Kirkpatrick keeps goalie spirit as head coach


Women’s lacrosse head coach Dan Kirkpatrick, affectionately known as “DK,” manages to make conditioning fun during practice March 8. Photo by Diano Pachote

Women’s lacrosse head coach Dan Kirkpatrick – known as “DK” by his players – fell in love with playing goalie when he was in seventh grade.

Since then, he has played lacrosse at Chapman, became an assistant coach working with goalies and eventually took the head coaching job.

“The best part about coaching is being able to hang out with awesome kids all day,” said Kirkpatrick , an ‘09 alumnus. “I have great players (who are) awesome people.”

Kirkpatrick’s love for his players is returned in spades by the women on the lacrosse team.

“His whole heart is in the team and that comes out when he coaches,” said Michaela Lopez, a sophomore midfielder. “It affects us too, because it makes us want to put our whole heart in.”

Lopez said she has never had a more knowledgeable coach.

“He points out the most interesting details that I would have never noticed playing the game,” Lopez said.

After graduating from Chapman, Kirkpatrick didn’t have any specific plans. When he was offered the position to coach goalies at his alma mater, he said he was happy to “stick around.”

Taylor Hextrum, a freshman goalkeeper, said she appreciates the goalie-specific knowledge Kirkpatrick brings to the team.

“His whole heart is in the team and that comes out when he coaches. It affects us too, because it makes us want to put our whole heart in.”

“My coaches (in high school) were both attack players; they weren’t goalie-oriented,” she said. “They didn’t know how to support me in the right way. Having a coach who is a goalie coach now is a completely different world. ”

Hextrum said that Kirkpatrick is supportive, and that she has drastically improved since he became her coach.

“(Kirkpatrick) teaches me,” said Hextrum. “The field is just like a classroom – he’s my teacher. I’m a student and I’m learning to get that good grade at the end of practice or at a game.”

Kirkpatrick said that being a goalie helped him become a head coach.

“Midfield was too much running, I was just not that good at defense, and I always played catcher in baseball so they said this was the perfect transition for (me),” he said. “That’s always been my in for coaching. Everyone wants goalie coaches because it’s such a unique spot on the field.”

Kirkpatrick said he’s happy to keep coaching as long as he can.

“The reason that I keep (coaching) is that they keep letting me,” said Kirkpatrick. “It really is that simple. As long as they’ll let me do it, I love to do it.”