By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
Holy Spirit High School has a new girls lacrosse coach whose last name is synonymous with ice hockey in the Philadelphia area. She’s hoping that with enough success she’ll have the Primeau name being mentioned in lacrosse circles, too.
Kylie Primeau, a Bishop Eustace and Villanova graduate and also the daughter of former Philadelphia Flyers star Keith Primeau, was announced as the Spartans’ new girls lacrosse coach earlier this month by Athletic Director Steve Normane. Although she has no previous head coaching experience, Primeau brings plenty of lacrosse experience to the table. She was a standout at Bishop Eustace and then at Villanova before her playing career was cut short due to a concussion.
“My career (at Villanova) was short as I had a concussion early on that pretty much ended my career. But I was part of the team for two years after that,” Primeau explained. “Just to be a part of the team and have the opportunity to experience collegiate lacrosse was pretty awesome. We made it to the Big East Championship one year, so that was pretty awesome.”
Primeau graduated with dual degrees in economics and cultural studies, and the 25-year-old went straight into the business world working for a reusable box company in sales and operations. She began to get back into the game last summer, working some camps and clinics, and a more remote-working schedule with her job and less travel has allowed her the opportunity to jump into the high school coaching ranks.
“This past summer I was approached by a couple of lacrosse organizations to run some clinics and things like that, so I got back into the lacrosse world again and fell in love with the sport all over again. Through that, and living at the shore now full-time, and with not traveling as much for work because of COVID, I was able to meet a lot more people, including people involved with Holy Spirit. They approached me and asked if I would be interested in coaching. I’ve already worked it out with my job to be able to coach, so I’m pretty excited,” she said. “There’s nothing really I’m nervous about. I think the challenge will be just to build the program, since it is a relatively new program. And with every high school sport there are emotions involved, so I’ll do my best to be able to help mentor the girls and guide them in any way that I can, whether it’s lacrosse or school related, and go from there.”
Primeau said she knows high school lacrosse is supposed to be fun — and she plans to make the 2021 season as fun as possible for the Spartans — but she also understands that winning is fun, and winning takes work.
“The way I carry myself and the way my personality is, we want to have a great time — that’s what the game of lacrosse is all about — but at the end of the day we are there to work hard and win games,” Primeau said. “I’m going to make sure there are boundaries in place. I think being close in age to the players is going to be a benefit because I can relate to playing not so long ago. But I take very seriously what my job is, and I am their coach.”
Last spring Holy Spirit had its season wiped out due to the coronavirus. In 2019 the Spartans were 6-11, a year after posting a 10-7 record. Typically, Spirit is a competitive team that attracts athletes from other sports, such as field hockey and soccer, and Primeau said she encourages athletes from any other sport to come out and give lacrosse a try. She, after all, was a soccer player who didn’t start playing lacrosse until just before high school, yet parlayed that experience into a Division I roster spot.
“Holy Spirit is a prestigious high school with some great sports teams and it’s great to be part of a school where it’s not just one sport that’s great. I love coaching athletes, even if they are not somebody who has been playing the game for a long time. I didn’t start until I was in eighth grade — I was actually a soccer player, playing that sport from the time I was 4 years old until I was a freshman in high school. I picked up a lacrosse stick and felt like it was my game,” she said. “Lacrosse is a great sport, even if you have no experience, if you’re an athlete you can pick it up. So that’s one thing I’m looking forward to as well, I love teaching the game and growing the game. I encourage anybody to come out for the team and I’m going to make sure (Normane) tells girls who have never played before to at least come out to our first meeting.”
As for her famous last name, Primeau said she embraces the attention and certainly will use her father as a coaching resource, as he has extensive experience not only as an NHL player but as a coach following his playing career.
“Obviously growing up, and even today, when people hear my last name the first thing they ask is if I’m related to Keith Primeau. I’m very proud to have that last name and live up to the Primeau name, but I am my own person and I’ve always acted that way. I’m excited to help pave the way for the Primeau name in lacrosse and see where this journey takes me,” she said. “My dad was actually my first lacrosse coach and he coached my brothers in hockey the majority of their lives. He’s a great coach and has lots of advice to give, so I’m sure any guidance I need I’m sure I’ll be able to rely on him for some tips.”
All Primeau can do now is wait and plan, as she said she’s chomping at the bit to get out there and get her prep coaching career started.
“I’m ecstatic,” Primeau said. “I’ve been thinking about it every day since it was announced. I’m very eager and energetic to get going. The first day is going to be a roller coaster of emotions — looking forward to the season but also understanding we’re going to have to put the work in and do the things we need to do in order to be successful.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: email@example.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays
Girls Lacrosse: Rookie coach brings more than just famous last name to Holy Spirit
By DAVE O’SULLIVAN