Team makes coach’s transition easy

A lot of times assistant coaches play more of the “unsung hero role” on a team while the spotlight is for the most part on head coaches.

Such is the case with Laurie Merian, assistant women’s lacrosse coach at University of Detroit Mercy.

Born and raised in Maryland, Merian played soccer early on, but picked up lacrosse in the sixth grade. She played all through high school and ended up attending Belmont Abbey College, a Division II program outside of Charlotte, N.C.

 “I had family in North Carolina so that played a big role in choosing the college I wanted to attend,” said Merian.

When it became time to choose between college soccer and lacrosse, she realized she couldn’t give one up and decided to pursue both.

As a freshman, Merian received several awards: top freshman female athlete at Belmont, freshman of the year for Conference Carolina, freshman first team all-conference, rookie all-American and second team all-region. That year, her soccer team won the conference championship.

Sophomore year, she added to those accomplishments, earning first team all-conference and all-region. She was made a captain her junior and senior year and continued accumulate honors.

After college she was living at home with her parents, trying to figure out what career path she wanted to take when her old lacrosse coach reached out to her about starting a lacrosse program at Alma.

“I said, ‘No way, I can’t be a head coach,’ " she said. “But he ended up convincing me and I’m glad he did.”

She served as Alma's head coach for three years and also met her husband, Dan, there. He worked in admissions.

When the Detroit job opened, she said it was difficult to leave Alma.

“When this job came up I couldn’t turn it down. I loved my girls and as hard as it was to leave I had to do what was best for my career,” said Merian. “When I talked to them about it, they understood completely.”

Now Merian is here coaching and absolutely loves it.

“I love working here,” she said. “The team has made it very easy for me to transition.”