Taylor Cummings had thought about coaching high school lacrosse since the day she left Maryland with her third Tewaaraton Award. When the opportunity arose to return to McDonogh as an assistant coach, she was thrilled.
“I had the best time with my lacrosse experience,” said Cummings, a 2012 McDonogh graduate, “and I wanted to make sure that remains and help the girls out at a time where I’m sure there’s a lot of uncertainty. I just want them to have the same experience that I had and I was in a position where I could help. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Cummings, the only player to win three Tewaaraton Awards as the best player in women’s college lacrosse, will assist Eagles interim coach Nancy Love this spring. Love, an assistant for 15 years, takes over for Chris Robinson, who left the program last week to focus on the expansion of his National Girls Lacrosse League.
McDonogh girls lacrosse coach Chris Robinson said Thursday morning that his decision to leave the Eagles and their 177-game win streak was to focus on building his National Girls Lacrosse League, a youth program he envisions being comparable to Little League Baseball.
Cummings, 23, played for Robinson before going on to help Maryland win two national championships. A three-time All-Metro player and twice The Baltimore Sun’s Female Athlete of the Year, Cummings led the Eagles to the first four of their nine consecutive Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championships.
The Eagles were undefeated during her final three years and since then their winning streak has grown to 177 games, a national girls lacrosse record.
“It was a sudden [coaching] change and combine that with the pressure that these girls are under about keeping that streak alive, so my feeling is there’s a lot of unknowns for them,” Cummings said. “But for me, I just want them to enjoy it and have fun. … I just want to be a young, positive influence on these girls and show them that, ‘Yeah you can compete at the highest level and you can still enjoy it and love what you do.’ ”
Cummings said she was grateful to Love and the McDonogh administration for giving her the chance, because while she has a lot of accolades as a player, including helping the United States win the World Cup last summer, she doesn’t have a great deal of coaching experience. She did, however, coach an M&D club team that included some of the current Eagles seniors for four years.
Mickey Deegan, co-athletic director at McDonogh, said when Love asked to bring Cummings on board, she was happy to do it.
“Taylor’s very inspirational and has a no-quit attitude,” Deegan said. “She brings a sense of passion and urgency to continue the good work of doing the very best we can on the lacrosse field. She’s a wonderful role mode. She’s never been someone who gives less than 100 percent at games and at practice.”
Although Cummings said her role with the Eagles won’t be defined until she, Love and the rest of the coaching staff get together to discuss it, she’s willing to do anything she’s asked.
“I went in with the approach that, ‘Whatever you need me to do, I’m more than happy to help out. If you want me to run the offense, I can run the offense. If you want me to do defense, I can do defense.’ Luckily for me, I played both in college and afterward, so I understand both sides, but I think we’re still figuring out what everyone’s roles will be,” said Cummings, a four-time All-America midfielder at Maryland.
The Eagles open their season March 14 at Vero Beach, Fla. After two more games on that spring break trip, they return to host Roland Park on March 21.
Cummings is an Under Armour sponsored athlete, but she runs her own business, Taylor Cummings Lacrosse, conducting clinics across the country. The high school season is a slow time for clinics, she said, and she’s looking forward to returning to a team atmosphere — especially at McDonogh.