September 16, 2021

Lawson Featured in The Free Lance-Star

Kunle Lawson, head coach of UMW's cross country and track and field programs

Kunle Lawson, head coach of UMW’s cross country and track and field programs

Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country Kunle Lawson, who is also the Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Director, was featured in The Free Lance-Star on his passion and innovative way of playing disc golf.

WHEN Kunle Lawson started playing disc golf on the course at Loriella Park in Spotsylvania County several years back, he unfortunately became acquainted with a pond that’s difficult to clear.

Like many who play the course, and especially when he was starting out, the track and cross country coach at the University of Mary Washington sometimes could only watch as his plastic disc plunked into the pond.

Because the discs he throws are not inexpensive, and because it would be a waste to leave them at the pond’s bottom, Lawson came up with a way to retrieve the discs.

“I ended up putting together this large rake with ropes attached to get the discs out,” said Lawson, who plays the sport on courses all over the region. He plays in three leagues and thinks nothing of driving from his home in Spotsylvania to courses in Prince William County. Read more.

Maddie Taghon: Coach for Justice

Maddie Taghon picked up her first lacrosse stick in middle school. Years later, a job as a physical education teacher abroad made her realize her dream of coaching.

Maddie Taghon, who was named UMW women’s lacrosse head coach in 2020, and her team worked with campus organizations on the annual Run for Justice 5K to raise funds for the James Farmer Multicultural Center.

Maddie Taghon, who was named UMW women’s lacrosse head coach in 2020, and her team worked with campus organizations on the annual Run for Justice 5K to raise funds for the James Farmer Multicultural Center.

“From the second I stepped onto the field, I knew this is what I wanted to do,” said Taghon, who has trained players at all levels, from preschoolers to professionals on Britain’s national team. “All of these opportunities prepared me to coach at the collegiate level.”

Now the University of Mary Washington’s women’s lacrosse head coach, Taghon imparts her own experience as an athlete – she played defense and midfield at Presbyterian College in South Carolina – on UMW lacrosse players.

“It’s amazing watching their confidence grow through such a fun sport,” said Taghon, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history and art history, and coached at Shenandoah University and England’s Ampleforth College. “I love the creativity and speed of the game.”

Off the field, Taghon and her players have parlayed their passion into social justice. Inspired by Black Lives Matter, UMW women’s lacrosse teamed up last year with the Black and Jewish student associations, Women of Color, Brothers of a New Direction and the campus NAACP chapter to organize an annual Run for Justice, which took place again this summer. The virtual 5K has raised more than $5,000 toward a grant program for the James Farmer Multicultural Center and gained momentum along the way.

“The young women on my team were eager to get involved in a way that would impact our campus and community,” she said. “We want UMW student-athletes to know that they can create the change they want to see in the world by using their platform and voices.”

 

Q: What brought you to Mary Washington?
A: I came here to work with former women’s lacrosse head coach Caitlin Moore, who is now UMW Athletics assistant director. I knew it was a great school and program, and I fell in love with the campus immediately.

Q: What do you like most about campus?
A: The trees and the architecture, from Campus Walk to Ball Circle to the Bell Tower.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: Getting to work with our amazing student-athletes.

Taghon, who played defense and midfield at Presbyterian College in South Carolina, said she enjoys watching her players grow and become more confident on the field.

Taghon, who played defense and midfield at Presbyterian College in South Carolina, said she enjoys watching her players grow and become more confident on the field.

Q: Most challenging?
A: The crazy highs and lows of managing a collegiate sports team.

Q: What’s your favorite thing in your office?
A: My Lilly Pulitzer water bottle. It keeps me hydrated and brightens up my day.

Q: Outside of work, how have you kept busy during the pandemic?
A: Lots of Netflix! I also started teaching a fitness class at a local gym in downtown Fredericksburg.

Q: What might people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I’m a horror fan – books, television, movies – as long as it isn’t too gory.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Find joy in everything you do.

