In hopes of attaining wins in its future, the Temple lacrosse program reached out to a figure who knows its past.
Bala Cynwyd native Bonnie Rosen was hired last month to replace former coach Jennifer Ulehla, who resigned in July to pursue other business opportunities. Rosen returns to her native area to take the reigns of a program that has broken into the national rankings in recent years.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind getting back and getting things running,” Rosen said. “But certainly the biggest draw coming back here was coming back to an area that [I] was so familiar with and surrounded by so many people that I know… and the people in this program have played such a big role in my development as a lacrosse player.”
Rosen, who constructed Connecticut’s lacrosse program from scratch into a national power, owns a beefy resume. She earned All-American honors while playing at Virginia, helped the Cavaliers win the year NCAA Championship and started for the United States squad that won the 1997 World Cup.
“The thing I’ve gained over the years is tremendous coaching,” Rosen said. “[N]ot just in terms of understanding the game and growing as a player, but understanding all that a coach can give to players in terms of growing as a person.”
Two lacrosse players said they found the latter aspect to be particularly pleasant, because they said tensions between the team and Ulehla had built over the coach’s two-year tenure.
Senior attacker Johna Capaldo said Rosen is taking strides to develop a personal relationship with her players in ways Ulehla never did.
“I feel closer with this coach in two meetings than with the coach I had for two years,” Capaldo said. “She is really getting to know us. You can tell she really cares.”
For the senior players like Capaldo, Rosen will be their third coach in four seasons. The remaining players, like junior midfielder Berkley Summerlin, knew no different than what they experienced under Ulehla.
“I just assumed that [the relationship with Ulehla] was normal,” Summerlin said. “Now I see the way it was, it wasn’t normal. It wasn’t ok.”
Personal relationships aside, Rosen was hired to deliver on-field success the wins that highlighted her 10-year Connecticut coaching career.
The Huskies captured the 2005 Eastern College Athletic Conference championship and peaked at No. 15 in the national rankings – the program’s all-time high.
Rosen, the 2005 Big East Conference Coach of the Year, attributes her past success to determination, hard work and solid coaching.
“It’s taken a lot of work to do all that,” she said. “I’m not anybody special. I’ve had great coaching and I wanted to be successful.”
The determination that made Rosen the player a success seems to have manifested itself in Rosen the coach.
“I love teaching,” Rosen said. “So, I love trying to find creative ways to get someone to understand the game or to get better athletically.”
Sean Price can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.