Women’s lacrosse will see a familiar face on its coaching staff as it prepares for its 2022 season. On September 29, the Athletic Department announced that Kara Finnerty ’20 has been hired as an assistant coach for the team. Finnerty was a two-sport varsity starter on the field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams for the entirety of her Bowdoin career, earning NCAA Division III All-American Honors in both sports.
Since graduation, Finnerty’s love for lacrosse and her alma mater have persisted.
“I had known I always wanted to get into coaching in some capacity,” Finnerty said. “When the opportunity arose to come back to Bowdoin, it was a no-brainer.”
In addition to stardom on the field, Finnerty excelled in the classroom, double majoring in Government and Legal Studies and Francophone Studies. She was also a Sarah and James Bowdoin Scholar—a prestigious award given to students with GPAs in the top 20% of their class—and was on the Academic All-NESCAC team.
For Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Liz Grote, the decision to hire Finnerty was easy.
“[Finnerty] is obviously very familiar with our program,” Grote said. “Her knowledge and intelligence will be really good for the current team going forward.”
Grote also praised Finnerty’s specific expertise with Bowdoin women’s lacrosse.
“Finnerty is a student of the game,” she said. “It’s apparent she already knows our systems of play very well.”
Beyond familiarity with the Polar Bears’ play style, Finnerty is not far removed from her own experiences as a student-athlete. In fact, she was on the last women’s lacrosse team to take the field before the pandemic canceled intercollegiate play on March 12, 2020 at Colby College.
Furthermore, having graduated less than two years ago, Finnerty already knows many of the team’s current players, which deepens her existing connection to the team.
“It’s been really great to come into an environment that is so familiar and to have two grades on the team that I already know and have existing relationships with,” Finnerty said.
Grote also believes that Finnerty’s connection to the College and to current players bolsters her leadership potential.
“Finnerty gets a lot of respect from the [current] players on the team just for who she is and the type of leader and player that she was,” Grote said.
A challenge the team will face this spring is overcoming the disconnect and lack of competition they have experienced over the past nineteen months due to COVID-19.
“You want to figure out how to make up for the last nearly two full seasons that didn’t exist and get everybody on the same page and return successfully to such a strong league as the NESCAC,” Finnerty said.
With a member of the coaching staff able to bridge the gap between past and current players. as well as bring expertise only a Polar Bear would know, the team hopes to make a smooth transition into their upcoming season next spring.
Finnerty, in addition to her attachment to both playing and coaching lacrosse, has an array of other passions, which she is excited to pursue while in her new role as assistant coach.
“I enjoy spending time with [my] family and in the outdoors,” she said. “Part of being a two-sport athlete [meant] that I didn’t take as much advantage of being in Maine as I should have, but I can [do that] now!”
Finnerty also spoke on her coaching philosophy, emphasizing joy, enjoyment and happiness over chasing wins.
“I hope to make playing as enjoyable as I can for the players,” she said. “People play their best when they’re having fun.”