The Queen of Lax: Experience, outlook makes McLean one of best in lacrosse business
Caroline McLean is right off of Hollywood's central casting. With her thick accent and sharp sense of humor, McLean portrays the role as a lacrosse coach perfectly.
Well, she is a lacrosse coach and is a fountain of knowledge for her St. Pius X squad. Heck, she's from the epicenter of women's lacrosse – Scotland – where the first-ever game was recorded.
"I grew up playing the sport for many years before moving to the [United] States with my soon-to-be husband," she said. "I came with my sticks. No one played back then, but I picked up with Rice University for three years and played for the Owls. I got into coaching, then officiating and back into coaching."
The game has changed since her arrival in the late 1990s.
"Back then, no girls were playing," she said. "When I started getting into coaching, there were nine teams in the area playing. Now there are 20. The popularity has picked up and even colleges are starting to recruit players from here. The girls are just great athletes and can play year-round because of the weather."
McLean coached at Bellaire and Kingwood – as an assistant coach – before starting the program at St. Pius X.
"I was bringing my then-high school daughters here for a tour," she laughed. "At the end of the tour, the head of schools was waiting for me and hired me to start their lacrosse program."
She has been the lax coach for six years and has been promoting the sport ever since.
"It took a lot of hard work to get the program going. It was mostly by word-of-mouth," she said. "Lacrosse is a sport that anyone can pick up. Girls don't think they can just start playing in high school, but most of my players are brand new to the game. We are always playing catch-up to teams with several club players, but that means we just need to work a little harder."
McLean was excited about her team this year led by Makenna Capitaine, who was named to the all-state team after only playing for two seasons. Twins Abigail and Alexandra Konicki are also tremendous midfielders.
"I'm a huge fan of teamwork," she said. "Sounds simple. We win as a team and lose as a team. I reward those players who work the hardest. If our star player gets outworked, they are going to the bench for someone who is working. That's just the way I coach. "I'm kind of old-school," she laughed. "Ribbons for all? It doesn't work like that. It's first, second or third place."