Taylor Cummings stepped down last week as McDonogh’s girls lacrosse head coach after five years and two IAAM A Conference championships to pursue more opportunities to grow the game across the country.
Cummings, 29, said a lot of factors played into her decision to leave the program, where she was a two-time national high school player of the year and began coaching as an assistant in 2018.
“Ultimately, it came down to a couple different job opportunities that came my way,” said Cummings, who won three Tewaaraton Awards at Maryland is arguably the best player ever in the women’s game.
“I’m excited to focus on my career outside of coaching and my family and I feel like McDonogh’s in a really good place right now with the culture and with the team and with the coaches that we have on staff. I just felt like it was a good time to leave them in really good hands.”
Megan Huether Nicotra, the Eagles’ goalie and defensive coach for two years, will take over the program. Nicotra, who was also an assistant coach at Navy and at William and Mary, led Maryvale to the 2002 IAAM A Conference championship and went on to become national goalie of the year at Duke.
“I think Taylor has done an incredible job of building just a great team culture,” Nicotra said. “The girls are excited to come to practice every day. They’re ready to learn. They’ve just become focused on being really good teammates and I think that is the most exciting thing for me, to hopefully continue to build on the foundation that she’s laid over the past six years.”
The No. 1 Eagles (20-1) won their 12th IAAM A Conference championship on May 12. They rank second in both national polls, the Nike/USA Lacrosse Top 25 and the Inside Lacrosse Top 25. They also won the conference title in Cummings’ first year as head coach, 2019, finishing 20-0 with the No. 1 national ranking. They compiled a 68-7 record during her four years.
As a McDonogh freshman in 2009, Cummings helped the Eagles kick off their national-record 198-game winning streak and they went on to win four IAAM A Conference championships. She led Maryland to two national titles and helped the US national team win two World Cups.
In 2022, after earning MVP honors at the World Cup and winning the inaugural Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse championship, an individual honor based on points accumulated during the season, she retired from playing.
McDonogh co-athletic director Mickey Deegan said she was surprised and sad about Cummings’ departure, but she understood the decision.
“She’s done a great job,” Deegan said. “To be able to come back and give back to her school and infuse her passion for the game with the girls is something that she was very grateful for and said that to me and Matt (MacMullan) and also said it to the girls. Last Friday was very emotional, her meeting with the team and thanking them for giving her the chance to be a high school coach. She brings a love for the game and shares that across the country.”
Cummings will continue to hold camps and clinics through Taylor Cummings Lacrosse, but she has recently been hired as director of lacrosse for Spellman Performance and Universal Speed Rating.
“I’m just working with them to help get them into the lacrosse world,” she said. “They’re very much a football-based company right now and they’re looking to help athletes in a variety of sports, including lacrosse, so just connecting them with different teams, clubs and organizations to kind of help grow that side of the business.”
In addition, she has been a tireless advocate for the women’s game, writing a column for US Lacrosse and providing commentary in the broadcast booth whenever she can.
Nicotra also played for two US gold medal-winning World Cup teams, in 2009 and 2013 and, like Cummings, she runs her own companies, Between the Pipes and Gold Medal Lacrosse and Goalkeeping, conducting camps and clinics and private goalie lessons.
“Megan is going to do a great job,” Deegan said. “In her own right, she’s a very accomplished player and coach and we just wanted that smooth transition. The thought of looking at 100 resumes was not something we were looking forward to.”
While assistant coach Mary Beth Todd will stay, Deegan and Huether said they would likely look for another assistant to focus on the offense, which Cummings handled.
As Cummings lacrosse journey continues, her passion for the sport certainly will draw more girls into the game.
“For me, it’s just about continuing to grow the sport and the visibility of the sport which is where the broadcasting comes in and the instruction comes in,” Cummings said. “Just continuing to help give opportunities for these girls to not only be able to play collegiate lacrosse and beyond, but to get the recognition that they’ve earned and that they deserve and get the eyes on the sport.”