Tony Giro and Amy Appelt were named co-head coaches of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County women's lacrosse program July 5. Both had been assistant coaches for the Retrievers. They replace Kelly Berger, who resigned June 27 after three years as head coach.
Giro, a Howard County resident, just completed his fourth year with UMBC. Appelt joined the Retrievers' staff three years ago.
"This is a unique situation, but Tony and Amy complement each other so well that I felt it was absolutely the right way to go," said Dr. Charles Brown, UMBC's athletic director, in a press release. "I see nothing but great things for this program as we move forward. Our goal is to be a nationally-ranked program and one that competes for the America East title every year."
Before coming to UMBC, Giro was part of the Mt. Hebron High School girls lacrosse coaching staff. The Vikings went 92-1 during his five years there and won four consecutive Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association championships. The Vikings were ranked No. 1 in the nation from 2003-06 and Giro was the team's defensive coordinator for two of those four seasons.
"I love coaching and I love being at UMBC," Giro said. "Amy and I respect each other and work well with each other. All we care about is what happens with UMBC lacrosse and making UMBC the best. …I'm honored to work with Amy."
Appelt led the University of Virginia to a national title in 2004. That same year the four-time All-American received the Tewaaraton Trophy as the nation's best female player. She holds the Virginia career record for goals (258) and points (373) and set and NCAA record by scoring a goal in 66 consecutive games.
"We haven't really sat down to define our duties," Giro said. "For the most part, Amy will be on offensive end and I will be on defensive end, but if we see something at the other end of the field we'll speak up. Neither of us feels like they are stepping on the other's toes."
Appelt and Giro have been recruiting non-stop.
"UMBC is a great place to sell academically. We feel we have a lot to offer," he said.
The Retrievers lose four from the 2012 team that went 8-9 overall. With 19 freshmen and sophomores on next year's squad, the team will be extremely young.
"They are all good players and that's the good news," Giro said. "And we have a couple of transfers coming in. I feel like we will be in the mix (in the conference). Everything is looking right."
UMBC is starting to pull in more local talent. Four of next year's freshmen and one sophomore will be from Howard County.
That wasn't the case three or four years ago, when Maryland players tended to bypass UMBC in favor of other teams.
That way of thinking has reversed, Giro said. "The economics and the value of education you get at UMBC. They see that we are starting to win more lacrosse games and that helps when recruiting. Kids want to play for a winning program."
And that's exactly matches the type of program that Giro and Appelt want to run.
"(Tony's) drive drive, ambition and passion to take this program to the next level are contagious," Appelt said in a press release.
Because Appelt and Giro will be co-head coaches, UMBC will be hiring an assistant coach. Interviews begin July 16.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun