NSA welcomes girls’ lacrosse coachPublished 8:36pm Saturday, March 2, 2013
Mary Flowers hopes to make an impact on a teachable group of girls at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy after having been named the new head coach of the girls’ lacrosse team.
Flower is no stranger to the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools, having played lacrosse in high school at Cape Henry Collegiate School. Those who follow lacrosse locally likely know her name well, because she was the TCIS Most of Valuable Player from 2006 to 2008, the 2007 Virginia State Player of the Year and a High School All-American in 2007 and 2008.
Those accolades continued when she went to college at the University of Richmond, where she graduated and earned the title of Student Athlete of the Year in 2012.
But before all of that, Flowers attended NSA from first through eighth grade. She shared how her return came about.
“When I graduated from Richmond, I got into the mortgage business,” she said. “I’m a loan officer for Southern Trust Mortgage, and I just starting missing that competitive nature that I had for so long. So I started looking around.”
She had already cultivated coaching skills during her college years, when she coached for a summer club team, taught at a variety of lacrosse camps and gave individual lessons. Additionally, Richmond never had a stable coaching staff, making her junior and senior year role as team captain a vital one in helping younger players.
After graduation, she continued giving lessons to area players, including some who went to Nansemond-Suffolk.
“I was giving lessons to five or six of the girls last summer, and I really grew to love the girls and I saw a lot of potential,” she said.
Then, she said, NSA Director of Athletics Betty Jean Riddick gave her a call asking “if I was going to be in town or in the area to coach and I said, ‘Absolutely.’ As soon as she mentioned that, I didn’t think for a second.”
Flowers points to her former Cape Henry lacrosse coach Jen Baker as one of her inspirations.
“I had tons of coaches in college, but none of them had such a positive impact on my life like my high school coach did, and I just hope I can give these girls what she gave me,” she said.
Experience giving lessons to college players taught Flowers that they can often be set in their ways and hard to coach, but she has had a different experience at the high-school level.
“They’re willing to learn, especially this team,” she said of the Lady Saints. “They come out ready to work and they’ll do as you say, and not think twice.”
“There’s nothing better than giving advice and watching someone do it and then it work in their favor,” she added.
“So, between Jen Baker and just being a captain and being a part of a team at the Division I level, I think it all ties together, and it’s all what got me here today, and I’m thankful for it,” she said.
The girls’ lacrosse season begins on March 15 when the Lady Saints visit Bishop Sullivan Catholic.