Otten takes over CSM women’s lax
La Plata resident has loads of local experience
The College of Southern Maryland’s women’s lacrosse team will have a new face behind the bench after it recently named longtime Southern Maryland lacrosse fixture Doug Otten as its head coach.
Otten spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the La Plata varsity girls lacrosse team. Before that he was Thomas Stone’s varsity girls volleyball coach for six seasons. He also helped out with the Cougars’ varsity boys lacrosse team. For the last eight years, he’s also coached boys and girls travel and recreation lacrosse.
“It’s going to be different; I guess I’m a little nervous,” Otten said in a telephone inter- view with Southern Maryland Newspapers. “I’ve been coaching high school [recently], so it’s a little different moving from there to handling a lot more stuff as far as the college level. It’s not Division I, but as- there’s still a lot of other pects involved there.”
The La Plata resident is a NJROTC instructor at Thom- as Stone High School.
“We are happy coach Ot- ten has joined the College of Southern Maryland as our women’s head lacrosse coach,” said Michelle Ruble, executive director of Student Life and Athletics at CSM, in a school news release. “He has been coaching for 11 years and is passionate about the sport, academic advancement of our student-athletes and fur- ther developing the program at CSM.”
Otten takes over for Joyce Arter, who coached the team its first two seasons.
“I have always enjoyed work- ing with young people,” said Otten, a 21-year retired U.S, Army veteran, in the CSM news release. “I helped young soldiers when I was in the Army and began coaching young athletes when I retired. Now, I’m going to give it a try at the college level.”
When Otten heard there was going to be a vacancy, he first approached daughter Rylee, a La Plata High School graduate who will play la- crosse at CSM.
“I kind of went to her and said, ‘So, what so you think if I apply for the job?’ and she’s like, ‘Whatever. Whatever you want to do,’” Otten said. “I asked her if she was sure about that and she said, ‘Well, at least I know what [type of coach] I’m getting.’”
Otten, who was offered the job about three weeks ago, said he is unsure the type of team he has, though he said he had a list of about 10 pros- pects. He said it helps that he knows many players from coaching.
“I don’t focus on [offense or defense], I focus on what we need to do in order to improve upon,” Otten said when asked what type of coach he is. “I’m not really one to go one side or the other. I guess that’s maybe one of my strong points. I’m not really a one-sided coach. There are coaches who focus more on offense or more on defense; I’m really not that way. I focus on what needs to be im- proved and I try to hopefully strengthen the areas we’re al- ready strong in. My focus is to put the best product I can on the field and address what ar- eas need to be addressed.”
Otten said he doesn’t know how the team fared last sea- son, but said that’s OK.
“I didn’t really look into that because I’m not really focused on that,” he said. The Hawks were 5-8, 1-7 in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Confer- ence. “I guess my thing is I’d
like to be as good as last year, if not better, and then build the program from there. The difficulty I see or one of the challenges I see is it’s a community college so you only get girls for two years and sometimes you only get them for one, so it’s going to be really difficult to gather a good team when you only get a short period of time to work with them.”
Brianne Cleary, who played for Northern High School and attended Pfeiffer University (N.C.), and Brooke Trivett, who has 10 years of experience, will stay with the team as assistant coaches, according to the news release.
CSM, which began its lacrosse program in 2015, will open its 2017 season on March 8 against Anne Arundel Community College.
“I appreciate the fact [CSM] gave me a shot at it and hopefully I bring to the table what they expect me to bring to the table and hopefully we can build,” Otten said. “Short-term goals would be to come in and build a positive program. I didn’t really look at long-term, but if I did, it would be hopefully to establish a program that would be successful moving forward and girls would want to come play for us.”