The 34th IWLCA Annual Meeting presented by Nike concluded on Friday, November 20, after two and a half days of business sessions, professional development opportunities and presentations from multiple partner organizations within the lacrosse community. One of the highlights of the Meetings was the first ever Rules Scrimmage, a joint effort organized by the Annual Meeting Planning Committee and the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Committee. The scrimmage featured over 40 IWLCA member coaches playing in a modified format game to demonstrate the new rules that were adopted for the 2016 season.
President Alicia Groveston, head coach at Grand Valley State University, said “We had a great week. We covered a lot of important information and received significant positive feedback from the membership regarding the Rules Scrimmage. The Honors Banquet on Thursday night was a highlight and gave us the opportunity to celebrate our membership and their achievements.”
This years meeting was the largest ever, with 626 coaches in attendance. "We are one of most highly regarded coaches associations in the country," Gothard Lane, executive director, informed the membership. "I get calls all the time from other organizations wanting to know how we are able to do all that we can do for our members. The growth of our organization, and the corresponding increase in professionalism and member benefits, is something we are admired for."
In addition to the Rules Scrimmage and Rules Interpretation Sessions on Wednesday, coaches participated in a networking dinner to share ideas and discuss topical issues. The night concluded with an address by keynote speaker Teresa Edwards, who inspired the audience by sharing her story and enumerating what made the coaches she played for so successful.
Thursday’s schedule featured internal business sessions, two Division specific breakout sessions, and a series of professional development activities, including roundtables and a presentation by IWLCA legal counsel Samantha Ekstrand providing professional advice to coaches. The day ended with the IWLCA Honors Banquet, which provided an opportunity for the membership to honor their own. “It was an amazing event,” Groveston said. “It reminded everyone why we do what we do. I left the room inspired and energized.”
Friday’s agenda included additional division specific breakouts, new business, and the presentation of the 24 IWLCA Meeting Scholarship recipients. Each scholarship winner received a subsidy from the organization to offset unreimbursed travel expenses to allow them to attend the meeting. According to IWLCA Treasurer Katie Woods, the head coach at Connecticut, “Writing the scholarship checks is one of my favorite things to do because it means we are able to have a significant number of coaches attend our meetings that wouldn’t be able to do so otherwise. This is us directly supporting the professional development of our own, and that’s very powerful.”
“The meetings provided an excellent balance of professional development, camaraderie, support and networking for our entire membership. Personally, I leave our convention inspired with a sense of further growth even after being a head coach for 18 years,” said Patty Kloidt, head coach at Hamilton College. “The people who lead this organization have the utmost respect for our profession both as coaches and human beings. I feel honored to be a part of it.”
Suzie Friedrich, assistant coach at Cornell University, explained, "I always look forward to the convention because it's such a great time to catch up with so many wonderful people who have become really good friends. I especially enjoy the Honors Banquet. Hearing from those who have served the organization is always incredibly inspiring."
The Board of Directors also conducted meetings on-site before and after the general membership meetings to attend to the affairs of the organization. The 2016 IWLCA Annual Meetings will be returning to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort next November, and will again be run in conjunction with the IWLCA President’s Cup recruiting tournament.