Quietly Dominating: Suzanne Tyler on Tracy Stumpf

by Suzanne Tyler as told to Sean Burns | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

© University of Maryland Athletics

A cornerstone of the first NCAA championship team at the University of Maryland in women's lacrosse, Tracy Stumpf had one of the most decorated careers in the school's history, helping the Terrapins build one of the top program's in the country to this day. Two times, she was named a first-team All-American and in 1986, she captained Maryland's NCAA championship team. For the next seven years, she served with the U.S. Women's National Team, winning gold with the squad in 1989 at the FIL World Cup.

Suzanne Tyler coached Strumpf at Maryland, recognizing the under-recruited player's drive that helped her become a four-year starter for the Terrapins and one of the best defender's in ACC history, making the league's 50th Anniversary Team in 2002 and the NCAA's 25th Anniversary Team in 2006.

A 1999 inductee to the Lacrosse Hall of Fame herself, Tyler shared her thoughts about her former player leading up to her induction on Saturday evening in Baltimore.

Tracy Stumpf was a tremendous player, great team player, and an even better person.

I first met Tracy as a senior in high school. She was NOT a highly-recruited athlete (although she should have been) and picked Maryland for the academics and our reputation for giving scholarships to those who proved themselves after they got there.

Hall of Fame 2013

What: The National Lacrosse Hall of Fame induction ceremony

When: Saturday, October 26, beginning at 5 p.m.

Where: Grand Lodge of Maryland, Hunt Valley

Who: Jim Berkman, Quinn Carney Burke, Michell DeJuliis, Sue Heether, Bill Miller, Tracy Stumpf, Ryan Wade, Michael Watson.

Read more about the 2013 Class

Tickets: Online sale has ended. No ticket sales at the door. Call the US Lacrosse Special Events Department at (410) 584-7070 (x 172) to purchase tickets.

Cost: $135
 - includes cocktail hour with open bar and hors d'oeuvres from beginning at five, followed by the dinner/ceremony, with coffee, dessert and open bar continuing until 11 p.m.

I had never seen her play before she arrived on campus, but I do remember her campus interview. She seemed shy, but you could definitely see the determination and competitive spirit in her eyes. She told me that she wanted to be a great player, and I believed it. And she earned that full scholarship while she was at the school.

Her original favorite sport was basketball, and she incorporated a lot of that sport's style into her lacrosse game. It was a quietly efficient style, and really had a calming effect on the defensive end of the field. No matter what happened, she was ready for the next play and that helped her teammates focus on the task at hand.

Eventually, she ran our defense and usually was matched up with our opponent's best offensive player. Despite being a very unassuming player – she sort of flew under the radar and most opponents wouldn't expect her to be as effective as she was – she had flawless body position and her stick was as quick as a lizard's tongue and as hard as the chop from an axe.

A lot of why she was successful was that she was one of the smartest kids out there. She could have easily gotten straight A's – we used to play Pictionary, and it would be her on one team, and the entire rest of the girls on the other, and she would win. That translated to defense because she would be back there and just understood the angles and the position to be in, and just knew what to do when the time came.

I think that the characteristics she displayed while playing sports have served her well as an FBI agent. She and a group of other Maryland alums came to visit me in Maine a few years ago, and she's still that same woman. Quietly unassuming, a supportive friend, effective and successful. She displayed her sense of humor and an extraordinary attention to detail. No one would have ever guessed she was 'packing' most of the time!

She was very coachable and had an affable personality – as long as you weren't the opponent and didn't have the ball. She was a fierce but ethical competititor. She's as unassuming of a person as you can have on a team.

She's not even the kind of person who would really say she should be in the Hall of Fame – but I'm happy to see it happen. She deserves the honor.

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