Betsy Southern: Quarantine Mom

Betsy Southern, manager of Athletic Business Operations and COVID care coordinator

Betsy Southern, manager of Athletic Business Operations and COVID care coordinator

Betsy Southern came to the University of Mary Washington four years ago to manage business operations for the Department of Athletics. When the pandemic halted competition and travel last spring, she stepped into the role of COVID care coordinator.

Now, after more than a year of nurturing UMW students required to isolate due to coronavirus exposure, she’s earned yet another title: “Quarantine Mom.”

“I love it,” Southern said. “Being a mother is my greatest role, and it motivated me to do all I could for students navigating the virus.”

Southern, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in her hometown of San Diego, came to Mary Washington after a job at the Department of Environmental Quality in Woodbridge. Not only did she shorten her commute, but she also gained an opportunity to work with her eldest son, Thomas, a UMW assistant athletics trainer.

She oversees the Department of Athletics budget, spending and procurement, as well as other projects that pop up throughout the year. Her job requires “a flexible schedule and can-do attitude,” Southern said, which made her a natural fit for COVID care coordinator.

Assisted by a student team, Southern transferred impacted students in and out of isolation rooms, delivered meals, stocked supplies, arranged cleaning, brought her dog by for visits and made quarantine life as pleasant as possible for temporary residents. She took on the additional role of contact tracer this spring, while managing her athletic responsibilities as teams began competing and traveling again.

Her hard work was rewarded last month when Southern received the Giving Tree Award at the 2021 virtual Eagle Awards. She was nominated by Sarah Bazemore, one of the first students she cared for in quarantine.

“I felt truly honored just to be nominated and even more so to receive the award,” Southern said. “Sarah definitely went above and beyond to show me I was appreciated.”

 

Betsy Southern with son Thomas, a UMW assistant athletic trainer (top); daughter Kelly; and son Matthew (holding their dog, Ollie), a recent UMW graduate.

Betsy Southern with son Thomas, a UMW assistant athletic trainer (top); daughter Kelly; and son Matthew (holding their dog, Ollie), a recent UMW graduate.

Q: Congratulations on your son’s graduation from UMW! What was it like to watch him walk across the Commencement stage?
A: I can’t believe my youngest is a college graduate! I’m so grateful we had an in-person graduation so he could be recognized for his hard work.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job? Most challenging?
A: Athletics is both rewarding and challenging, because no day is the same. I guess I could say that about COVID care, too!

Q: Did you play sports while growing up?
A: I played soccer and rode horses. Being part of a military family and moving around so much, I found sports was the best way to meet people.

Q: What might people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I have my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I’ve also lived in or visited every state except Alaska and spent three years in Japan.

Q: Outside of work, how have you kept busy during the pandemic?
A: We moved into a new house downtown right before COVID hit, so I’ve spent some time renovating and exploring Fredericksburg.

Southern keeps her children's art projects in her office to remind her of when they were small.

Southern keeps her children’s art projects in her office to remind her of when they were small.

Q: What’s your favorite thing in your office?
A: My display of art projects my children made for me. I love looking at them, remembering the good times and being proud of the adults they have all become.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Treat others as you would want to be treated.

Often Receives 25-Year Award from College Sports Information Directors of America

Assistant Athletic Director of Communication Clint Often

Assistant Athletic Director of Communication Clint Often

UMW Assistant Athletic Director of Communications Clint Often was recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America (COSIDA) for his 25th year of service in college sports information. Read more.

 

2021 DIII Week

Dear UMW Colleagues,

April 5-11 marks the NCAA’s Division III week, a national celebration of Division III student-athletes and their commitment to academic and athletic excellence. Division III student-athletes receive no athletic scholarships whatsoever. Like all of our students, UMW student-athletes learn valuable lessons in the classroom and in their chosen activities. I’d like to highlight what two UMW alumni have told me about how athletics influenced them after Mary Washington and into their careers.

Jin Wong '97

Jin Wong ’97

In order of graduation from UMW, Jin Wong (Business, Class of 1997, Baseball) currently works as Assistant General Manager for Baseball Operations for the Kansas City Royals.

Being a student-athlete at UMW, I came to understand the importance of time management and prioritization. Sports encourages teamwork, nurtures leadership skills, satisfies our competitive natures, and helps us understand how we cope with pressure and expectations. I firmly believe that these skills I developed while a member of the baseball team proved extremely valuable for me in life after UMW.

