Mike Jewell named interim head women’s lacrosse coach

Members+of+the+Ashland+women%27s+lacrosse+team+pictured+above.+

Jordann Lopata

Members of the Ashland women’s lacrosse team pictured above.

Niko Scarlatos

What is change? Is it considered a good or bad thing? For the Ashland University Women’s Lacrosse Team, change has made the program’s future look brighter than ever before. While only in its third season here at Ashland, the program has been in search for the correct culture since day one. 2019 saw the inaugural team finish with a record of 5-11 followed by a 2-4 record in 2020 before the season got cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Entering the 2021 campaign, there were a lot of questions surrounding all Spring sports, but especially the lacrosse team. Along with the concerns as to whether or not the season was even going to get played due to the worldwide virus, the lacrosse squad was still looking for someone to lead the way and bring a positive, winning culture along with them. In came Mike Jewell. 

It is never easy to decide on who they feel is most fit for a big position like this. “It was really difficult for the team after how abruptly things ended with the previous head coach,” said Mike Jewell, new Interim Head Coach. “It left the team with many questions to answer, making the interview and hiring process one that required many background checks while doing this all in a short period of time.” 

Jewell is currently the Vice President of and Head Girls Coach at the Wooster Lacrosse Club while also serving 28 years as a member of the Wooster Police Department. He is also a certified COWLA collegiate women’s lacrosse and NEOLA high school girls lacrosse official.

Being a referee has allowed Jewell to excel as a coach due to his knowledge of the game itself. “Having a history of officiating, I have a different viewpoint than what other coaches may have on the game which allows me to better prepare the team for being able to play the game by the rules while still being able to challenge the other team,” said Coach Jewell. 

The players have been very excited about the change as well as it gives them hope that this can be a very special season for them. 

“Many of us were left in the dark during the coaching change,” said Rachel Lustik, a senior playing in her third season on the team. “It’s really cool and relieving to see the energy he brings every single day.” 

As a new coach, it is always important to get off on the right foot and earn the trust of your players and that starts right away during the first few practices. “Coach is really fun,” said Jillian Rekulak, a sophomore on the team. “He loves being out there with us and coaching the team and it’s exciting for us knowing that our leader is motivated everyday.” 

While many would say winning is the most important thing, Coach Jewell has something different as his number one goal in the 2021 season – just have fun. “After everything this program went through at the start, I told the girls that the biggest thing is to have fun,” said Jewell. 

“While that might not sound like much, that was and continues to be one of our driving motivators and of course we want to win so if we can do both, then we are accomplishing more than what our objectives are.” The Eagles are definitely going to have some fun while playing under Jewell and will look to finish above .500 this season for the first time in program history.