Weston's Angela McMahon Returned To The Starting Point
Aug. 9, 2007
WESTON, Mass. - Ever since her days at Weston High, Angela McMahon has always taken her competitiveness to the next level. McMahon was a two-time All-Scholastic in lacrosse and was captain of the soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams as a senior in high school.
McMahon led the Lady 'Cats to two soccer state championships in 1997 and 1998 as well as appearances in the state finals in basketball in 1999 and lacrosse in 1998. The 2000 graduate and Town Crier Female Athlete of the Year continued her lacrosse career at Northwestern University where she helped lead a program from its infancy to a national powerhouse.
As a freshman, McMahon attended the University of Massachusetts and decided to transfer to Northwestern in search of a greater challenge on the field.
When she arrived on the scene in Evanston, Illinois the program was just getting its feet off of the ground. Not a bad challenge for a sophomore transfer. For three years under coach Kelly Amonte (sister of Tony Amonte of the NHL's Calgary Flames), McMahon and her teammates began a trend of improvement which eventually led them to the program's first NCAA Tournament victory over Notre Dame.
``That first year we went 5-10 and by my senior year we were 15-3 and ranked sixth nationally,'' explained McMahon.
That same year after their win against Notre Dame, Northwestern was eventually ousted by would-be national champion Virginia.
``We worked on improving every day and worked hard,'' said McMahon. `` Although we may not have been the best lacrosse players, we used our athleticism and built confidence with every game.''
After a successful career at Northwestern where she finished ninth in team history with 23 career assists and is 13th on NU's all-time list with 44 career goals for the Wildcats, McMahon was offered a job at Bentley College in Waltham to take the reigns as head coach for the spring of 2006.
At the ripe young age of 23, she had her first taste of being a head coach.
``I was going a little crazy being stuck behind a desk at my full-time job working for Reebok,'' joked McMahon in a phone interview. ``My original plan since high school had been to be involved in athletics so I took the job with Reebok to get my feet wet. Later on I realized that my passion lay on the field so I left Reebok and became a full-time coach.''
McMahon coached the Falcons to the quarterfinals of the Northeast 10 conference in her only year there. ``It was a great experience even though I was sort of thrown into it because I had never coached before but the team improved throughout the whole year and it was great,'' she said.
Nowadays, McMahon's desk is in Amherst, Massachusetts where she has been an assistant women's lacrosse coach since last August. ``Last August there was a coaching change at UMass and they changed the whole staff, hired my former assistant coach from when I played at Northwestern and I had the opportunity to coach under her at UMass and coach full time. I wanted to do it because UMass has a lot of potential to be great and the administrative staff is pushing for greatness, it's very exciting,'' remarked McMahon.
One of the most rewarding aspects about being a collegiate coach for McMahon has been her ability to have an impact on people's lives. ``Girls come in young and I can help them with their lives or with college and help them become better lacrosse players and better people and that is extremely rewarding. I also get to play in practice and be active in a competitive environment and I'm very fortunate to be able to continue that with the sport that is my passion. Coaching at UMass is almost like being a professional coach but a in different setting. I get to travel all over the world and meet so many different people but it's definitely a lot of work.''
McMahon also tries to give back to the game when she can by holding youth lacrosse camps and working with high schoolers whenever she finds the time away from traveling or the office.
With the upcoming season still months away, McMahon has tirelessly been off on recruiting trips and visiting camps in search of new players.
``This year we established a new system and we're going to try to improve every day,'' explained McMahon. ``We're returning 90 percent of our scoring from last season and adding 11 recruits. Five of those recruits are from Massachusetts and we were fortunate enough to tap some of the local talent here. Sometimes players from this state get overlooked and being from here I know that Massachusetts has good lacrosse so we got five really good `home grown' athletes and six from other states and most of them were high school All-Americans.''
The outlook for UMass women's lacrosse in 2008 is shaping up to be pretty bright as the team will look to make some noise in the NCAA tournament as well as the Atlantic 10 tournament. With Angela McMahon helping lead the way, look for UMass to become a force to be reckoned with on the lacrosse field for years to come.
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