Shelby Harris, (Economics, Class of 2016, Tennis) is the Private Events Manager at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Shelby Harris '16

Shelby Harris ’16

Being a student-athlete at UMW prepared me in multiple ways for life post-college. I learned the importance of time management and organization from when I had to balance school work with practices. These skills have transferred over to my career where I have to multitask and adhere to deadlines. Being a captain of my collegiate team taught me leadership and communication skills which have been key throughout my personal and professional life. The early morning workouts and the late nights traveling for matches instilled in me the importance of working hard and not being afraid of long hours. Especially when I started my career right out of college, I was always willing to come in as early or stay as late as needed to get the job done. 

Most importantly, being a part of a team at UMW gave me a family that I am still close with years after we have all graduated. Having a strong support system and network post-college has really been beneficial for all of us as we have journeyed through different careers in all regions of the country. For these reasons, I am super grateful for my time at UMW as a student-athlete! 

I hope you’ll join me in applauding our student-athletes, as well as their coaches and trainers, as they continue to develop life-long skills here at UMW.

Best wishes,

Mary Beth Mathews, Faculty Athletics Representative, Professor of Religious Studies

UMW Athletics Creates a “Virtual Care Package” for Faculty and Staff

UMW Athletics has created a “virtual care package” for faculty and staff with “how-to” videos featuring Mary Washington student-athletes. We hope you enjoy it, pick up a skill or two, especially those with small children. Stay safe and go Eagles!

Moore Promoted to Assistant Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator

Caitlin Moore

Caitlin Moore

Caitlin Moore has been promoted to the administrative role of Assistant Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator/Assistant Department Chair at the University of Mary Washington, as announced by Director of Athletics Patrick Catullo. Moore will relinquish her role as women’s lacrosse coach as she transitions to a full-time administrative role.

“I look forward to having Caitlin transition into this new role,” said Catullo. “Caitlin is a nationally recognized and successful coach, a dynamic leader with integrity and vision and her experience within the department as a faculty member and administrator will serve her well in this new role.”

“I’d like to thank Director of Athletics, Patrick Catullo, for this exciting opportunity and look forward to working in this new role on behalf of our great student-athletes, coaches and staff,” noted Moore.

Recently, Moore has served in an administrative role as a direct report to the Director of Athletics, as she has been responsible for the community engagement and academic success efforts for the department, as well as other duties as assigned.

Committed to women’s lacrosse, Moore has also served on numerous NCAA Regional and All-American selection committees.

One of the greatest players in University of Mary Washington women’s lacrosse history, Moore returned to her alma mater in 2014 as the head women’s lacrosse coach, with seven years of great results. She brought the Eagles back to national prominence, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2016-19. She was named as the Virginia Sports Information Directors Association’s College Division Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2018. Moore led the Eagles to their highest ranking in school history at #2 in 2019.

Moore’s star was on the rise after turning around the program at Randolph-Macon. After being hired prior to the 2011 season, Moore’s first squad finished with a 7-10 record, and followed with an 8-10 mark in 2012. The 2013 season saw the Yellow Jackets improve to 12-6, winning their first eight games. For her efforts, Moore was named as a finalist for the IWLCA Region Coach of the Year.

Moore arrived in Ashland after a two-year stint as an assistant coach with her alma mater and her former head coach, Dana Hall. Moore helped lead the Eagles to 28 wins over her two years on the sidelines in Fredericksburg. The 2010 squad advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament and finished the season ranked 12th in the nation. In 2009, UMW posted 14 wins, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and was ranked 18th in the nation at the close of the season.

Moore joined Hall’s staff in 2008 after completing one of the most brilliant careers in school history. She graduated as the Mary Washington career leader in points (303), while being the single season record holder in points with 143, and assists with 81. Moore also held single game records for assists (10) and points (14).

A two-time All-CAC choice and All-Region selection, Moore was a consensus All-American in 2008, after she led the nation in assists per game and points per game as a senior, breaking the NCAA Division III record for points per game with 7.94. Moore helped UMW to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2006 and 2007.

