By Ryan Kaczmarski
Baldwin-Wallace College has named Lakewood resident Kim Russell as its first-ever women’s lacrosse coach.
“We welcome Kim to Baldwin-Wallace College,” said B-W athletics director Kris A. Diaz. “She has a vast background of experience in field hockey and lacrosse and will be a valuable asset to the college.
“She has experience both starting programs and administering them to success,” Diaz continued. “We are excited to have Kim on campus and look forward to working with her to make the B-W program a winner.”
Russell has been coaching women’s lacrosse for the past 16 years and has coached at every level. She comes to B-W after most recently being the firsr-ever coach at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington (UNC Wilmington) in the spring of 2011. She additionally has started lacrosse programs at Magnificat High School (1996-2003) and for Rocky River (Ohio) Youth & Middle School (2003-present).
“It was actually quite by accident that I found out that Magnificat was trying to start a (lacrosse) team,” Russell said. “It was through one of my baby-sitters who said, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re going to start a lacrosse team at Magnificat.’ I said, ‘Who’s going to coach you?’ She said, ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘How about me?’
“That’s how I fell into coaching at Magnificat.”
Russell left Magnificat in 2003 to concentrate on raising her children, but her hiatus did not last long.
“When my oldest daughter was in third grade, I started the youth and middle school programs through Rocky River Recreation,” she said. “They are still the only programs for youth and middle school girls on the west side of Cleveland, so we never limit the number of kids in those programs and the girls can come from any community. Any girl that wants to play – between fourth and eighth grade – will have a place to play.”
Presently, she is involved as an administrator and coach at the Ohio Premier Lacrosse Club of Cleveland, is president and club coach at Westside Field Hockey & Lacrosse Inc. and director and volunteer coach for youth and middle school girls at the Rocky River Recreation Center. She also serves as vice president for U.S. Lacrosse (Ohio North Coast Chapter). She additionally has mentored 14 current lacrosse coaches and 13 student athletes who went on to play Division I field hockey and/or lacrosse.
Coach Russell has a vast background as a teacher, coach and instructor. In addition to her coaching and administrative responsibilities, she has taught physical education for the past 11 years at the Ruffing Montessori School in Rocky River and at the Virgin Islands Montessori School & International Academy (2006-10), and has served as a group exercise instructor for the past 28 years.
“Starting a college lacrosse program from scratch is a challenge as well as an opportunity,” Russell said. “I am excited about both as I love challenges and I see this as a great opportunity for the growth of the college, for its new lacrosse student athletes, for me and for lacrosse both locally and nationally.”
Russell also noted there are distinct differences between coaching youth and college players.
“When you get to the college level, you get more input from your players,” she said. “I have been involved with girls and women’s lacrosse at every level, from youth to NCAA Division I as a student athlete, coach and/or administrator.
“I can’t imagine a better fit than to be a part of this new and exciting program,” she added. “I love coaching and sharing the passion I have for lacrosse with my student athletes, and I am excited to be able to do it at B-W. I am thankful for the opportunity.”
She was introduced to lacrosse, as a child growing up in Delaware, in the seventh grade. She continued to play through high school and college.
Russell is a 1989 graduate of the College of William and Mary (Virginia), where she played NCAA Division I field hockey and lacrosse. In field hockey, she served as a team captain (1988), was named all-conference twice (1987 and 1988) and All-South Region as a senior. In lacrosse, Coach Russell played on the 1986 William and Mary team that beat the University of Maryland squad that won the NCAA Division I title that season. As a junior, she played on a team that appeared in the NCAA Division I national tournament, and as a senior at William and Mary, she won both conference and ECAC titles and was named as a starter for the South team in the North-South All-Star Game.
Following graduation from William and Mary, she began working for International Management Group (IMG) in its golf division and remained there until 1993.
She is the mother of four children, Maddie (17), Sam (14), Anna (12) and Charlie (7).
B-W instituted lacrosse as one of its 23 varsity sports at its October board of trustees meeting last fall, and Russell was selected after an extensive national search. The college will play a junior varsity schedule in 2012-13 and begin playing varsity lacrosse the following season.
Russell also wants to let people know that there is a dire need for lacrosse coaches and officials from youth all the way up to high school. If there are any high school students that would like to officiate youth and middle school lacrosse, or any adults (preferably with officiating experience in other sports) who would like to officiate high school lacrosse, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.