You hear gravitas in Keilly Lynch’s words when she discusses coaching or her promising future.

UMaine-Farmington senior midfielder Keilly Lynch has been hired to coach the Mt. Blue girls lacrosse team in its first season as a varsity program. Bridget Stephenson photo

Mt. Blue athletic director Chad Brackett heard it, too, and immediately recognized Lynch’s unassuming confidence. It’s one of the reasons he hired her to become the head coach of the Cougars in their first season as a varsity girls lacrosse program.

“She has a confidence and intelligence that does not come off negatively,” Brackett said. “She doesn’t come off as a know-it-all.  She doesn’t come off as a showoff.

“She has got a very confident and welcoming personality. That’s very important when you are starting a new sport that is new to your community like girls lacrosse is.”

The Massabesic High School graduate from Lyman was finishing up her final semester at the University of Maine at Farmington when she got the job to coach Mt. Blue’s first varsity girls lacrosse team. She was a captain of the UMF women’s lacrosse team this season before it abruptly ended due to the coronavirus outbreak, which also forced colleges and universities to close this month. 

Getting the job came was a pleasant surprise for the senior midfielder.

“I know lacrosse is still newer to this area of Maine,” said Lynch, who majored in education. “They don’t have a feeder program or anything like that. So I was confident with the the knowledge I came in with about the sport, but I definitely knew that maybe being so young was a factor that they certainly weighed, and I know that Chad was still nervous that I was going to be a collegiate athlete while coaching.

“But my UMF coach (Beth Lebel) was very on board and encouraged this.  We tried to put on clinics for young (Mt. Blue) athletes who are interested in lacrosse in the area. So she was on board with me getting the sport going in this area of Maine.” 

Lynch’s objective is to establish a foothold for lacrosse in the community.

“I am not just looking to win state championships,” she said. “I am looking to start the culture of the team. My coaching philosophy is very similar to my teaching philosophy. I definitely believe in mutual respect with my athletes.”

Lynch wants her athletes to weigh in and offer their ideas about the sport.

“The team got created by the girls. I still want to keep them very involved,” she said. “We already did have our first team meeting and we started talking about the standards of behavior that we want to set for our team … and that was input all given by the girls.”

She understands there will be some pressure to get the new program up and running this season — whenever it starts; the high school spring sports seasons were also delayed by the COVID-19 outbreak — but she embraces the challenge.

UMaine-Farmington midfielder Keilly Lynch battle with a player. Lynch has been named the head coach for new Mt. Blue girls lacrosse team. Jeff Lamb Photography

“To a certain extent, yes (there will be pressure), but I also believe that, more importantly, that these girls are already self-motivated,” she said. “They decided to form a club team all on their own. It wasn’t a teacher or an adult who said, ‘We are going to have a lacrosse team at Mt. Blue.’ It was these girls who came together, with senior Brooke Bolduc being one of the leaders, saying that ‘we want this.’

“I am proud of the girls already. When they first started as a club team, I actually volunteered a couple of times a week to keep getting them interested in the sport. Because of the culture that they already established, it is going to be really easy for me to pick up the reins.”

Lynch’s involvement with the club team dates back a few years.

“She worked with the girls the very first year,” said Brackett, who added that three or four UMF women’s lacrosse players stepped forward to help with the club team. “That was when Keilly was a freshman, and she was the one who stuck with it for the longest out of that group, and she never even mentioned it when she sent the application packet.

“So I didn’t know that until the first time I saw her. I said, ‘I feel like we met before.’ She said, ‘Yeah, I used to work with a lot of these same girls. These girls were seniors. I was there from the very first year.’ She never mentioned that. She said, ‘I didn’t want to mention something like that.’ I would have put that front and center. She is pretty humble, too.”

Lynch’s choice to attend UMF was an easy one and she sees coaching at Mt. Blue as an opportunity to remain in Franklin County.

“One of the things that drew me to UMF is the fact that Farmington is very much a community,” she said. “I love this community with my whole heart. Looking down the future, I can see myself staying in this community for a while.”

She also knows Mt. Blue’s season might be canceled if the coronavirus doesn’t abate.

“I think Mt. Blue has made that very clear to the girls,” Lynch said. “They sent a couple of emails to them. But, ultimately, I think we just have to stay optimistic and we have to continue to train like we are going to have a season.”

AN ABRUPT ENDING

Of course, Lynch would have liked to finish out her final semester of college and season of a stellar collegiate lacrosse career for the Beavers. 

The pandemic changed everything.

“I definitely feel like I have been robbed, not only of my last sports spring season, but just the academic experience that I am paying for at UMF,” Lynch said. “However, I understand that our health and safety as students always comes first. I agree with what is being done, but it is unfortunate that this is my last season.

“Technically, I can redshirt this season. If I would like to come back and play, and that is an option, but as of right now I am thinking that once I jump into my career, I am not going to come back and be a collegiate athlete.” 

Before the season was canceled, Lynch recorded her 100th career point against St. Joe’s. Entered the season with 99 points, all of which were accumulated during her sophomore and junior years.

“But I am happy that Mt. Blue has given me the opportunity to still have lacrosse in my life,” she said. “Teaching is really my passion, and so is lacrosse, and I can put those two things together.”


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