In addition to her lacrosse duties, Moore also served as an assistant coach for the field hockey program in 2008-09. The Eagles won 34 games in her two plus seasons.

Originally from Cypress, Texas, Moore graduated from Mary Washington with a degree in business administration in 2008 and her MBA in 2012. She and her husband Ray, a former baseball standout at UMW and current varsity baseball coach at Douglas Freeman High School, reside in Glen Allen, Va. They have one daughter, Mary Grace, and one son, Matthew.

Taghon Becomes Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach

Maddie Taghon

Maddie Taghon

Maddie Taghon has been promoted to the position of head women’s lacrosse coach at the University of Mary Washington, as announced by Director of Athletics Patrick Catullo. Taghon will assume her new role effective immediately.

“Maddie has been a perfect fit for our women’s lacrosse program and is a rising star in the coaching profession,” noted Catullo. “She is a proven teacher of the game and has demonstrated her commitment to providing a great student-athlete experience. We look forward to her placing her own stamp on the program and continuing the team’s hard-won tradition of excellence.”

“I am thankful and honored to be named head women’s lacrosse coach at the University of Mary Washington, and I would like to thank Dr. Juliette Landphair and Athletic Director Patrick Catullo for this amazing opportunity,” said Taghon. “I am so excited to inherit a program that has such a long-standing tradition of success, and above all I am very grateful to continue working with this incredible group of young women. I look forward to continuing to lead this program to success both on and off the field. Go Eagles!”

Taghon served for two seasons as assistant coach at UMW in 2019 and 2020. In her first season with the Eagles, she helped lead them to a 16-5 overall record and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and this spring, the team posted a 5-2 record and was ranked 14th in the nation in the final IWLCA national Division III poll.

Prior to UMW, Taghon worked for three years at Shenandoah University, helping lead the team from a 5-12 record in 2016 to 12-7 in 2018. She also coached the team to two semifinal ODAC tournament appearances and mentored the 2018 ODAC ROY and VA State ROY.

Taghon, a four-year member and three-year starter at Presbyterian (S.C.) College and team captain of the Blue Hose during her senior campaign, also worked for a year at Ampleforth College in England. In this role, she coordinated games, practices and travel itineraries for varsity, junior varsity, U15, U14 and elementary school teams at Ampleforth.

In addition, she taught lacrosse-based physical education lessons in both the elementary school as well as served as a teaching assistant in both the primary and senior schools.

UMW Celebrates Division III Week, April 13-19

UMW Women's Basketball participates in a read-aloud with local students.

UMW Women’s Basketball participates in a read-aloud with local students.

Dear UMW Colleagues,

Last week marked the NCAA’s Division III week, April 13-19, our student-athletes are not able to practice or compete. So rather than focus on what the student-athletes and their coaches accomplish on the field or court, I will take this opportunity to recognize their incredible devotion to a key part of our ASPIRE values—engagement through service.

As you may know, our student-athletes receive no athletic scholarships whatsoever. They chose the DIII model because it combines a love of the game with the chance to concentrate on academic achievement as well. Here at UMW, our varsity athletics teams pride themselves on not just their GPAs and win/loss records, but also how much and how often they can find opportunities to volunteer for a myriad of causes and groups in the Fredericksburg area. The Eagles have been working hard all year in a friendly competition to amass the most volunteer hours, and even though their Spring seasons and service events were abruptly ended, they managed to make substantial contributions.

UMW student-athletes participate in a clean-up of the Rappahannock River.

UMW student-athletes participate in a clean-up of the Rappahannock River.

For example, the men’s soccer team led all others in total service hours with 320.5. Off the pitch, they helped set up and break down equipment for the Make-a-Wish Foundation’s gymnastics event, served community dinners at the Fredericksburg Baptist Church, and assisted an elderly Fredericksburg resident with her move. The next closest team was men’s and women’s swimming, at 256 hours, followed by women’s basketball with 233. These teams participated in COAR Into the Streets and community dinners. But total service hours for a team is only one way the student-athletes compete. The women’s basketball team holds the record for most hours per individual student-athlete with an average of 15.52 hours. And the entire Athletics Department participated in a Capital Athletic Conference food drive during the Fall semester, collecting a whopping 6395 pounds of food to donate to the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank. That total beat the nearest CAC competitor—CNU—by almost two tons.

