Girls’ varsity lacrosse coach Maddie Parker returns to Jerome, this time from the sidelines


Photo courtesy of Maddie Parker

After playing lacrosse for the Dickinson Red Devils and serving as Director of Girls Lacrosse at Next Level, Maddie Parker (’15) is stepping in as Whitman’s new girls varsity lacrosse coach.

By Lauren Heberlee

Since the age of eight, Maddie Parker (‘15) has starred on her fair share of elite lacrosse teams. Parker has scored goal after goal for her two club teams, Bethesda Lacrosse and MC Elite. She was a starter on her high school team — none other than the Whitman Vikings — and later her college team, the Dickinson Red Devils. Now, 17 years after she first picked up a lacrosse stick, Parker is coming to the sidelines as the incoming head coach of Whitman’s varsity girls lacrosse team for the 2022 season.

Whitman Athletic Director Andrew Wetzel hired Parker in September to serve as the girls varsity lacrosse coach during the upcoming season. She wasn’t just an alumni hire; Parker will be the youngest varsity coach currently at Whitman.

“I was kind of surprised I got it because I’m young, but I know I’m ready,” Parker said. “I’m excited. I know the culture of the school, and I know a lot of the girls already.”

Lacrosse holds roots in Parker’s family. Parker’s father, Doug, played lacrosse at Colby College, and her two siblings played for Whitman like Parker did during their respective four years of high school. Her younger sister, Faith (‘21), is now playing her first year of lacrosse with Dickinson, and her younger brother Jackson (‘17) was on the lacrosse team at the College of Wooster. The Parkers are thrilled to have an excuse to continue attending Whitman lacrosse games, said Maddie’s mother, Kim Parker.

“​​She has a good combination of traits because she is active, really enjoys kids and she’s a really positive person,” Kim said. “I think her competitiveness, her leadership skills and the connections that she’s able to make with the girls will hopefully have a positive impact on their lives.”

Maddie played on both the varsity lacrosse team and the varsity soccer team during her four years at Whitman. She was a captain of the lacrosse team during her sophomore, junior and senior seasons, and she led the team to the state semifinals during the later two years. The varsity soccer team was unstoppable those same two years, winning back-to-back state titles in 2013 and 2014.

Parker went on to play lacrosse at Dickinson College for four years as a midfielder. After graduating, she moved from Pennsylvania to DC to work in technology sales. While she coached private training on the side, her job didn’t allow for a lot of flexibility when it came to side hustles, she said.

Much more passionate about lacrosse than her post in technology sales, Parker decided to once again put the sport at the forefront of her life, leaving her job and stepping in as Director of Girls Lacrosse at Next Level, a popular lacrosse club in Bethesda. 

“I didn’t love my old job, but I’ve always loved lacrosse and coaching,” Parker said. “I’ve had really great coaches. I feel like that’s influenced me because having a good coach makes the whole experience of the sport so much better.”

Before Wetzel brought her into Whitman’s coaching ranks, Parker wanted to coach at the school for several years not only because she loves the sport, but also because she loves the community and the players’ motivation, she said. When Parker saw that Whitman was looking for a new girls lacrosse coach, she immediately jumped at the opportunity to apply for the job. 

Wetzel feels confident that Parker will be an asset to the team due to her four years of experience with the program in high school, he said.

“I love to hire alumni because they know the community, they know the program and they have a passion for the school and the team,” Wetzel said. “Maddie is young and energetic, and I am very excited to have her.”

Wetzel isn’t the only one who’s glad to have Parker on board — Parker’s future players said they’re ready for an excellent season. Captain Grace Nemeroff, a senior, said she’s looking forward to having Parker as her coach for what’s hopefully a state title run this year.

“Maddie definitely knows how the team should be run, and she knows the community well,” Nemeroff said. “We did really well last year, but I think this season, with Maddie, we can do even better and have a really strong season.”

Parker plans to set high goals for her players. Last year, the lacrosse team reached the state semifinals, and this upcoming season, Parker hopes to take the team one game further and capture a state championship.

“We want everyone to be strong and work together to crush the teams outside the county, which we can definitely do,” Parker said. “I’m really excited to foster a strong community on and off the field so we can have a fantastic season.”