Winning the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Outstanding Coach of the Year award was especially poignant for Darien resident Ciara Thurlow. In her last year as co-coach for the Wilton High School girls lacrosse team , her players overcame injuries to win the 2010 FCIAC championship.
"When it seemed like every week we were losing stars, we still won. I think that's what I'm most proud of, that everybody stepped up and we were able to be as successful as we wanted to be," Thurlow said.
The award ceremony earlier this month felt more like a lifetime achievement award to Thurlow. And after a 141-30-3 record, two state championships, four FCIAC championships and an induction into the Wilton Hall of Fame, it's an impressive amount of achievements for her to celebrate. But one of the most remarkable things for her was meeting the other coaches who were receiving awards that night.
"All these other awards were being given out to coaches who are very seasoned, each with a history and a legacy. It felt amazing being part of that cast being honored."
After eight years coaching the team, Thurlow and her co-coach Cindy Wiseman decided to retire. The two met when playing at Villanova. Thurlow said that when they first started coaching, neither of them had kids. But Thurlow now would have to balance coaching the team with raising her three young boys.
"It seems like every sport these days is year-round," she said. Between coaching during the season and helping with recruiting and training in the off-season, it is a big time commitment. However, she has not said goodbye to lacrosse. She still helps when she can with middle school travel teams in Darien.
She said she might consider returning to the varsity level once her children are older. "The younger kids are really fun."
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