When Sam Farrell finished her All-America college lacrosse career at Florida last spring, she didn't want to leave the sport behind, so she planned to coach at some point.
The Severna Park graduate returned home to study for her Masters degree in elementary and special education at Notre Dame of Maryland University. When her friend and South River graduate Brooke Griffin told her the South River girls needed a coach, Farrell decided to pursue the opportunity a bit earlier than expected.
She got the job.
"It's something I always wanted to do," Farrell, 22, said, "but I wasn't sure I wanted to do it right away. I wanted to get my Masters and after that I wanted to teach and coach as well. I didn't know what my options would be and how I was going to go about it, so when Brooke told me about the position, I said, 'Why not?'"
Thursday, South River athletic director Dave Klingel announced that Farrell would take over the Seahawks, whose previous coach Kim McNemar had stepped down in December due to family obligations.
"We are thrilled to have Samantha Farrell join our coaching staff," Klingel said in a news release. "With her level of experience on the field as well as the talented coaches that have mentored her, we feel like
we are getting a terrific asset to the girls lacrosse program at South River High School."
Farrell, a two-time All-America defender at Florida, was a member of the Gators' first recruiting class and helped them reach the NCAA Division I final four in 2012, their third season as a varsity program. Last season, she was the American Lacrosse Conference Defender of the Year. An All-Metro midfielder at Severna Park, she helped the Falcons to three straight state championships.
Now she will coach the Falcons' archrival.
"It's defnitely going to be weird," she said with a laugh, "but it's going to be exciting. I know the county. I know what it's like and I'm looking forward to it. I know South River has always been a good team and I've heard a lot of good things about the players who are coming back on this team."
Farrell, who plans to complete her Masters in May and hopes to begin teaching in the fall, also plays for Team STX, a post-graduate women's lacrosse team that includes many of the sports' best players. The team travels around the country to promote women's lacrosse.
"I just love the sport so much and once I was done playing (in college), it's like, 'Wow. It's over. What now?' I knew another way to give back would be to coach. I started playing with the STX team, but I wanted to give back in another way."
The Seahawks, who finished last season ranked No. 12 with a 15-3 record, have regularly been among the top Class 4A-3A teams in Maryland and won the 2010 state championship. Their Anne Arundel County league is one of the most competitive in the state.