The opening day of the Girls High School Lacrosse National Championship tournament on Wednesday gave Halley Quillinan Griggs a glimpse of the Greenwich Academy team she will be coaching next spring.
Greenwich Academy athletic director Martha Brousseau recently named Quillinan Griggs as the school’s new co-head Varsity A lacrosse coach – a position Melissa Anderson filled since 2014. Anderson, who was with GA’s lacrosse program since 2006, coached her last game with the school in the team’s season finale against Taft on May 16. Anderson is soon heading to Massachusetts with her family, where she will serve as a history teacher at The Rivers School.
Anderson, replaced legendary coach Angela Tammaro, after Tammaro left her coaching positions with the school in 2014, following a career in which she amassed 700 lacrosse victories and 746 field hockey wins. The Anderson/Johnson coaching combination continued GA’s successful lacrosse tradition and Quillinan Griggs is excited about joining the traditionally strong program.
“I’m really excited to work in tandem with Katie and work end to end to make sure we are putting the strongest team we can out there on the field,” said Quillinan Griggs, a Rowayton resident. Of course, off the field, we want to make sure we are doing our best to help our students achieve success in the classroom. On the field, we want to make sure we are helping them grow into confident young women to play on the next level or move on to the next level, depending on what they want to do.”
Brousseau announced the hiring to the Greenwich Academy community several days ago.
“We are excited to bring a person of such great quality into the program,” Brousseau said. “Her playing background, her coaching background, her connections to lacrosse on and of the field – it’s pretty amazing to have someone of that caliber and to join someone who has been so committed and dedicated to the program as Katie has been through the years – it’s an amazing coaching staff.”
Quillinan Griggs brings a wealth of lacrosse experience to her new role. She was a four-time All-America midfielder at Syracuse University. As a member of Syracuse’s winning program, she helped lead the squad to two appearances in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships and a pair of quarterfinal-round appearances.
Syracuse also won two Big East titles during Griggs’ time on the team. She graduated from Syracuse ranked among the top-10 in career points with 246, goals (207), draws (166) and caused turnovers (16). A writer, Quillinan Griggs is the Women’s Director at Inside Lacrosse and most recently served as associate head lacrosse coach at Greens Farms Academy.
Inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Adirondack Chapter Hall of Fame in 2017, Quillinan Griggs co-founded Triple Threat Academy – a summer lacrosse academy – with Ciara Thurlow in 2018. Quillinan Griggs has also lent her lacrosse expertise as a color commentator for ESPNU, NCAA.com and LaxSports Network.
“Halley was an offensive player at Syracuse and I started out as the defensive coordinator and that’s where I focus in, so it’s a great complement to our coaching staff,” Johnson said of Quillinan Griggs’ hiring. “It’s a great fit to what we needed to keep our program moving in the right direction.”
Said Anderson: “If we launched an international search we wouldn’t found a better candidate than Halley. We are so lucky that she is interested. It’s such a hard team to leave program. There is only happiness for Halley and Katie to be together and for our program to be in such great hands.”
Anderson and Johnson are coaching Greenwich Academy during this week’s Girls High School Lacrosse National Championship at Farmington Sports Arena. Greenwich Academy went 1-1 in its two games of pool play on Wednesday, defeating Lake Oswego from Oregon, before losing to Penn Charter School. GA has two more games on Thursday. The final four teams advance to the semifinal-round on Friday. The championship game will also take place on Friday.
“The fact that Melissa, Katie and Martha wanted me to come and they wanted to make me a part of this – I’m really grateful for that,” Quillinan Griggs said. “I’m excited to see the girls that will be taking the field together next season and I want to see these two coach together and see the dynamic they share.”
For Griggs, each level she competed and coached out was a valuable experience.
“I was fortunate enough to play for some great coaches at Syracuse and to have some experience at the U.S. National Team level,” the 32-year-old Quillinan Griggs said. “I feel as far as my coaching experience, I draw a lot from what I learned as a player and from some very special coaches in my life.”
Said Brousseau: “Halley clearly knows what it takes to play at the highest level, but what is most impressive is her philosophy around building a positive team culture. Challenging players to perform to their best potential in an environment that rewards hard work, relies on positive team chemistry and believes in preparation. Halley has earned the highest praise from current and former players and families and we are thrilled to have her join our team.”
During her work with Triple Treat Academy, Quillinan Griggs had the opportunity to coach some Greenwich Academy lacrosse athletes.
“We work with players from all different clubs and high schools and really the Greenwich Academy girls from Day 1 were just such special ambassadors for hard work and inclusivity,” Quillinan Griggs said. “Their leadership spoke volumes. “After coaching classes of those Greenwich Academy girls, you realize it’s really a consistent theme from players like Eliza Bowman, Taylor Lane, Tessa Brooks and Katie Goldsmith, down to the seventh and eighth graders enrolled at Greenwich Academy.”
Bowman, Lane, Brooks and Goldsmith graduated from Greenwich Academy in 2020 and are each playing lacrosse at the collegiate level.
“I’m really excited to come in and coach,” Quillinan Griggs said. “Filling Melissa Anderson’s shoes, that’s impossible to do. I’m grateful for her belief in me and the confidence she has shown in me. Coaching alongside Katie Johnson, that’s the special part of this opportunity. She is someone who grew up within the Greenwich Academy community, someone who has a child in the school and she has been a coach there for the better part of a decade herself. So I’m so excited to learn from her and coach alongside her.”