March 7th, 2011
John Carroll LAX Coach Helping Sport Grow
Davis continues to further lacrosse across Alabama and nationwide
John Carroll High School Girls Lacrosse Coach Kathryn Davis has, without a doubt, made a life around lacrosse.
Away from her time at John Carroll, Davis currently trains others to become certified lacrosse coaches through U.S. Lacrosse, while also leading clinics in Fairhope, AL to help further the sport. In 2010, she was honored to coach the US Lacrosse High School Girls’ Showcase in Orlando.
"I went to Catholic schools all my life," said Davis. "I grew up in Prospect Park, Pennsylvania and went to the Academy of Notre Dame. Then, I played lacrosse DIII at the University of Scranton. I moved down here because my husband’s from Alabama, and I wanted to help grow the sport here. John Carroll was a perfect fit for me because it’s a Catholic school.”
Davis joined the John Carroll lacrosse team as volunteer head coach five years ago, when the program began at the school. She says since the start, the girls' team has grown and improved tremendously.
"When I came, Mark Goska was starting the guys' team at the same time, and he really got all of this started," said Davis. “ He said, ‘this is going to be the new soccer,’ and he showed me the way.”
And Goska says he was more than thrilled to start working with Davis to enhance lacrosse in the area.
"She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the community," said Goska. "She has a phenomenal background as a player and coach."
While starting a new program at John Carroll had its challenges, according to Davis, she says the rewards and excitement make it all worthwhile.
"We see more and more soccer players cross over into lacrosse," said Davis. "We play in the Greater Birmingham Youth Lacrosse Association right now with more than 1,200 kids, and I’m a board member on the association. There are eight high schools included and ten games a season."
Since Davis’ start five years ago with the program, she has seen success in her girls come about through the years.
"John Carroll is a smaller school with just more than 600 students," said Davis. "Our first year, everything was new. No one had touched a stick. It was completely a learning lesson, but our girls were great through their good attitudes and excellent sportsmanship."
Looking back, Davis said 2010 has been the best season so far with the team.
"There were seven seniors on the team last year, and four had started as freshman and I watched them follow through to senior year," said Davis. "We had two Academic All-Americans on the team, and that was a first for us. You have to have a 3.6 GPA and above for that recognition."
The team competes generally competes in Alabama, but Davis said one of last year’s highlights was travelling to compete for the first time.
"Last year, I took the girls to Memphis for a three game scrimmage. We were first in the league to do it, and it was exciting to travel and get going for competition," said Davis.
She and Goska have worked tirelessly together to get more and more students involved in lacrosse on a daily basis.
"We pair up with the boys' team for pre-season conditioning," said Davis. "And we have ‘Bring a friend to practice day’ and social events to get more players. Our numbers are still low, but we continue to get more girls on the team. We just got three new players this week."
While Davis works hard to promote the sport and gain sponsors for expenses, the Lady Cavs completely rely on themselves for funding needs. Still, the team keeps advancing on the field and as a program.
"We fundraise as a team to help offset cost," said Davis. "We did an Alabama-Auburn carwash that did great, and we will do a pancake breakfast for Lent. I think it’s a good way to get the team to work together."
John Carroll’s lacrosse teams are not sanctioned teams at this point, but Davis and Goska hope the Alabama High School Athletic Association makes that happen in the next year.
"We need 10 percent of the Alabama high schools to have lacrosse teams in order to be a sanctioned sport," said Goska. "The main cities where the sport continues to grow include Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile."
Davis believes that making lacrosse a sanctioned sport will help with funding for the sport on all levels.
"In the future, as we become sanctioned, we hope there will be more sponsorships and booster club support available for equipment and other needs," said Davis. "But up to now, the school has been supportive of what we do."
Davis has lofty goals for her girls as lacrosse continues to grow at John Carroll into the 2011 season, but she feels like they are on the road to achieve big things.
Said Davis: "I want to triple the number of players on John Carroll’s team in the next five years to provide a Junior Varsity Team, as well as get more girls going on to the next level of elite play in college. When I went to coach the US Lacrosse High School Girls’ Showcase in Orlando in 2010, I told the girls, ‘That can be you one day’."