Fried on Heether: Passion Led to Storied Career

by Ricky Fried as told to Sean Burns | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Hall of Fame 2013

What: The National Lacrosse Hall of Fame induction ceremony

When: Saturday, October 26, beginning at 5 p.m.

Where: Grand Lodge of Maryland, Hunt Valley

Who: Jim Berkman, Quinn Carney Burke, Michell DeJuliis, Sue Heether, Bill Miller, Tracy Stumpf, Ryan Wade, Michael Watson.

Read more about the 2013 Class

Tickets: Online sale has ended. No ticket sales at the door. Call the US Lacrosse Special Events Department at (410) 584-7070 (x 172) to purchase tickets.

Cost: $135
 - includes cocktail hour with open bar and hors d'oeuvres from beginning at five, followed by the dinner/ceremony, with coffee, dessert and open bar continuing until 11 p.m.

All-World player, coach, blogger, retailer — Sue Heether has worn a lot of hats in her life, most of which directly related to lacrosse. A four-year starter at Loyola and the IWLCA Goalie of the Year in 1990, Heether backstopped Team USA to three gold medals in FIL World Cup play and later coached the team to gold in 2009.

Current Team USA coach Ricky Fried has worked with Heether in one capacity or another since the early 1990s and was her assistant from 2006-2009 on that U.S. women's team staff. He shared his experiences working with the new National Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee for LaxMagazine.com.

"Sue and I coached together for Team USA starting in 2006, but we actually go back a lot further – probably to the early 1990s. We both worked at Lax World together, and then for a little while we were both working out of my house as sales reps for Wave One. We went our separate ways professionally, but we go way back.

"Ultimately, Sue is the type of coach who's not really worried about being in charge of every detail. She knows her strengths, and she gives you the flexibility to give your opinion, and she'll make the right decision from there.

"On that USA team, there had been a lot of veteran players who made the decision to hang up their cleats [after a U.S. loss in the 2005 FIL World Cup final]. So in addition to it being her first time as the coach, there were a lot of personnel changes that had happened, and it really let her put her stamp on what kind of team it would be. By the time the tournament came around in 2009, there were no players on the roster that had World Cup experience.

"The reason she had the success that she did with that group was because of her experience and success she had as a player internationally. That success, along with her passion for the sport, as well as what it means to represent your country, gave her immediate credibility. She expected everyone associated with the program to carry themselves in a certain way, both on and off of the field, and the standard that was expected had a great effect on every player that entered the U.S. program.

"She showed them that you have to be diligent about how you approach things, keep up your fitness and really do things right down to leaving the field better than when you got there if you're representing your country. If you did things that way, people around you would see it and understand that you were doing it the right way, and that was the way we had to do it.

"Obviously this honor is tremendously deserved, even if she's very humble about it. It's great to see somebody who's put in a ton of work and their entire heart and soul into the sport be recognized on a number of different levels with this. As a player, her stats speak for themselves. She played at as high of a level as you can, but then to go on and coach the team and build it back to the championship says a lot about how she deals with people and how they respond to her.

"It's nice to have her get that recognition, and she deserves it."

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