When new AU women’s lacrosse coach Laura Campbell tells her players she knows just where they’re coming from, she’s not being figurative.
“I’ve been exactly in their shoes,” said Campbell, SOC/BA ’03. “My junior year we lost the [Patriot League] championship game, and last year they lost a game by one to get into the tournament.”
Campbell is taking over an AU squad that has struggled recently. It’s a similar situation to the one she inherited at Marist College when she became head coach in 2008. In her two seasons leading the Red Foxes, the team posted a 22-13 overall record and won the 2010 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship. Marist’s 12 victories last year set a school record for most wins in a season.
“The toughest thing was getting them to work together as a team, which is already happening here,” Campbell said. “You have to communicate, and when things work out and we win, they start to believe. We had a great fall here at AU, we went undefeated, so I think they have pretty much bought in.”
Growing up in Connecticut Campbell was a soccer player until the curiousness of lacrosse drew her in. It was the speed of the game that hooked her. A four-year starter at AU, she scored 13 goals and recorded seven assists as a senior to help the Eagles set a program record with 11 wins.
After stints as a high school and club team coach, Campbell took over Marist before returning to Tenleytown.
“We are very excited to have Laura back on the American University campus,” Athletics Director Keith Gill said. “It is always wonderful to welcome an alum back, especially one as accomplished as Laura. Her success as a head coach at both the collegiate and high school levels, combined with her success as a student-athlete here at American, demonstrates her ability to lead a championship-caliber program not only on the playing field but also in the classroom.”
A star player coming home to her alma mater as coach to lead the program back to the promised land. It sounds like a fairy tale—though this story’s ending has not yet been written.
“I loved it here,” said Campbell, who met her husband, John, SOC/BA ’03, as an undergrad. “I have nothing but a positive idea of the program and the school. This is one of those things that’s been a dream job for me.”