FAIRFIELD >> It’s not all that uncommon for athletes to be coached by their parent. But coaching against dad …well, that’s another story.
On April 21, Allie Davis, leader of Stamford High School’s girls’ lacrosse team, got that opportunity when her Black Knights squad visited her alma mater, Fairfield Warde. And, of course, her dad — Tom Davis — had the unusual circumstance of coaching against his daughter.
“It feels a little weird — especially since I played here on this turf,” Allie, a former All-State/ All-FCIAC standout lacrosse player at Warde said while her players warmed up on the field she not only played on, but that also bears her family name.
Warde’s Tetreau-Davis Field is named after the old Andrew Warde school’s first and second football coaches, Fern Tetreau and Bill Davis (Tom’s brother and Allie’s uncle). There’s more to this family sports tree; Warde freshman player Cara Bebey is Allie’s cousin.
Tom is in his seventh year coaching the Mustangs. He took over during his daughter’s senior campaign (2009), when she was a captain, and has stuck around to continue coaching.
Allie went on to play at Springfield College, where she earned All Conference and All-American accolades, and came back to help coach the Mustangs after graduation in 2014. Allie was in the Springfield College class of 2013 but went back for a semester after tearing her ACL.
“It’s a little different perspective. She’s always been on the same sideline. I’ve always coached her, or she’s helped coach,” Tom said of coaching against his daughter. “This is exciting, playing against her team. It’s nice. It’s a big deal.”
As an added twist, the reunion was about more than just father versus daughter on a field named after family (with cousin on dad’s sideline); even the assistant coaches factored into this one.
Ben Levy and Todd Parness started Stamford High’s girls’ lacrosse program six seasons ago. Levy came over to work as an assistant at Warde and both recruited Allie to come back and help coach the Mustangs and referred her for the coaching position at Stamford High this year. Parness remains on the Stamford staff as an assistant.
All of this makes the Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First?” routine seem pretty cut and dry.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Levy said of being part of a game with so many sub stories, adding that Allie is a tremendous coach. “She knows her lacrosse and she works hard.”
Allie is the Chelsea Piers Lacrosse program administrator, and coaches younger players as part of her full-time job.
She put together quite a playing resume in her high school and college days. Allie netted her 100th goal during her senior campaign at Warde. She was earned All State and All Conference accolades both in lacrosse and soccer, and her dad coached her in both sports throughout her childhood.
At Springfield, Allie helped the team to back-to-back conference championships. She’s ranked 17th in Springfield program history for recording 91 goals for a total of 108 career points. While growing up, she never had much of an interest in coaching the game, despite all of her success on the fields, her dad notes.
“I didn’t think she would ever be a lacrosse coach. It’s just something she took a liking to,” he said, adding that his daughter, as it turns out, is a natural for coaching. “She has a very good makeup to be a coach, and she’s very good with the kids — and the kids are receptive to her.”
“Being serious at practice and having a laugh with them at the end of practice,” is what Allie says is most enjoyable about coaching high school athletes.
Before the Warde-Stamford game, Allie and her dad, and Levy and Parness talked a bit before switching gears from family and friends mode to opposition mode for a little more than an hour.
“As the game starts, we have to focus on it,” Levy pointed out.
But was it going to be hard for Allie to try to defeat her dad, the man who raised her and even helped mold her into a strong lacrosse player? Wouldn’t Tom feel a little uncomfortable about celebrating a victory over his own daughter?
Not at all.
“I don’t treat any games any different — if it’s her or anybody else. You’re here to win,” Tom said before the game.
“Oh, I want to win. I want to win 100 percent — just for bragging rights,” said Allie, adding that she understood the potential was there for her dad to be in position to rub it in a bit if her team lost.
As it turned out, Allie’s Stamford squad put up a heck of a battle only to come up a goal short, as the host Mustangs won 7-6.
Warde’s Meredith Nerreau scored twice, Clare Secrist, Courtney Scheetz, Libby McKenna, Olivia Seymour, and Grace Orben all scored. Goalie Rebekah Snitkoff made two saves. Stamford scored the last three goals of the game and Warde stalled with the ball to kill the final two minutes off the clock and hang on.
For Stamford, Caroline Ryan scored three goals, Kaitlyn Hutter had two goals, and Jenn Krupa added a net-finder. Emily Newman made three saves. The Mustangs improved to 4-1, and Stamford fell to 1-3-1.
So, if you’re keeping score, it’s dad 1, daughter 0.
“Dad gets bragging rights until next year,” Allie said.
Maybe next spring Allie’s team will even the score as this FCIAC turned father-daughter rivalry continues.