ll do."
If all goes according to plan, the Manheim Central girls will also be learning from McCoy for years to come. Not since Janelle Benner coached from 2007-09 have the Lady Barons had the same coach in back-to-back seasons.
"Obviously, I’d like to stick around," McCoy said. "It wasn’t a one-year commitment for me, so I plan to be here for awhile."
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