At first glance one might think Bowen Holden may have a tough time filling the shoes of former Lincoln-Sudbury girls lacrosse coach Debbie DeJesus.
The past three years under DeJesus’s leadership the Warriors won 59 games while making deep runs in the MIAA tournament.
But Holden, who played and graduated from L-S in 1997, returns to her alma mater with quite the coaching resume herself.
After being hired by Boston College in Aug. 2007, she decided to step down from the Eagles’ helm after the 2012 season, departing with a 64-60 record, a streak of three consecutive winning seasons (the most in school history), and coaching the first nationally ranked team (2012) in school history.
Her highlights also include the school record for most wins in a season (12, in both 2010 and 2011), the program's first ACC Tournament victory and first NCAA Tournament appearance.
Last year she took over the Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School program, which finished 6-11 last year.
But why take such a big step back in the coaching ranks?
“It was best for my family to take a step back and spend more time with my kids,” she said. “I didn’t know I would end up in high school but I’m thrilled that I did. BB&N was a great place for me to end up. They were so good to me and I had a great time coaching those kids.”
The 2014 spring season will be the 20-year anniversary when Holden began her playing career at L-S, and the former high school All-American said emotions have been running high just thinking about the first day of the season.
“It’s so neat to be back and to be a part of it. Old friends from high school have said they are going to come back for the games,” she said. “That’s what I want. I want to get the alum back and get them involved with a feeling of pride for the program.
“I have that passion and that interest in doing this because it’s my high school. It means a lot to me. I wouldn’t have gotten where I did in my own playing and coaching career had it not been for my experiences at L-S.”
Holden said although there are many differences between coaching at the college level and high school level, the one thing that remains the same is it's all about teaching the game.
“There’s a ton of teaching that goes on at the college level,” she said. “But one difference is you’re hand-picking the athletes you’re gonna coach at the college level. In public schools that’s not happening. You’re coaching what you get. In some ways that makes it more interesting and exciting because you have to figure what makes these kids tick in a short amount of time, bring the team together and make them a cohesive unit. There are a lot of challenges in coaching high school as there is in coaching college. There are a lot of rewards to both as well.”
In preparing for the new season, Holden said she’s been in touch with her three captains — Eliza Guild, Caitlin Hullinger, Meg Cahill — and hopes to meet any other players interested in playing for her.
“I’ve enjoyed (coaching) high school far more than I ever thought I would,” she said. “I just really love coaching this age. I’m thrilled to be back and be in the community in which we are living in and certainly thrilled to be back at my alma mater.”