When Megan Moore first joined the Emerson community in fall 2011, it was in the same way as her players — first as a student, and then as an athlete. After choosing Emerson in winter 2010 to pursue her MFA in creative writing, 25-year-old Moore took the position of women’s lacrosse coach last fall.
“I got an email from [Athletic Director Kristin Parnell],” Moore said. “[She asked] if anyone had prior experience in coaching. I let her know I had been coaching women’s lacrosse. We talked about things, and it progressed from there.”
Moore described one of the keys of her coaching style as her ability to relate to her players and to recognize the efforts they make not only on the field, but off it too.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the film and the game planning and the schedule, but you have to realize that you’re student athletes,” she said. “You wake up, you have class, you have jobs. I recognize that they have a lot of other things going on. It isn’t lacrosse all the time.”
Sophia Mitropoulus, a junior captain on the team, said that her coach emphasizes the importance of being a well-rounded player.
“She definitely tells us how important our schoolwork and our family is and how it comes before lacrosse,” Mitropoulus said. “She always asks us about class and checks in constantly.”
Moore juggled her own obligations with sports and academics throughout a standout career at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, where she studied English. Moore’s four years as midfielder included two Centennial Conference Championship wins and four trips to the National College Athletic Association tournament. She was also named an Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association All-American for Division 3 in 2008. In 77 games with Gettysburg, she racked up 118 goals, 52 assists, and 11 game-winning goals.
It was from her days as a college player under Gettysburg women’s lacrosse head coach Carol Cantele, Moore said, that she learned a lot about coaching.
“I played for someone I respect and who is very respected in the women’s lacrosse world,” Moore said. “When I think about my experience, that’s what drives me to give any of my players the same type of experience and enjoyment.”
Cantele, who has been coaching at Gettysburg for 20 years, has the fifth most wins of all active Coaches in Division 3. Under her direction, Gettysburg has made the postseason for 12 consecutive seasons and finished 2011 with an NCAA title. She described some of the traits that made Moore successful throughout her college career.
“Megan was a great player,” Cantele said in an email interview. “Her ability on the circle obtaining the draws, her shooting ability, and [her] transition ability were some of her greatest strengths. She was a workhorse on the defensive end as well. She was a joy to coach.”
As soon as Moore finished her career as a player, she went right back to the sport she loved — only this time as a coach. She gained experience as a coach at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. and then at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, before moving to Boston to continue her studies.
“Last semester, it was a big adjustment, moving and starting classes right away,” said Moore, who is currently taking a short story workshop with plans to take a screenwriting class over the summer and two classes in the fall. “It was a challenge, but a worthwhile one.”
Taking classes at Emerson has given Moore the chance to spend a lot of time at the college — something, she says, that has helped her to relate to her players.
“Emerson is different from a lot of places that I’ve been,” she said. “It’s a unique school. Trying to see the ins and outs has helped me to understand Emerson. It helps me not only to relate to my student athletes, but in recruiting kids. I can give them a broader perspective than most coaches who don’t know the academic side of it.”
Moore can often be seen in the athletic department holding conferences with her players — something midfielder Chelsea Phillips says that is new for the team.
“We’ve never had playbooks or film or individual meetings,” the sophomore said. “She played at a high level and carried that over to our team. She’s trying to make our team more important as a whole.”
Playbooks and game film, however, are not the only things Moore contends with. The short story workshop that Moore is enrolled in requires her to write four short pieces. The workload, she said, has proved to her the importance of time management.
“As any writer knows, time is your biggest enemy — taking the time to put words on a page and let your stories carry you away,” said Moore. “I was a lot more conscious of when I’m sitting at my desk, turning my lacrosse brain off and my writer brain on.”
Moore, a native of Maryland who now lives on Beacon Hill, said that she enjoys the familiar atmosphere of Emerson.
“While we are in the city, we are still a campus,” she said. “I love walking down Boylston and maybe seeing a classmate, one of the girls on my team, or a person from Admissions that I know. I feel a lot more at home here.”
And though balancing academics and coaching responsibilities can be difficult at times, Moore said that it is important for players to appreciate the fleeting time they spend playing a college sport.
“The value of the four-year athletic experience is huge,” Moore said. “This is a privilege. When [my players] have to walk away from it in four years, they can look back and really understand this doesn’t last forever. It will be over one day, and when it’s over, that’s when you realize the worth of it.”