By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/24/12
Kate Henwood looks back at her three seasons as coach at Garnet Valley as a dream come true. She also looks ahead to her new job as head coach at Division I Cal Davis with great excitement.
Henwood, who guided the Jaguars to consecutive state titles in 2011-12, was named the third coach in Aggies history Monday following a national search. It’s her first head coaching job at the college level; she was the top assistant at Villanova for three years before moving back to her alma mater and leading Garnet Valley to consecutive state championships in 2011-12.
“I decided to get back into coaching college lax because it has always been a dream of mine to be a DI head coach and opportunities like this one don’t come around twice,” said Henwood, who starts today in her new job.
“The biggest challenge I will face at UC Davis is turning this program into one that will be a force to reckon with in the Mountain Pacific Conference. Instead of starring Radnor, Harriton, Springfield and Stoga on my schedule, I’ll be starring the likes of Standord, Denver, Oregon etc.”
At UC Davis Henwood replaces Elaine Jones, who resigned after the season following a term of 11 years as head coach. Jones amassed a record of 97-90, but struggled in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, going just 14-35 in nine seasons in the conference.
The Aggies went 6-10 in 2012 and finished tied for fifth in the MPSF standings with a conference record of 2-5. the good news for Henwood is that UC Davis loses just one senior and has a strong sophomore class.
I couldn’t be more thrilled to inherit a veteran team filled with underclassmen and untapped potential,” she said. “My job is to realize that potential as soon as possible.”
Henwood admit she has mixed emotions about leaving Garnet Valley. The former La Salle University great led the team to 24-3 seasons the past two years and the school’s first state titles. This year’s crown came after the Jaguars had a disappointing fourth-place finish at districts, but GV rebounded to win the state crown by downing four elite teams, capped by a dramatic overtime win over Strath Haven in the finals.
“My fondest memory at GV was honestly the time I spent with the players and staff,” Henwood said. “The huddles at practice where the kids cracked jokes, pre game warm ups, team meetings, etc. they are a fantastic group of talented and intelligent young women and I will miss them more than any other part of my time at GV.
“Winning was fun, but watching them grow as competitors and also as people was most rewarding.”
Before Henwood got to Garnet Valley in 2010, the Jaguars were a middle-of-the-pack team in the rugged Central League, clearly the top league in the state. Now, she leaves a school considered a hotbed of talent. Henwood credited the Garnet Valley players and community and especially her staff.
“I feel great about what I was able to achieve at GV, alongside such an amazing group of people,” she said. “GV served me well as a student, and also as a professional.
“We were was able to achieve the success because the players, admin and community bought in to my philosophy. My staff was supportive, brilliant and second to none.”
Henwood’s career at Garnet Valley also will be remembered by the way her players rallied at the end. In the state title win over Strath Haven this year, Garnet Valley rallied from an 8-3 deficit late in the game to pull out a miraculous win – and it was all done after Henwood was removed from the field for arguing calls. Her players immediately rushed over to her after the victory.
“The players did the real dirty work. And for that I am forever indebted to them,” Henwood said. “They poured their hearts out every time they stepped on the field together. I really love those girls and they are going to continue to achieve greatness in life.
“I am sad to leave but also excited to write the next chapter.”
Tags: Garnet Valley