Michael Daly | Head Coach | Women’s Lacrosse | University of New Hampshire (UNH)

Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?

Qualities our program looks for in a potential recruit include competitive drive (not just I want to win, but players who refuse to lose), coachability/willingness to keep improving their game & basic skills, great footwork (we find most HS players have awful footwork, dodging and balance skills), speed and quickness/ esp. change of speeds, well-rounded athleticism & team sports sense (from multiple sports played, so NOT so specialized to lacrosse), mental toughness and resiliency, team-focused, self-motivated, goal setters/achievers, leadership, sense of humor, vocal players/teammates, and strong personal character and an exceptional work ethic/drive to be the best at what they do. We are finding fewer and fewer recruits who are willing to work beyond expectations and push themselves passed the limit to become an elite Div. I Lacrosse player. They are seemingly OK with being average and really have never had to work too hard in their young lives, so they don’t have a work ethic beyond a basic one. Players are not being pushed or driven to become the best they can be in H.S. or on their club teams, so then they come to college and “settle” and don’t have the Div. I/college work ethic or drive to continue getting better or the will to make themselves athletically uncomfortable in order to become the best player they can be. They seem to easily settle for being just “good enough” and for “trying”. Fewer and fewer recruits have these qualities and the work ethic and personal drive to make themselves top Div. I players (or even top conference players), or mere better than average players. Thus they are not very coachable as college players. It’s just “too hard” and “too much work” for most recruits, except for the true elite players in the top HS/club programs. We want recruits at UNH who want to be the best player they can be, want to be coached to be the best, and those who exceed the preparation expectations and goals on their own, and ones who work the hardest on the athleticism and stick skills when no one else is around or looking, i.e. parents, coaches or teammates. That’s what makes champions in Div. I and in all sports. We find that a lot of recruits come to Div. I just to be on the team and for something to do, and not to build and be part of a winner and successful program. They are going through the motions to just “get by”. We want recruits who want to come to UNH to be a special player on a special TEAM and to DO SOMETHING!

Could you give an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?

I had a former player at UNH who was a walk-on, who then earned a scholarship in her freshman year through hard work, and then decided that she wanted to be an All-American on her own, just because that’s what SHE wanted. She did not want to have regrets or NOT realize her potential as a player in Div. I and for UNH. So the summer before her junior year, she worked harder in the weight room, the track, on runs, and with her stick skills than any player I had ever seen before. She far exceeded the summer program expectations or goals for the team on her own. As a result, she made herself into a Div. I All-American and became our team’s leading goal scorer that spring, and in the process helped lead the team to the NCAA tournament. Her excellence and success came from her exceptional work ethic and determination that she wanted to DO SOMETHING special at UNH for her and her team, without anyone telling her to do so. And she was one of the smallest players on the field at 5’0’’, but nothing held her back from being great and working towards that goal. What this player did when the coaches were not around and looking made her an All American, and helped lead our team to the NCAA tournament. If we had a team full players like her, we’d be in the final 4 every year.