By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/30/15
Amanda Kammes, formerly an assistant coach at Garnet Valley and then at Division I UC Davis, has come back home to accept the head coach position at Abington.
Kammes has taken a unique path to her first head coaching position. She attended a Midwestern high school tat did not have lacrosse and she started for four years on Penn’s basketball team, but she quickly fell for lacrosse after being introduced to the sport.
Kammes attended Benet Academy in Illinois and only played lacrosse in gym class and intramurals,but starred in basketba;;. Kammes was a two-year starter for the Quakers from 2001-05, where she was a member of the 2004 team that won the Ivy League Championship. Kammes served as captain in her senior season and played for Head Coach Patrick Knapp in his first season at Penn.
She coached as an assistant at American for two years and one year under Knapp. Famed AAU basketball coach Mike Flynn convinced Kammes to try coaching lacrosse; she said he claimed lacrosse was the “next big thing.”
For Kammes’ sake, Flynn was right.
Kammes had met Garnet Valley grad Kate Henwood through her basketball friends and after Henwood got the Garnet Valley head coaching job in 2010. Kammes began helping out at Garnet Valley as a volunteer. Kammes was soon hired as Henwood’s assistant at Garnet Valley midway through the 2011 season when the Jaguars won their first of two straight state titles and then Kammes was named as one of Henwood’s assistants when she took the head coaching job at Division 1 UC Davis in 2013.
Henwood and Kammes left UC Davis after the 2015 season; Henwood is director of the NXT girls’ lacrosse program and Kammes coaches the 2020 team while also serving as Cradle Lacrosse Regional Director.
Kammes takes over an Abington program that finished 14-5 in 2015 but had an off-the-field incident that marred the end of the season.
Kammes answered these questions:
How does your basketball coaching and playing background help you as a lacrosse coach?
Kammes: “I really enjoyed the experience of coaching college lacrosse,” Kammes said. “It’s different landscape than college basketball. But after three years of it I have a strong understanding of the recruiting landscape.
“Like it or not, the recruiting timeline is constantly being moved up. Freshmen – even eighth-graders – right or wrong, are being recruited and having and understanding of the recruiting landscape will help me mentor my players at Abington.
How will your D1 coaching background help in your new position?
Kammes: “One of the reasons I got involved to begin with is that I really enjoyed lacrosse. It’s still a young sport and the rules are still changing every year. The game is still growing and you are seeing it pop up and be more popular in the West. Understanding how the game is growing and seeing the landscape grow nationally will make me a better coach. Understanding the level of competition at the D1 level and being able to coach at that level will help me coach at the high school level.”
What are your short-term goals?
Kammes: “My end goal is to compete with the Central League teams. That’s something we have already started talk about. The only way to do that is by playing Central League teams out of season on a regular basis so the girls can understand the level of competition you need to rise up to that level. We are playing in a winter league (YSC) with a lot of Central League teams and I think it’s just a matter of time before Abington starts competing at that level.”
“If I am going to be blunt, my short-term goals are to re-invent the culture of Abington girls’ lacrosse. I think they ended the year in a very disappointing fashion and this year is a year of redemption. We are rewriting what we are known for and how we behave and carry ourselves. With a little change in culture I see us as a contender and later moving forward to the state tournament.”
What are your long-term goals?
Kammes: “Not only do we want to have the ability to performe, we want to perform and behave with character off the field as well. At Garnet Valley we went from a no-name team to winning multiple state championships and that was in part our culture. If they buy in long term the hope is to make Abington into a powerhouse program and for it to be know as a success on and off the field.”
What coaches have helped shape your style?
Kammes: “I take a little bit of insights from everyone I have worked with – Kelly Greenberg at Penn, Pat Knapp at Penn and Melissa McFerrin, my head coach at American; and Kate (Henwood). Every coach has their own characteristics and idiosyncrasies that are unique to them. I definitely formed my coaching philosophy. I think my basketball background helps me keep fresh ideas and keeps me relevant to the every-changing lacrosse game. It will only continue to change as years go on. No lacrosse player has played with the shot clock, and my basketball background with the shot clock will only help me continue to coach lacrosse.”
What is your general coaching philosophy?
Kammes: “My coaching philosophy is to work hard, play hard and put in the work. If you outwork the opponent, that’s what brings success. That, mixed with accountability and respect for others and our program, leads to success.”