By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, posted 1/25/12
Former Radnor youth coach and Agnes Irwin assistant John Geary has been named head girls’ lacrosse coach at Merion Mercy.
Geary temporarily replaces Danielle McCaffrey Hannigan, who stepped down for at least a year because she is having a baby. McCaffrey Hannigan led the Bears to five Athletic Association of Catholic Academies championships in her eight-year tenure and guided Merion to the league title and a second-round trip to the District 1 tournament last year.
Geary coached in the Radnor Youth League for eight years and served as a JV assistant the past two years at Inter-Ac member Agnes Irwin.
“I enjoy coaching and was seeking a next challenge,” he said. “I knew several of the players at Merion from past experiences and knew they were both competitive and nice players. Merion also had a good reputation. Danielle has built a good program there.”
Geary said his roots as a youth coach will help him at the high school level.
“We worked closely with a number of terrific people and coaches,” he said, noting he worked with Gary Martin at Radnor Youth. “During that tenure I would coach several teams every year at different levels. It was both fun and rewarding to see so many young athletes develop from the basics to become skilled players before leaving to high school and prep programs.
“Early on I made it a habit of attending the US Lacrosse annual convention. It was a fun time to go to Baltimore with friends and eat crabs. I learned a great deal from the many outstanding female college coaches instructing at the Convention. hose lessons, strategies and examples of player development I bring to the field every day.”
What are his basic coaching philosophies?
“Lacrosse is an offensive game,” he said. “Goalies and the defense are there to stop the easy shots and to the extent they can do more gives a team a good opportunity to be successful. I am partial to quick passes and am a believer in basketball-oriented strategies such as picks and give-and-goes. I like well placed hard shots that challenge the keeper.
“I like to try new things. We will practice these in draw strategies and the new man down rule. Lacrosse is also a team game; we win together.”
What are your expectations for the team for 2012?
“We have some very nice players,” he said. “Our four seniors are particularly strong and are solid leaders. They are supported by a complement of underclassmen who will add both to our depth and bring specific skill and speed attributes.
“I am partial to keepers and like what I have seen in Caili Guilday. Danielle has done a good job with this group of players and I believe we will have a chance to both grow as a team and win a few contests.”
Geary will be assisted by Ridley and Temple grad Lauren Fisher.
Tags: Merion Mercy