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Wagner College’s Tessa Chad Talks The Transition From Playing to Coaching Within NCAA Lacrosse

Tessa Chad | Assistant Women's Lacrosse Coach | Wagner College

As a coach, I always wanted to embrace the different styles of play that my players had and find a way for them to be as successful as possible.

Tessa Chad

Assistant Women's Lacrosse Coach

Wagner College

× The interview with Tessa Chad was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

Tell us about the beginning of your lacrosse journey. How did you first get involved in the sport?

I first got involved in box lacrosse when I was 4. I started out playing for the Clarington Gaels, where I was the only girl on the team. I played box lacrosse with the boys until grade 8, where I then made the transition to play girls box lacrosse.

I played hockey during the winter months, and my parents signed me up for lacrosse in the summer to keep me active.

Growing up, my dad helped to coach me during some summers, so I found it as a great way to bond with him as well. I didn’t get started with field lacrosse until I was in high school where I played for the Oshawa Lady Blue Knights.

You played NCAA Division I lacrosse for a number of years, having success on the field with Canisius College and the University of Louisville. What were some of the benefits and challenges of being a student athlete in lacrosse?

Some benefits of being a student-athlete were that I got to play lacrosse almost every day, and was able to train at the highest level.

I was lucky enough to play for 2 teams in college where the culture and team dynamic was very positive. We always pushed each other on and off the field to be better and had a lot of fun doing it.

I was able to travel all of the US and had some great experiences doing so.

A few challenges of being a student-athlete were that you had to effectively manage your time in a way that  didn’t compromise your grades or your performance on the field.

Lacrosse is a very demanding sport and very taxing on your body as well, so I had to spend extra time doing the proper rehab and getting proper treatment in my spare time.

Since finishing your career as a student athlete, you’ve recently transitioned to coaching. Can you tell us about this transition, and your role as Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach for Wagner College?

I was lucky enough to find a great opportunity to coach right after graduating.

The transition was very smooth since I was very aware of the demanding daily schedule and what it took to be successful at the Division 1 level. My head coach and other assistant coach made me feel right at home the first day I started. I’ve learned a lot from both of them when it comes to coaching responsibilities both on and off of the field.

From being a student-athlete, I always knew that a lot of preparation and planning went into coaching and operating a lacrosse team.

I was unaware of how much work goes in to make not only just practices and games happen, but also planning for travel and making sure we are providing the best possible experience for the team as student-athletes at Wagner College.

What motivated you to make the jump from playing lacrosse straight into coaching?

I always knew that my college career had to come to an end, but lacrosse was such a huge part of life that I wanted to continue to stay in the lacrosse community, more specifically stay in Division 1 lacrosse.

A big motivation factor for me to move straight into coaching was the opportunity for myself to also attend graduate school and earn my MBA during my 2 years coaching. After 2 years, if I found that maybe I wanted to take an alternate route from coaching I would have my Master’s Degree to fall back on.

I was already so used to the fast paced environment that lacrosse brings on a daily basis, so I knew that I could handle the demands and schedule that coaching requires. 

You’ve had the opportunity to play for many skilled and knowledgeable coaches during your time as a lacrosse athlete. What coaching styles and skills have you adopted from your previous coaches?

I was very lucky to have had some very talented and influential coaches during my career.

I played for the same Coach in college that I also had the pleasure of playing for during my two times representing Team Canada. I adopted his style of fast-paced, creativity and finesse focused play that meshed well with my play that is influenced by my background of playing box lacrosse.

Lacrosse is a very unique sport in the sense that every player has a different style of play, and that is what makes them such an asset to the team.

As a coach, I always wanted to embrace the different styles of play that my players had and find a way for them to be as successful as possible.

I truly believed that if your players show up everyday and work hard, with adding in some extra work on their own time, it’s easy to coach them and easy to implement any systems.

Jaelyn Terrion Jaelyn's Final Thoughts

Tessa Chad, Wagner College Women’s Assistant Lacrosse Coach, has a decorated lacrosse career. She’s captured the ultimate win while playing on a world scale with Team Canada, won provincial and national titles, and experienced success on the field with both University of Louisville and Canisius College Division I lacrosse programs. Her love for the game, paired with her experience of being a student athlete, made the transition to coaching a smooth one. She’s basing her coaching style on her own play, and everything she’s picked up from her previous coaches’ fast-paced and creativity-focused coaching style. Tessa’s choice to to make the jump from playing to coaching lacrosse is a such a great one, as she can now teach and inspire the next wave of women’s lacrosse leaders. Tessa is a leader herself in women’s lacrosse, and it was great to chat with her about her career thus far! 

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