For many student athletes, their time on the field ends after graduation. But for University of Florida Lacrosse Assistant Coach, Michelle Tumolo, lacrosse is just as big a part of her life now as it was when she played as a student at Syracuse University.
Tumolo played attack during her time for the Orange. She finished her college career ranked third in all-time scoring with 278 points, second in career assists with 137 and fifth in all-time goals with 141, according to GatorZone.com. She is also a 2012 Tewaaraton Trophy Finalist, which is an award given annually to the most outstanding college lacrosse player.
Tumolo graduated from Syracuse in 2013. She was hired as Florida’s newest assistant lacrosse coach in fall 2013. Overall, Tumolo had a smooth transition from player to coach.
“It’s hard if like someone is doing something wrong, you can’t exactly do it for them. So I think that’s the biggest difference. But other than that it’s a great experience. I’m so lucky to still be able to be a part of the sport even though I’ve graduated and can’t play anymore,” said Tumolo.
But coaching isn’t new territory for Tumolo. She was a coach for the South Jersey Devils Lacrosse Club in 2010. She also coached Syracuse’s Elite Lacrosse Camp from 2010 to 2013. Tumolo’s experience as the Syracuse lacrosse team captain her sophomore, junior and senior year helped her prepare for her job too.
“When your peers respect your, it makes it that much easier. And I think that being on the team at Syracuse, I had respect there. And now being a coach here, they respect me,” Tumolo said.
The 22-year-old has only been playing lacrosse for eight years. And even though she’s the same age as some of the players on the Gators lacrosse team, she still has a lot of experience to share.
“Now that I’ve played and I’ve had that energy, I can give it to my team now—My young and fun energy and the confidence that they need,” said Tumolo, “I know what it’s like to go through just building confidence. So if I player needs that I really look at them and you can come to me for any of that insight. The hard part for me is that they’re my age, basically. So it’s hard to have to have authority with them but at the same time they respect me, so it doesn’t make my job harder.”
Tumolo’s goal for her first season as assistant coach is to win as many games as possible. She does not want to the Gators to suffer another loss like the team’s defeat to University of North Carolina in the first game of the 2014 season.
“I hope that we stay strong. And then when we go into the tournament, I hope we come out with a victory, you know, ALC champs. That would be a big goal. But each game is a goal for us, and for me personally, keeping that win streak going, because that first game was a little tough,” said Tumolo.
Tumolo plans to continue her coaching career. She hopes to become a head coach one day.