What if, instead of worrying about winning games, we got our athletes to focus first on ‘Winning the Day’? If they focused on their very best, working for the greater good of the team, and getting better every day, what kind of transformation would occur?
Hall of Fame head coach Cindy Timchal was named the first women’s lacrosse coach at the United States Naval Academy on August 5, 2006, and in short order, has laid the foundation for a Navy program that is moving quickly in its quest to become a NCAA Division I power. Timchal, who is entering her 36th year as a head coach, is the NCAA’s all-time leader in career wins (491) division I women’s college lacrosse. Additionally, her eight national titles are the eighth most by a coach in a women’s sport in NCAA history, and the 26th most in all sports, men and women combined.
In her 10 seasons at the helm of the Midshipmen program, Navy has accumulated a terrific 155-43 (.783) record, won five Patriot League Championships and has advanced to five NCAA Tournaments (2010, ’11, ’12, ‘13, ‘17). In 2017, Timchal and the Navy lacrosse team made history as it became the first Service Academy team from a women’s sport to advance to the NCAA Final Four.
Timchal’s coaching career got its start at Northwestern in 1982. During her nine-year tenure with the Wildcats, she compiled a 76-40 record (.655) while leading the program to five NCAA appearances. While at Northwestern, Timchal made it to the quarterfinals, earning appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 1983, ’84, ’86, ’87, and ’88. In 1991, she made the move to College Park to revive and renew the strong tradition of the University of Maryland lacrosse program.
Prior to her arrival at the storied program, Maryland’s last title had come in 1986, but almost immediately the Terrapins restored their reign atop the sport. Timchal’s first year saw a 14-3 mark and a trip to the NCAA finals. By 1992, the lacrosse world sensed something special was on the horizon at Maryland. Despite being at a place with a rich history in lacrosse, few could have predicted that a dynasty so powerful was on the horizon. With a 14-1 record, the Terrapins took the 1992 national title – the third in school history.
Individually, her athletes have earned countless accolades and awards. Maryland had 21 first team All-Americans in her last nine years, and 13 players took home national offensive, defensive or goalkeeper of the year awards. Jen Adams became the first-ever winner of the Tewaaraton Trophy, which recognizes the top collegiate men’s and women’s player in the country, and Kelly Coppedge was a finalist in 2004 and 2005. In 1996, Kelly Amonte became the Terps’ first four-time All-American, including first-team honors in 1995 and 1996.
From Kelly Amonte Hiller to Cathy Reese, Alex Kahoe to Alexis Venechanos, Jen Adams to Kelly Coppedge, the one constant amongst all of the great Maryland players was Timchal. In just five of her 16 seasons at College Park did Timchal lose more than three games in any one season, highlighted by spectacular undefeated runs in 1996 (19-0), 1999 (21-0) and 2001 (23-0). She took Terrapin teams to the NCAA finals in 11 seasons, including an unprecedented stretch of seven straight national championships – the third-longest championship streak in women’s NCAA history. In addition, the run puts Timchal in the company of coaching legends like UCLA’s John Wooden who won seven straight titles with the UCLA men’s basketball program from 1967-73.
A total of 53 different student-athletes earned All-America recognition a total of 95 times under Timchal including Kelly Amonte Hiller’s four, (1993-96), and three each for Betsy Elder (1992-94), Sarah Forbes (1995-97), Laura Harmon (1993-95), Sascha Newmarch (1996-98), Jen Adams (1999-2001) and Kelly Coppedge (2002-04). In 2005, Acacia Walker earned first team honors, Greta Sommers was named to the second team and Annie Collines was named third team All-America. Adams’ third-consecutive selection as Player of the Year in 2000 marked the 10th time one of Timchal’s players have earned National Player of the Year honors, including Amonte Hiller, who was named the 1996 NCAA Division I Most Valuable Player. When the ACC’s 50th anniversary Women’s Lacrosse Team was announced in 2002, Timchal was selected as the head coach of the squad and had coached 22 members of the team.
Nationally, 18 of Timchal’s players have played on the U.S. Developmental team and five were members of the most recent championship U.S. World Cup team. Seven former Terrapins helped lead Australia to the 2005 World Cup title in Annapolis, including tournament MVP Sarah Forbes. All totaled, 13 Terps represented three countries at the World Cup.
Beyond the numbers, though, Timchal has done her part to revolutionize the sport of women’s lacrosse. Timchal brought some of the most influential names in the sport through College Park, including former assistant and lacrosse legend Gary Gait, and Terrapin stars Cathy Nelson and Jen Adams.
In addition, former Maryland players have become a fixture on national teams and within the collegiate coaching ranks, demonstrating the breadth of Timchal’s influence. In 1996, she introduced a new wrinkle to her vast coaching repertoire as she brought aboard the wisdom of California-based spiritual advisor and renowned author Dr. Jerry Lynch to enrich the minds of her student-athletes. That decision complemented the already high level of physical conditioning it takes to excel at the Division I level and has since become a widespread trend used throughout the world of sports.
6:50 Cindy’s background and how she got into coaching
14:10 Westchester University – The Cradle of NCAA Champion Coaches
23:35 A culture of selflessness is the foundation for excellence
32:50 Coaching with energy and confidence is contagious
43:20 On nurturing a culture of giving
49:20 Building culture starts today with just one simple thing at a time
59:05 Once you get to the top how do you stay at the top
Get in Touch
Website: Navy Women’s Lacrosse Website
Become a Transformational Coach like Jerry and Cindy:
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