U.S. Lacrosse announced May 21 that Amy Slade, current UMBC Coach and former Virginia lacrosse player, will be inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Slade joins seven other inductees this year and will be inducted in a ceremony Oct. 17 in Hunt Valley, Md.
A decorated former member of Virginia women’s lacrosse, Slade has certainly earned her spot in lacrosse history. During her very first season with Virginia in 2002, she was named ACC Rookie of the Year. In 2004, she was honored as the ACC Player of the Year, the national attacker of the year and was the first Cavalier in history to win the Tewaaraton Trophy, which recognizes the most outstanding men’s and women’s collegiate lacrosse players annually.
The four-time All American’s list of individual awards may be long, but Slade was certainly a team player.
"I love being a part of this team," Slade said in an interview with The Cavalier Daily in 2002 after being named Rookie of the Year. "I just care about how the team does. I don't care about how many goals or assists I have. It's all about how the team performs in the end."
Coach Julie Myers said that Slade’s speed, agility, quickness and stickwork allowed her to become the best attacker to ever play at Virginia. Among competitors, Slade was known as a fierce and determined athlete — qualities that allowed her to lead Virginia to three straight national championship games and one national title.
"She's confident, she's strong and she's got swagger," former Duke midfielder Katie Chrest said about Slade after facing her in an NCAA semifinal in 2005. "Her mental game is as good as her physical game and that is why she can dominate the way she can.”
This resilient attitude allowed Slade to log 258 career goals and 373 points — both school records — as well as 115 career assists throughout her time at Virginia. Additionally, she scored in 66 straight games — an NCAA record.
Looking back on her collegiate career, Slade said that winning the NCAA championship in 2004 stands out as a particularly important achievement.
“There was something very special about that team,” Slade said in an interview with The Cavalier Daily. “When it all clicks, it’s pure greatness.”
She also noted that the coaching staff at Virginia had a lasting impact on her moving forward and said that she is still friends with her former coaches to this day.
“I know they put their heart and soul into our team and it was only right to give them everything we had,” Slade said. “I am so grateful for their guidance and support not just [during my] four years at U.Va. but my life after. That's not something that happens everywhere — it's a true testament to what [Myers] has built over the past 25 years.”
Myers said that Slade left a legacy of passion, hard work, determination and commitment.
“She believed that working hard to be her best would be the ultimate contribution to the team’s success,” Myers told The Cavalier Daily. “She wanted to win everything, every day and she wanted to win with her teammates to share the joy, energy and excitement.”
Slade continues to stay involved in the lacrosse world as the coach of UMBC’s women’s lacrosse team, where she holds a 54-46 overall record. This opportunity has provided Slade with the chance to mentor young athletes and build new relationships, all while learning more about the sport she loves so much. Slade said that she looks for her players to be passionate and advised them to take time to understand what makes them tick.
While coaching has been a valuable experience, it has created a conflict of interest at times — like when Virginia men’s basketball fell to UMBC in the first round of the 2018 March Madness tournament. Slade, who said she found it both heartbreaking and exciting, was asked for her perspective on the game by friends and family for months afterwards — that is, until they won the national championship a year later.
“Since I am so passionate about U.Va., a lot of people in the athletics department liked to joke with me,” Slade said. “It was hard to stay quiet but I did for a full year and then last year happened — and I talk about U.Va. winning a National Championship all the time … I got the best of both worlds!”
Though Slade’s resume of championships, awards and other accomplishments is extensive, she said that she is proudest of her ability to “do it all” as a working mom and give 100 percent to her team, family and friends.
The Virginia lacrosse star said that she is a “true Wahoo” and is forever grateful for the community she found in Charlottesville. In the future, she said that she will continue to give UMBC her passion.