All teams provided volunteers for special events like blood drives, reading clinics with grade school children, cleaning up the Rappahannock River, present wrapping for COAR, and assisting with Special Olympics events. These activities build camaraderie, but they also allow the volunteers a chance to learn about the needs of the local community and take an active role in helping others.

While we’re all anxious to get back to our usual routines, I hope you’ll join me in thanking the student-athletes and their coaches for their dedication to making our world just a little bit better.

Best wishes,

Mary Beth Mathews

UMW Faculty Athletics Representative, Professor of Religious Studies

Longtime Administrator and Coach Dana Hall to Retire at End of Spring Semester

Dana Hall, UMW's Senior Woman Administrator and Senior Associate Athletic Director

Dana Hall, UMW’s Senior Woman Administrator and Senior Associate Athletic Director

After 34 years of faithful service to the University of Mary Washington, Dana Hall, the Senior Woman Administrator and Senior Associate Athletic Director, has announced her retirement, effective at the end of the Spring 2020 semester.

“During her long and renowned career as both a coach and administrator, Dana has had a positive and lasting impact on countless student-athletes, coaches, staff and the University at large that, will be felt for years to come,” said Director of Athletics Patrick Catullo. “She will be remembered for her contributions to the success of our athletic department and small college athletics.”

“I am incredibly grateful to Dr Edward Hegmann, Jr, for giving me the opportunity to work at Mary Washington for the past 34 years,” said Hall. “My career as an assistant coach, head coach, faculty and administrator game me the opportunity to works with hundreds of young men and women in the classroom and competitive arena. I will always cherish the relationships and friendships formed during my career at Mary Washington.”

Hall was promoted to the full-time administrative role of Senior Associate Director of Athletics in 2013, where among her accomplishments were the introduction of the sport management minor, which now thrives, as well as her success as the director of the men’s and women’s golf programs for the past two years. Prior to the full-time move into administration, Hall coached the field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams simultaneously for 21 years, and women’s lacrosse for 23 seasons.

Hall was an assistant athletic director in addition to her coaching duties from 1998–2013 where she was in charge of student-athlete educational and community engagement programs, SAAC, and other duties as assigned by the Athletic Director.

Hall has designed and implemented numerous new programs for the athletic department in 2014; including a student-athlete leadership academy, assistant coach monthly professional development seminars, and monthly head coach round table discussions on hot topics in coaching.

Since taking over the field hockey and lacrosse programs at UMW in the fall of 1990, Hall’s teams received bids to 18 NCAA Championship Tournaments (10 in lacrosse and 8 in Field Hockey) and advanced to three Final Four Championships (1993 Field Hockey, 2001 Women’s Lacrosse & 2002 Women’s Lacrosse). Hall has collected over the years numerous coaching honors; the most prestigious being named the 2001 NCAA Division III National Women’s Lacrosse Coach of the Year by 360Lacrosse.com, and the National Coach of the Year in field hockey in 1993 by the NFHCA. With a career lacrosse coaching record of 260-149 and a career field hockey coaching record of 276-126-3, Hall won 536 games as a collegiate coach, with a career winning percentage of .663 over a 23-year coaching career at Mary Washington. In addition, Hall coached field hockey and women’s lacrosse at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA.

Professionally, Hall has served on countless NCAA Regional and National selection and All-American selection committees for both field hockey and women’s lacrosse. She has also served the University of Mary Washington over her tenure as a member of the university budget committee, the Presidential Academic Task Force committee, and numerous selection committees for new positions.

A multi-sport athlete at Frostburg State University, Hall earned all-state honors in field hockey and lacrosse, as well as playing basketball and track & field for the Bobcats. An associate professor of health and physical education, Hall is a mother of two daughters and a grandmother of six. She resides in Spotsylvania, Va.