CHATHAM, NJ - Senior goalie Kat Friday announced that the slogan for the 2018 Chatham girls lacrosse team will be "All In" at the preseason dinner held in the high school cafeteria on Thursday night.
First-year head coach Helen McCutcheon agrees with the theme since she believes an "All In" effort is the key to winning.
"I want to keep the tradition of the sport alive in our town, which already runs so deep, but working hard is going to get us where we want to be," McCutcheon, a 2007 All-America middie at Chatham High, said. "Part of it is talent. The majority of it is determination and working hard.
"Giving 110 percent is still cliche, but I believe in giving effort all the time. Where I want to be in my coaching career here at Chatham is that I want to be the hardest-working team in Morris County and I want to be the hardest working team in the state of New Jersey. For those of you who don't know it yet, the very last thing I put on our varsity schedule is the Tournament of Champions Final. So be ready to play lacrosse through June 9th."
Chatham is getting more than one McCutcheon in the deal this season. The 28-year-old First Grade teacher at Southern Boulevard School has brought on her father, Chatham resident Bill McCutcheon, as a volunteer coach.
In her playing career, McCutcheon went on from Chatham to play at Division 1 Maryland for two years and then transferred to Loyola and played two more years there. She has spent the last four years as the Millburn High coach.
"Prior to coming to Chatham she was in a program with great girls, but they really didn't have the skill set that these girls have," the senior McCutcheon said. "She's been holding back a lot of the knowledge that she has because the lacrosse IQ wasn't as high as it is here. We're stepping into a situation where these girls can really throw and catch. Now you can teach them the subtle little wrinkles of the game."
Coaching the game runs in the McCutcheon family, with her older brother, Billy, a 2005 Chatham High All-America, in the coaching ranks as well. He is an assistant coach at Monmouth University. And the children learned from the father, who played at Montclair High and then at Johns Hopkins, reaching the NCAA Division 1 championship game three years in a row and winning it all in 1974.
Chatham's first official game of the McCutcheon era will be the home opener vs. Morristown, set for 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 28 at Haas Field.
"I think she really knows the fundamental exceptionally well," her father said. "She's highly organized and a good communicator. Those things seem to go hand in hand. The girls will identify with her desire to work harder."