Connolly assumes Assistant AD role

By Rebecca OsowskiFeatures Editor

Former field hockey coach Cait Connolly observes her team from the sidelines on Grellier Field during the 2021 season. Photo by Mike Maruk

After 12 years with the field hockey program, coach Cait Connolly has stepped down to assume the new role of Assistant Athletic Director. The announcement was made in a @lasellathletics Instagram post on November 3, less than a month after Connolly won her 100th career game with the Lasers.

Connolly also coached the women’s lacrosse team from 2010 through 2020 when she decided to focus on field hockey.

As Assistant Athletic Director, Connolly will oversee club sports and intramurals and help with compliance and everyday operations of the department. According to Director of Athletics Kristy Walter, Connolly’s long tenure at Lasell and her knowledge of the school and recruiting process makes her a good fit for this new role.

Connolly will be able to “bring the coach perspective in,” said Walter. “If coaches have concerns or questions, especially the new coaches, she’ll be able to relate to that… It’ll be nice for the women to see her in a different role and department, she will step up and take some more responsibilities and be more visible in the department as a whole.”

Fifth-year senior Claire Shepherd has been coached by Connolly for all five years as a member of the team. “Coach [Connolly] has been such a huge support system for me… Coach has made a huge impact on this program that will be long lasting,” said Shepherd. “She genuinely cares about her team. Winning is not as important as working together and playing good [field] hockey.”

Junior Sheridan Blaha, a recent transfer from Regis College, said Connolly was the reason she chose Lasell to continue her athletic career. “[Connolly] was really thoughtful and I feel like I made a connection with her fast, on and off the field. I’m definitely going to miss her greatly,” Blaha said.

Walter praised Connolly for her ability to keep both the field hockey team and the lacrosse team competitive and close-knit. “The women love playing for her and she does a nice job of developing the team, developing the players, and they really have a nice time together and play competitively and really well on the field together.”

Despite the field hockey program missing Connolly’s leadership, she will be able to mentor her replacement and aid in the transition. According to Walter, Connolly will help guide the new coach.

Melinda Esposito (‘20), former athlete under Connolly and current Assistant Coach of the field hockey program praised Connolly for her ability to push her athletes and herself to be better.

“She pushed her players to be better, but she also pushed herself to be a better coach. She was always rethinking drills and practices to try and make them better and try to see what would click with the team,” said Esposito. “She is able to recognize when a change is needed and will take the necessary steps to make that change possible.”

Walter is also looking forward to having a full-time administrator on the staff. Putting  Connolly in this position will allow Walter to continuously bounce ideas off of her “new” hire .“I think [Connolly] will bring a lot of support to the student-athletes and the program in general,” Walter said.

Connolly is grateful and thankful for her time as Field Hockey Head Coach and praises her athletes for their hard work.

“I am proud and thankful for all the hard work and dedication the players have given to the program over the course of my coaching career. I will miss teaching the game, developing players, and being with the team every day. However, I am looking forward to being in a supportive role for all of Athletics,” Connolly said.

Both Blaha, Shepherd and Esposito would like to thank Connolly for pushing them to become better athletes and people both on and off the field and wish her the best of luck in her new position.

 The Athletics Department is still in the process of hiring a new Head Coach for the field hockey program.

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