Last fall, the Mercer Island Girls Lacrosse Club announced the hiring of its new varsity lacrosse coach, Lyndsey Gillis.
Gillis grew up in Concord, New Hampshire and played lacrosse, basketball and volleyball in high school, pursuing both lacrosse and volleyball at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, while double majoring in fine arts and pre-med.
She met her husband, Brad Gillis (also a lacrosse player) at Bowdoin, and moved to Seattle in 2010. She spent the next two years getting her Masters in Fine Arts, in painting and drawing, at the University of Washington.
While at Bowdoin (a perennial Top 10), Gillis participated in three NCAA tournaments, was a four-year starter and senior captain. She has since coached lacrosse for eight years, focusing on girls from grades 4-12.
She has extensive high school and elite club lacrosse coaching experience with programs on the east coast such as Granite State Elite (NH), Polar Bear Lacrosse (ME) and Lightening Lacrosse (CT).
Since joining the Washington coaching scene, Gillis has coached Team Washington at the U15 and U19 level and the Under Armour All-American West team at their national tournament. She is currently the Girls Program Director for the Seattle Starz Lacrosse Club. She taught in the visual arts department at Seattle Preparatory School and was the Girls’ Lacrosse Program Head for four years.
Gillis and her family are not new to Mercer Island. Brad Gillis grew up on the Island and played lacrosse for current MI Boys Lacrosse Program Director Ian O’Hearn. He is also the co-owner of Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches, with another native Islander. Lyndsey, Brad and their 1-year-old daughter, Greer, live in Montlake. They have regular Sunday dinners with Brad’s parents, who are still on Mercer Island.
Gillis said she is “extremely excited” to be joining the MIHS community as the girls’ varsity lacrosse coach.
“To have the opportunity to grow a program with such a strong foundation is energizing,” Gillis said. “Throughout my conversations with MIHS students, parents and administrators their love for the sport and team were palpable, in addition to their desire for growth and learning. It was easy for me to imagine working with such motivated student-athletes. I have been around the game as a coach and player my whole life and these experiences have taught me the importance of athletics. They are responsible for creating my passion to teach, to build young women and to grow the sport of lacrosse. I am really looking forward to being an Islander!”
Former Varsity Coach Liz Shields coached for eight years, both at the high school and youth levels, but she and her husband Rob are returning to their native Australia.
The Shields put their hearts and souls into growing and improving both the girls and boys programs on Mercer Island and touched thousands of lives in the process. Their sons, Dan and Matt Shields, were also involved in the program. Both were two-time All-State Award winners.