TORONTO – The Ontario University Athletics lacrosse season may have wrapped up months ago but for LYNN ORTH
, coach of the defending three-time champion Laurier Golden Hawks, the fast-paced sport is a year-round affair. Orth will be honoured by the National Lacrosse League’s Toronto Rock this evening – the veteran coach has been asked to take part in a ceremonial ball drop prior to the Rock’s game with the Rochester Knighthawks.
"You don’t really drop the ball in men’s lacrosse because it starts on the ground," Orth says with a laugh. "I’m not sure how this happened but I’m happy about it."
The Laurier coach has been a devoted Rock season ticket holder since the team commenced play in Toronto, never missing a game. Her tenure at the helm of the powerhouse Laurier team began around the same time back in 1998 when she served as an assistant coach in the experimental year for the sport. Orth took over the reins the following year as lacrosse achieved varsity status and the program has since evolved into the best at the university level in the province. On October 30, the Hawks won their third consecutive OUA Championship – and fourth in six years – with a thrilling 8-7 overtime victory over the Queen’s Golden Gaels. Rookie all-star Kirsten Gerrie
scored the deciding goal in overtime to complete the first ever three-peat in the league.
"I had to say, I wasn’t nervous," recalls Orth, whose children Kelsey and Caitlin were by her side in the extra time and mentioned the fact that Laurier had not led all game. "I looked at them and said, ‘now’s the time.’"
Orth’s coaching style is very methodical and low key. Laurier’s Coach of the Year in 2003 is quiet on the sidelines and is typically never heard from while the play is going on. Thorough preparation and the ability to adjust on the fly have been key components the Hawks’ prolonged success, in addition to Orth’s recruitment of creative, local players she knows from the Kitchener-Waterloo lacrosse community. Her athletes have bought into the system and the solid results have followed. Orth’s career coaching record is 59-17-5 overall, 12-4 in the playoffs and a stunning 28-1-1 over the course of the three consecutive championship seasons.
"I don’t yell," she says. "The girls are there to play. They’re bright, they’re adults. It’s just a matter of giving them the tools to be successful."
Orth first became involved with the sport locally in 1983 when she was asked to start the KW women’s program. She also founded the KW Braves U-19 field lacrosse team, coached the senior women’s teams and is part owner of the defending national champion KW Kodiaks (over 21 men) of the Ontario Lacrosse Association Senior B league, who last season won their second President Cup in three years. Orth has been involved in the sport at the national level, as well, having served as General Manager of the Canada women’s field lacrosse team that went to two World Cups from 2000 to 2005.
"Lately, it’s been a lot of lacrosse," Orth says.
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Release by: David DiCenzo, OUA