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Woodworth Takes over BVT Boys LAX
Four years ago, Steve Woodworth didn't know much about lacrosse. He had never coached the sport. In fact, he had never even played the sport. After four years of immersing himself in a sport he's fallen in love with, he will take the reigns as the head coach of the Blackstone Valley Tech varsity program this year.
"I was a teacher at BVT and I was the JV hockey coach," Woodworth said. "I had coached hockey for many years and one year [Athletic Director] Michelle Dense didn't have anyone to coach the JV lacrosse team and asked if I would. I picked it up quickly and I really love the sport."
Woodworth wasn't about to pursue his new gig halfheartedly. He studied the game and relied upon his experience as a teacher to impart information to his players. He called his niece, a former lacrosse player at St. Michael's College in Vermont and his brother in law, a lacrosse official who grew up in a lacrosse hotbed in Connecticut and picked their brains. He even joined a recreational lacrosse league to learn the sport from the perspective of a player.
"I have played hockey for a long time, including at the high school and college level, and I never had anyone coach me that had never played before. There was some adjustment, but I was able to develop a great rapport with the kids and it worked out well."
So well, in fact, that when the varsity position opened this season, Dense again turned to Woodworth. The circumstances were made even more challenging due to the fact that Woodworth was laid off as a teacher at BVT last year through no fault of his own. He is now teaching at Dighton-Rehoboth and admits coming back to Valley Tech wasn't easy.
"I didn't know how I would feel going back, and when I went back to the school to talk to Michelle about the job, it was hard," he said. "I don't blame them for what happened, they just added an engineering shop and I teach drafting. It was just tough, almost like being divorced and seeing your ex-wife all the time. But once I had a couple of kids come up and hug me in the hallway, all that went out the window."
Woodworth says adjusting to the varsity level means a different kind of teaching. Rather than spending time focusing on developing skills and getting players ready for the next level, he will be tasked with marshalling success during the games as well.
"These kids know the game, it's not as much of a focus on the fundamentals," he said. "It'll be a bit of a challenge."
BVT grad Andrew Barksdale, a lacrosse player at Nichols College, is going to take over the junior varsity program and Woodworth will be looking to him to pitch in considerably. "He has been playing the game a long time and he might be able to catch some of the things I'd miss," Woodworth said. "He knows a lot about the game and when you play at the college level, you learn the game in a different way."
Woodworth says his biggest concern on the field headed into the new year was in goal, but that fear has been alleviated somewhat by the fact that several younger goalies have shown up to try out for the team. He's setting a high bar for his team in his first season at the helm.
"I would like to get to the districts," he said. "But most of all, I just would like them to have fun and have a good season. I think we will do well."




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