When West Forsyth girls’ lacrosse head coach Dan Kaplan announced he was leaving the school to become Forsyth Central’s new athletic director, Lady Wolverines assistant coach John Thompson wasn’t sure what this change meant for his future.
Thompson offered to stay on as an assistant, and a search for potential head coaching candidates began. However, due to a small pool of nominees and a lot of teams in need of new leadership, the Lady Wolverines were unable to find the right outside voice to take the reins.
So the decision was made to promote from within.
After much deliberation, West offered Thompson the head coaching job. Presented the opportunity to continue everything Kaplan built over the last several years, he accepted the position.
“We’re really kind of a family,” Thompson said. “The kids are wonderful, parents are wonderful. We just wanted to make sure as Kaplan was leaving the program was still in the hands of someone with a connection to him.”
Thompson will be tasked with building on the success West enjoyed in 2014, when the Lady Wolverines posted a 13-5 record, won the Forsyth Cup and made it to the Elite 8 of the Class AAAAAA tournament.
Many of his goals for next season are already laid out: win the region, return to the playoffs and get back to the Elite 8. With much of its core returning—including 61-goal scorer Monica Martelli—Thompson has good reason to believe all those milestones can be achieved—and then some.
Despite the departure of Kaplan and some key seniors, Thompson is confident next year can be even better than the last.
“I have high expectations for all of us,” he said. “I think we need to build off of who we are after next season … That makes a lot of sense to be in the fight there again.”
Thompson re-joined the program last season after serving as an assistant in 2010 and 2011. Having witnessed how successful Kaplan’s approach has been over the years, he plans to stay the course rather than create a new atmosphere and system.
“I am humbled to take over for Coach Kaplan,” Thompson said. “He really is a classy guy and one of my best friends. Moving forward, I’m not going to try to change things up, just add to it.
“I’m really excited for what the future holds, and I think everyone is ready to move forward next season.”