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05/04/2022 12:00 AM

Hawkins Takes the Reins with Valley Boys’ Lacrosse

Colby Hawkins is in the midst of his first season as the head coach of Valley boys’ lacrosse and feels pleased with how his team is improving. Photo courtesy of Colby Hawkins

When Colby Hawkins moved to Connecticut, he envisioned himself becoming the head coach of a varsity lacrosse program. After working as an assistant coach and referee for the past six years, Colby has now found himself with an opportunity to coach as he takes the helm of the Valley Regional boys’ lacrosse team for the 2022 season.

Colby, 35, grew up in Scituate, Massachusetts, where he served as a captain of the football and boys’ lacrosse teams at Scituate High School before graduating in 2006. Colby went on to play both sports at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. After recently moving to Niantic and taking a teaching position in the Region 4 school system, Colby saw that there was an open position for the Valley boys’ lacrosse program and landed the job.

Colby feels proud about the progress that his squad is making this season. Valley has a record of 5-6 on the year with a few of those losses coming by small margins. Colby’s goal is to help the Warriors come out on the winning side of some of those close contests.

“Working with the boys at Valley has been a great experience so far. They’re a great group of motivated and coachable young men,” says Colby. “We have a record of [5-6] with two losses that came down to the very last minute of the game. [This] week, we start our second round of playing our conference teams, and we aim to win our conference. We have some great potential as a team with a mix of lifelong players to first-time players.”

Colby says that his athletes are quickly picking up new skills, and that everyone on the team is eager to learn, making it that much easier for him to coach. Thus far, Valley has earned a pair of wins against Cromwell to go with victories versus Old Lyme, North Branford, and Old Saybrook this season.

“Our varsity players have many strengths from their stick skills, athleticism, and leadership,” Colby says. “We are working on improving our team play with quick ball movement and rotational offensive schemes.”

Valley Regional Athletic Director Jeff Swan says that Colby is a welcome addition to the Warriors’ sports family. Swan feels that Colby is a perfect fit for the head coaching position with the Valley boys’ lacrosse team.

“Colby is an awesome addition to the coaching staff. He has a great understanding of the game,” Swan says. “Colby’s been a player and a referee, so he has the experience, and we are so glad to have him on the staff.”

The Warriors are pursuing a spot in the playoffs as they enter the home stretch of their regular season. Colby says that the athletes on his senior class are determined to help Valley punch its postseason ticket in their final campaigns with the program.

“Our seniors are very motivated to have a successful season,” says Colby. “As we learn from our game errors, we will continue to improve as a team every single day.”

Valley will only be graduating six seniors from its roster at the end of this season. Colby is intrigued to see how the Warriors build off of the foundation that they’re forming this year when they hit the field for the 2023 campaign.

“From a coaching standpoint, I believe they have all improved over the course of the past month in their lacrosse knowledge and skill development,” says Colby. “I’m encouraging collaborative development with routinely matching up the upperclassmen and underclassmen to coach each other in technique and situational understanding within our drills and team discussions. Our nine freshmen, four sophomores, and eight juniors show great potential for the future of the program.”