Goldsborough Envisions 'Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger' Bucknell
Former U.S. women's national team member Randall Goldborough is back at Bucknell after a seven-year absence.
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Randall Goldsborough is back at Bucknell after a seven-year absence. The former U.S. women's national team player coached the Bison to a 16-15 record in 2003 and 2004 and consecutive berths in the Patriot League tournament. After spending a few years as a coach and administrator at the prep level and a year at Stanford as an assistant coach, Goldsborough is excited to be back in a head coaching position -- and back in Lewisburg.
Goldsborough spoke with LaxMagazine.com about her ambitions for the program, the kind of lacrosse she likes to see and how she almost ended up as a b-baller instead of a laxer.
Why did you want to get back in the college coaching game?
When you're passionate about something, you just can't stay away from it. I had a great experience at Sidwell, but there was always that void of not coaching at the college level, especially not being the head coach. I really, really enjoyed my time at Franklin and Marshall and here [at Bucknell]. Plus I'm very familiar with the school, so there was really not a lot of "What will it be like to be there?" worries. It seemed like the timing was perfect for me, and it was a very comfortable feeling in a way.
Bucknell hasn't had a winning season since 2004, when you went 8-7. They were 3-13 in 2011. How will you define success for your team in 2012?
The initial success is going to be refueling the team. These kids, there are only two [rising] juniors and no seniors, and a whole bunch of sophomores and a whole bunch of freshmen. The junior class, they've only won five games in their careers. They need to win some games so they can understand what that's like. In the immediate future, it's about getting them pumped and excited and inspired.
Long term, you obviously want to compete for the Patriot League championship. Realistically, we want to be in the final four for the Patriot League. That's the realistic goal – let's get there every year. And once we're there, really competing for the championship and winning that championship. You can't jump too far too soon because it does take time. If I came in and said, "OK, we're going to win the Patriot League," they're potentially going to fail. There's too much pressure. This team needs to win more than three games, and that's where we're going to start. We'll do a lot of individuals with the kids, and then really start building a team concept.
You took Bucknell to the Patriot League semifinals in 2003 and 2004, but the conference is a lot different now, with your former coach Cindy Timchal at Navy.
I've been there before with this program, and I know the Patriot League has become more competitive since then. Navy's on its own little island. Every single player is going for free at that school. No one can compete with that. But I'm really excited to coach against Cindy. I'll learn a lot from my old coach.
What sort of team do you want to put together? What kind of lacrosse do you like to see?
I love men's lacrosse. I absolutely love it, and you know how our game is naturally changing. The bigger, better, faster, stronger players. The stickwork and the stick technology has changed, and our game has changed. More men are involved at the college level, and they're bringing in some of their midfield concepts – the ride and the transition, and the subbing on the fly and the midfield lines, and I'm all about that. We're going to continue with that, and build upon that and really try to be innovative with some ideas. That's where I see Bucknell lacrosse going, and where I see women's lacrosse going. I see it as bigger, faster, stronger and really following a lot of those schools like Northwestern and Maryland. Both those schools have very successful male influences on their teams with those husbands [Scott Hiller at Northwestern and Brian Reese at Maryland] volunteering. It's fantastic where the game is going, as long as it stays safe. I do not want do see our kids playing with helmets. It's such a touchy subject, and a lot of people feel very passionately and strongly about that, including myself.
I see us having a backer defense, which means the kids need to be in shape. All those concepts that are out there now, we're going to be doing. It's going to be a lot of overload for the kids at first, but they're going to see how exciting the game can be. Once they're drawn in, they won't retreat.
Have you hired an assistant yet?
No. I'm looking for someone who has those same aspirations for a team and wants to be a part of that. Obviously looking for someone with a defensive focus who loves to break down film and loves to recruit. Someone who really understands the higher education student-athlete.
You were a two-sport athlete at Maryland, with lacrosse and soccer. Does soccer influence your coaching philosophy?
Totally. Basketball too. In high school I was basically about to verbally commit to the University of Miami for basketball when I randomly went to the old Maryland 3v3 tournament that they used to have, and Cindy [Timchal] came up to me and said, "You want to come back on campus for an official visit?" And [former Maryland soccer coach] April Heinrichs saw me play in an indoor soccer game that same night and followed up with me. And so I ended up at Maryland, dropping the sport I'd spent so much time on.
Are there any Bucknell players you're familiar with who you're excited to work with?
Adrienne Wendling, a rising junior who started every game of her career. I've coached her before as a high school coach at Bullis (Md.) School. She was a freshman that I put on varsity. Madison Hurwitz and Ali Carey are both great players, and I'm really excited to work with them. This is a very young squad, so it's going to be an interesting year to see who really steps up into those big-time roles. To know I have the same team and won't lose anyone for two years, that's very exciting.
How are you approaching recruiting this summer?
It's going to be an interesting recruiting year. I want a full 2012 class by the end of the summer. I'm not exactly sure of the number of kids. If we end up having a big squad, we end up having a big squad. When a new coach comes in, the attrition rate might go up. I hope that doesn't happen, but I have to account for that. This 2012 class is going to be medium to large size. We'll have to go from there and see what we need for the 2013s. I'll be out recruiting this weekend, full Bucknell gear and all. I have a lot of club contacts, having been in the club scene for four years. I'm definitely going to have to hustle with the 2012 class and be aggressive, because a lot of kids have committed, but it doesn't mean there's not a lot of talent out there. Luckily I'm not shy, and I absolutely love recruiting.
Does it feel surreal to be back in the same place after so many years?
It's a little weird. It's very exciting, and a little weird at the same time. But I'm just super, super excited about it. I want the season to start now. I'm going to sit down with Frank Fedorjaka, the men's head coach [who went 14-3 in 2011 and was knocked out of the tournament in the first round by eventual national champion Virginia in overtime] when he has time and ask, "How'd you do it?" and draw from his experiences. A lot of things have changed with recruiting since I was last here, and there's a lot more support from the athletic department. I'm going to take advantage of every single resource to turn this program around.