Staff Profile: Sean Hansen
Women’s lacrosse coach says coaching and playing are two separate passions
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It’s 6 a.m. and the Sierra Nevada College women’s lacrosse team is lined up on the baseline of Incline High School’s basketball court.
The lacrosse field isn’t plowed, so they will practice in the warm gym today. The players begin with dynamic warm ups as Coach Sean Hansen sets up the portable goal. The lacrosse goal takes center stage on the basketball court, and practice officially begins.
Hansen attended the University of the Redlands in Redlands, California for her undergraduate degree. “I got my Bachelor’s degree in creating the ultimate athlete: the mind body connection. I went to a college where I was able to create my own major,” she said.
Lacrosse has not always been a part of Hansen’s life. “It just kind of happened,” she said. “I went to the university to run track, and I was not really liking it. They asked me to play lacrosse, so I picked up a stick… I was awful my first year so I just kept hitting the wall until it became fun,” Hansen said.
By the second year Hansen was having a lot of fun with the sport. “I remember some practices, some yelling, some games, and when I played really well. But what I remember most, and I don’t think this is just unique to lacrosse, is the family connection, the road trips, and all the stuff that goes along with all that,” she said.
Hansen may love to play lacrosse, but she says that coaching and playing are two separate passions. “How I play and how I coach are very different. When I got out of college, I wanted to give back to the sport, so I began coaching with a woman who was starting a team in my home town of Bend, Oregon,” she said. “I volunteered for the first season and then was promoted to head coach for two seasons,” Hansen said.
During this time she worked at a physical therapy office, and every day she would count down the hours until practice. This is when she realized she had a passion for coaching. “I felt like a kid in the candy store,” Hansen said. “If I was this excited to go to practice and someone will pay me to do that, then I should see if I can get paid to do it.”
According to SNC’s website, “during her time as head coach, Hansen produced two winning seasons and helped Bend United reach the state playoffs each year. She also promoted the sport of girl’s lacrosse and developed enough players for a JV squad. Hansen has been dedicated to the promotion of both lacrosse and academics as she had an Academic All American and five all league players in her stint with Bend United.”
Eventually Hansen moved on to coach for two seasons at LaGrange College in Georgia before coming to Sierra Nevada College. “I missed the west coast lifestyle and the west coast vibes, so I began looking for lacrosse jobs out here. I was not willing to give up coaching lacrosse, but I knew I eventually wanted to come back to the west coast,” Hansen said.
“I talked to Branko, the athletic director, and he asked how soon I could be out here. I gave it a day to think about it, then packed up my car and started driving to Tahoe for the first time,” she said.
When Hansen is not on the lacrosse field or in her office, you can find her on the slopes, bowling, rock climbing, working out at the gym, or playing any sport. In her down time she enjoys playing cards or watching a movie.
Hansen says she wants to introduce her team of mostly novice players to the sport of lacrosse, but she also teaches them life lessons. “I try to teach discipline, determination, and hard work. I guess I would say I am an effort coach, more than anything. I want to teach my team to have joy in whatever they do, and be able to appreciate hard work,” she said.