Patrick Goggins, of Arlington, Virginia, returns to the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) this fall turning in his assistant coach title for that of head coach for CSM’s Women’s Lacrosse team. He said one of his top priorities to ready the Hawks for their spring season will be to stay focused on the basics of the sport.
“In order to build a foundation, one needs to start from the ground level and move up,” he said, which mirrors much like he did when he started playing the sport in fourth grade. Born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, Goggins said his love for the sport began when he started playing club lacrosse in elementary school and it grew stronger when he played at the varsity level for four years at Wilmington Friends School.
“I love lacrosse, and I do this (coaching) for the love of the game,” he said. “It starts with having fun. If you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t be out there playing the sport.”
He said he kept the sport in his life while serving in the U.S. Air Force, even taking along a lacrosse stick and ball during his tour in Iraq. After he left the military, Goggins said his passion for community college lacrosse came naturally as a student enrolled at Anne Arundel Community College where he played on its lacrosse team for two seasons.
“Community college is a good mix of skill,” he said. “You have a mix of players who have never played lacrosse before and kids who can play at the Division 1 level.”
Goggins earned his associate degree in chemistry and transferred to the University of Maryland, playing club lacrosse for two more years while earning his bachelor’s degree in physics. When he found out about the opportunity to become an assistant coach at CSM, it was one he couldn’t resist.
“This is a great opportunity to coach at a high level and I enjoy coaching,” he said. “I love seeing a team develop over a season. I love seeing them improve; seeing their career at other schools. It doesn’t matter if it’s a long-pole, short-stick, woman’s stick – I love being on the field and teaching people lacrosse.”
The women Hawks had a rough season last year, and Goggins said he has a few goals for the program going forward.
“I want to build a stronger lacrosse program throughout the region,” said Goggins. “There is so much talent in Southern Maryland. There are a lot of great players who want to play, and I want (CSM) to be a place where players want to play.”
He said he also plans to build a stronger culture of learning on the field. Goggins agreed that lacrosse is fun but also requires a lot of dedication and work. “You get what you put in, and I want these athletes to understand that is also how life is. There’s a lot you can learn from lacrosse that you can apply to life.”
“I may have five or six girls who have never played lacrosse before,” Goggins continued. “I’m going to teach them the basics while teaching the other women who have played before more advanced skills. I am not as worried about winning as I am about developing the team and gaining interest. As interest grows, winning will come along.”
Sticking with the basics and playing hard are Goggins’ repeated themes.
“I believe you need to start at the basics – as in the simplest thing possible,” he said. “The simplest thing in lacrosse is running, so you build that up with conditioning. Then you go to catching, then throwing and then fielding ground balls. You have to build your team like it’s a pyramid.”
“What I ask from [my players] is their effort,” he added. “If they give me effort, I will take care of the rest. If someone is trying their best and they are performing poorly, that’s on me (as the coach). If someone is not playing well and not performing at their best, then it’s on them. But the most important thing here is to stay positive and recognize when players are doing something right.”