Lijit Ad Wijit

Monday, August 9, 2010

Campaign for Jane: Part I of II

To deny Jane Karger (class of 2008) the opportunity to coach the women’s lacrosse team would be hypocritical.

Is it not obvious that the strategy the Mount’s athletic administration is emphasizing more than ever for finding coaches is to buy low and sell high? Being bought low is not necessarily an insult to commodities like Robert Burke – especially since he wasn’t bought low at all by Mount standards – whose background speaks for itself; Siena, Georgetown, American. And for Anna Nagro, it is not so much an insult, as it is a measure of caution, to say that she was bought cheap. (Very cheap, I’m sure.)

Many a penny stock has elevated to wealthy levels known best by giants like, or in our case, Jim Phelan and Phelan and Brown both call Emmitsburg the backseat-of-the-car portion of their careers, where they first found love at the top of the coaching ranks. For Phelan, the Mount was the only partner he ever needed. And Brown may have been able to say the same if the Mount was more competitive financially, which it understandably cannot be.

I’ve known Karger since my freshman and her sophomore year, but not so much that I would be biased in my opinion of her qualifications. I do not have her phone number, I haven’t spoken more than a hello to her in months, if not years, and hell, I don’t even know if we’re friends on Facebook.

Social connections aside, one dogged fact remains as a result of the path the school has so clearly cut through the mountainside: Jane Karger is the top choice to become the next head coach of the Mount St. Mary’s women’s lacrosse program.

As a goalie for the team in her playing days, she not only earned a number of victories and the second undefeated Northeast Conference regular season in school history* (2007), but also the respect of her teammates.

The soft-spoken, but well-mannered young woman from Pittsburgh has been an assistant coach at the program for the past two seasons. That makes six seasons in total that Karger has contributed to the team. As I imagine that most, if not all, of her graduate studies have been completed in her two years as an assistant, she probably has little reason to remain in the cozy confines of isolated Emmitsburg for another year at the benefit of a lowly stipend. The only way to keep her, and perhaps some semblance of the program’s winning tradition, which, quite frankly, is hanging by a thread, is to make her the head coach.

When I was a freshman in 2005 – 2006, the women’s lacrosse team was coming off back-to-back NEC tournament titles and was favored to run through the conference a third consecutive season. The only teams that mattered were the Mount and Monmouth. Now, Quinnipiac, Long Island, Sacred Heart and Robert Morris have closed the gap. The Mountaineers grabbed the fourth and final seed in last season’s conference tournament by a single game, and it was not a disappointment when compared to preseason expectations.

By most measures, a repeat performance of last season’s first round exit in the conference tournament would be an accomplishment. What with the departure of graduated offensive juggernaut Ashley Johnson and defensive labyrinth and team MVP Jackie Kearney coupled with the departure of their highly-touted head coach of one season, Sonia LaMonica, expectations should be low in the spring of 2011.

So low in fact, that you or me could be named head coach, win two games in the conference, and if it were not for the public record of our name being listed as such, the critics would be none the wiser to the reason for the team’s shortcomings.

Jane Karger might as well be Jane Doe in terms of the choices the program will attract for the price the school is willing to pay. In fact, forming a search committee to fill this position is not even necessary.

Part II of Campaign for Jane will appear tomorrow, Aug. 10.

*The original post noted that 2007 was the only undefeated NEC regular season (8-0) in school history. In fact the team also went undefeated (7-0) in 2004, when it ended up winning the NEC tournament and made its first NCAA tournament appearance. My apologies for the error.

No comments: