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Former Unionville mentor Krug returns to coaching girls’ lacrosse as assistant at Downingtown East

Friday, 7th January 2011

Categories Features, Girl's/Women's, High School  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 1/7/11

Lee Krug is headed to the Hall of Fame, but he’s not ready to retire from coaching girls’ lacrosse.

Krug is one of eight people that will be inducted next month in the Pennsylvania Chapter of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame. But even after 33 years of coaching, he recently accepted a position as an assistant coach at Downingtown East.

Krug was head coach at Unionville from 1974-2006. He won 13 Ches-Mont League championships and two District 1 titles (1991-92).

Krug retired from teaching and coaching partly for physical reasons. But after getting hip replacement surgery, he returned last year as head coach at Octorara, a program in its third year of existence.

Due to low numbers, the Octorara program was discontinued, but Krug was hoping to continue coaching. He saw that Downingtown East head coach Caitlin Barbakoff needed an assistant and Krug immediately inquired.

Krug said he got back into coaching because his health improved and because he loves to teach and work with high school lacrosse players.

“I saw an ad in the paper,” he said of the Downingtown East job. “My kids went to Downingtown when it was a single school and we live in Downingtown so I am familiar with the district and I still follow Downingtown athletics. It was real easy to get excited about coaching in Downingtown.”

Downingtown East placed fifth in District 1 last year and advanced to the second round of the state tournament before falling to two-time champion Radnor. The Cougars return a dominant senior nucleus – led by goalie Allie Murray (signed with Notre Dame/member of US U19 team), midfielder Kelly Devlin (signed with North Carolina), attack Emily Solenberger (signed with Lehigh), goalie-attack Marya Fratoni (committed to Navy) and attack Ashley Poli (signed with West Chester). Downingtown East is expected to be a league, district and state contender.

Barbakoff said the addition of Krug – who will be inducted in the Hall of Fame on Feb. 5 in a ceremony at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club – to her staff is a major plus. Last year’s assistant, Kevin Ryan, remains on the staff on a part-time basis.

“I am super excited to have someone of Lee’s caliber coming into the program,” she said. “He brings so much knowledge and experience, I think the team will benefit on every level from his presence.

“I foresee him work predominantly with the defense. And, on a broader level, I really feel that his focus and intensity will reinforce the goals for the team, this season and the program as a whole.”

Krug said he is pleased to have a second life in coaching. He has much respect for his successor at Unionville, Wendy Landry.

“One reason I gave up coaching was because couldn’t demonstrate to the girls,” said Krug, who played lacrosse at Muhlenberg College after graduating from Reading High where the sport was not offered. “Maybe it was time for someone younger. Wendy was an assistant coach for a long time and understood the program perfectly. She’s an excellent coach, so it was easy to leave knowing the program was in good hands.

“Then when I started feeling (healthy), I had some time on my hands. I enjoy the sport thoroughly and I enjoy the interaction with players and other members of the lacrosse community.”

Krug said he still has nothing but respect for Unionville and will have mixed feelings when he coaches against the Indians, still a Ches-Mont power.

“I have been away from Unionville long enough that players I coached there won’t call me a traitor,” he joked. “The parents might, but all the players I coached are graduated.”

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