Puhl takes RM lax to the top


Photo by Trisa Saha

Coach Puhl has led the boys RM lacrosse team to new heights.

Corrigan Peters, Senior Sports Writer

From being less of a nationally recognized sport to only being included in the insert of the yearbook, the boys varsity lacrosse team often gets lost in the second semester chaos. However, last season, the team demanded attention with their record breaking undefeated season and playoff run. 

The success of the varsity boys didn’t begin last season. When Coach Steve Puhl started at RM six years ago, he brought his experience and knowledge of the game that has changed the face of the program.

 Puhl has 11 years of coaching under his belt, with five of those years in Montgomery County at Northwood High School. Upon his arrival at RM, he identified a flaw with the lacrosse system as a whole.

 “When I took over here six years ago, it was more the mindset [that] lacrosse was a spring sport, you show up in the spring, you finish in the spring,” Puhl said. He noticed that the athletes were not working on their skills during the off-season, and encouraged a more full-year commitment.

“It’s been the year-round commitment of the kids, and from my end, providing them opportunities to participate year-round to improve and get better,” Puhl said.

“[Our success] is a lot credited to Coach Puhl, because all the time and effort he puts in, even though he has a newborn kid at home,” four year varsity defender senior Justin Dixon said.

“Before my grade came, we were a three-win team at the bottom of the county. Now we’re at the top,” Dixon added.

“As I came freshman year, it was Coach Puhl’s second or third year coaching here, he started changing the program,” senior Ashton Dunn said, “we started winning more, and over the years we’ve gotten better and better so it’s really cool to watch, and be a part of that.” 

These improvements to the program have had a positive impact om the quality of the players and team as a whole; however, despite the immense success the lacrosse program has experienced since Coach Puhl’s arrival, he remains humble about his role, and greatly appreciates the effort from all of his players. 

“I mean, I’m just the coordinator of the success, obviously the kids are the ones out there doing the work on the field,” he said.

This seemingly effortless coordination of an elite team is an indicator of the strong motivation and love of lacrosse that Coach Puhl has and brings to Richard Montgomery every year. 

“Coaching is my passion, sports is my passion, that’s why I’m a PE teacher, that’s why I coach, I’m a competitive person,” Puhl said, “I think the process is what fuels me…putting in that work and seeing the growth of the players and how every individual improving can lead to the success of the entire team as a whole.”

The coach’s enthusiasm for the game of lacrosse has not only improved the team, but has passed the love of the sport on to everyone that he coaches.

“I like lacrosse because it’s fast-paced, it’s physical, it was a new sport I wanted to learn when I came freshman year. I picked up lacrosse and it was fun, and I just really enjoyed trying something new,” Dunn said.

The time and effort put into the lacrosse team has paid off, and with the 2020 season looming near, the team is looking to take care of some unfinished business.

 “…Even though we had an undefeated season last year, we came short in the playoffs and everyone’s committed to getting over the hump and going to states,” Dixon said, “We made it to the top, but we’re not there yet, we still have to work to do.”