Jason Allen sort of figured his star pupil, Ashley Schaar, would one day become some school's varsity lacrosse coach.
He just didn't think that time would come this soon. Then again, who could have predicted at just 19 years old, Schaar would land her first coaching gig?
Schaar, just one year removed from her senior year at Notre Dame, is coaching the Bedford girls team. Not as a volunteer, or even an assistant pulling a small check. She's the head coach.
"I knew she would be a coach just because of the way she handled herself," said Allen, who coached Schaar in her final two years at ND and was on staff for her freshman year. "She was a captain for us last year. The way she was prepared and organized, it doesn't surprise me at all."
Allen though never imagined he'd be coaching against Schaar within a year. An encounter happened April 12 when the Eagles, many of whom played alongside Schaar, hosted Bedford and downed the Mules 22-10.
Bedford, which won just one game last year, was 0-5 entering last weekend but has shown signs of progress. "It's been rough, but all of the girls are excited," Schaar said. "They're all working hard and wanting to work hard. They're really devoted this year which is nice."
Schaar had not planned on pursuing the vacant coaching position until a friend in one of her classes at the University of Toledo - Bedford boys assistant lacrosse coach Alex Westmeyer - suggested she apply. Allen was on board, urged Schaar to inquire about the position, and before long Schaar was hiring her mother, Kaylene, as her assistant coach.
Ironically, Schaar's brother, and Kaylene's son, Joshua, is an assistant under Allen.
Schaar was a prolific scorer at ND. Lacrosse is not sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, but it may be in the upcoming years, but the sport is prominent enough that it hands state-wide accolades, of which Schaar garnered some. The City League's leading goal scorer, Schaar was named second team all Ohio and first team district her senior year.
Schaar inherited a program of players accustomed to more lackadaisical feel to the program, something Schaar felt needed addressed immediately. No longer would players be able to miss practices without penalty. As for those practices, they last about two hours, or longer, if Schaar is not happy with the work being put in. A handful of players left the program.
Schaar figures her willingness to juggle coaching with a full load of classes and a part-time job should inspire her players to approach their activities with similar effort.
But Schaar sometimes finds it difficult to be stern with players one or two years her junior. At these times, she often leans on mom for support.
"It helps when [the players] have another adult there," Schaar said. "If I don't reinforce it, then my mom reinforces it. The girls are really good about listening to what I have to say."
She also doesn't mind when Allen advises her players, or for that matter, when he advises her. A peculiar scene to be sure, Allen and Schaar actually corresponded with each other during last week's game. Allen critiqued some things Schaar's players were doing, and suggested how she might go about fixing the flaws.
"I talk to her girls, she talks to my girls, it's a great relationship," Allen said.
Contact Ryan Autullo at: firstname.lastname@example.org