Lisa Larrabee has coached the Lawrence field hockey team for the last 10 seasons. She recently resigned, and said she’s leaving “with a heavy heart.”
“There wasn’t any one reason,” Larrabee said. “Leaving now wasn’t part of my game plan. Cindy (Breau) retired as a JV coach and a teacher, and it just seemed like the right thing to do. I’m going to look to a new adventure. I’m a pretty decisive person, and I still don’t know if this is the right decision. I’m going to miss all of the kids, and the relationships that I’ve built.”
In 2003, the year before Larrabee took over, Lawrence did not have a coach at the beginning of the regular season. Breau had to take over on an interim basis, and the Bulldogs finished 2-12. Under Larrabee, Lawrence became one of the top programs in Eastern A, going 40-20-4 over the last four seasons. Larrabee said building the team to that level was not the work of one person.
“I want to recognize the parents, community members, and volunteers who have helped grow the PAL program, the travel program, and the junior high program,” she said. “I have high school players who not only volunteer to coach, but take forms and help with the fundraising. In any coaching arena, you’re going to have some problem parents, but I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive decade for the most part.”
“If you’re willing to work, Coach Larrabee is the one who’s going to bring you to great places,” said Abby King, a senior on the team last fall. “I loved her so much. She knew how to run the team and make you work hard, but still have fun.”
Larrabee believes that commitment over the years has put Lawrence in a position to continue to contend in the future.
“I know there’s a lot of talent for Lawrence field hockey,” Larrabee said. “The kids are playing from grade 1 to 12. There’ll be even more players on the field next year. The Lawrence Lady Bulldogs will be extremely competitive for years to come. I’m hoping to go watch them in a state game.”
Larrabee said she would like to stay involved with field hockey. She said she’s been approached about officiating, but joked that because she knows the players in this area so well, she would probably end up watching their techniques from a coach’s viewpoint instead of focusing on calling the game.
“I’ve played field hockey since I was 11 years old,” Larrabee said. “I love the sport, and I’ve gotten as much — if not more — out of coaching than I did as a player. Field hockey has to be in my life in some capacity. I’m not closing the door on coaching forever.”
One of the toughest things about resigning, Larrabee said, is leaving next year’s seniors, who she’s coached for the last three-plus years. By resigning in the winter, she wasn’t able to have a final meeting with her last team.
“My biggest regret is not being able to say good-bye,” Larrabee said. “There’s no way to say that I appreciate them and it’s been one of the best things in my life.”
“There’s a lot of people I’ve met in the MSAD 49 district and growing up in Fairfield,” King said. “There’s a lot of people who have inspired me. Without a single doubt, Coach Larrabee is at the top of that list. She’s definitely made me a better person and a better field hockey player over the years.”