By Greta Klein
As the sun starts to set, the sound of Sammy Lane’s voice can be heard across the soccer field as pinks, yellows and oranges color the sky. Coaching professional soccer for 10 years and coaching at Hutchinson Community College for 20 years, Lane still adores coaching soccer, and the Blue Dragons women’s soccer team.
“I really enjoy being around them (the girls),” Lane said. “I mean, there’s times when they don’t enjoy it because I’m ultra competitive and ultra demanding but there’s no doubt that they know I care about them. I love the job, I love being around them.”
Lane is known for his loud, energetic, caring and old-school coaching style.
“I would say there’s not many people that coach the way I do,” Lane said. “My formative years were in an environment where when you messed up, you were told and the expectations were nearly right all the time.”
Regardless that Lane’s coaching style could be considered too harsh, his players value it.
“You definitely have to have a hard shell, and you can’t take what he says personally,” freshman goalkeeper Karsyn Slothower said. “But you can tell that he really cares about you progressing throughout your soccer career. He’s a very caring coach and he’s very funny, we all get along with him really well.”
Although Lane has high expectations, he knows it’s an effective way to see results from his players.
“I’m not afraid to demand the best,” Lane said. “They want to be challenged, they don’t want to be babied. Sometimes I could be a little bit kinder but they want the best to be demanded out of them. These girls train hard and compete hard and they give everything they can all the time. So I think they understand I just want to drag the best out of them.”
Many people might think that Lane’s coaching method can be disheartening to his players, but that is not true.
“I would rather have a coach just be straight up with me on what I’m doing wrong than rather sugar coat it, because at the end of the day, that’s not helping me get better and I want to get better as a player,” Slothower said.
Despite the fact that Lane is tough on his team, they still have a relationship that allows them to rely on one another.
“I appreciate Sammy very much because he’s helped me a lot since I’m (an) international (student),” said freshman Katharina Marx, who hails from Germany. “I feel like he supports me in everything and I can ask him everything and he believes in me. It changes everything if you have a coach who really believes in you and helps (you) to believe in yourself.”
Lane’s players appreciate his balance of seriousness and fun while at practice and during games.
“I would say I’m probably more intense in the games,” Lane said. “For practice, I would say I’m 80/20 as far as relaxed and trying to make it enjoyable while still obviously trying to get something out of it. Games, I’m just an intense guy in the game. Once the game is over, then five minutes later, the intensity is gone and back to being fairly jovital.”
With all the coaching and yelling that Lane does, you might wonder if he’s ever lost his voice and surprisingly, the answer is no.
“I’ve come close several times,” Lane said. “I take three to four cough drops every night because I’ve come close several times.”
On the outside, Lane might seem like just a loud coach, but in reality he’s so much more to his players.
“I can go to Sammy for anything,” Marx said. “If I have problems with school, problems with teachers, with the team. It doesn’t matter, Sammy is always there for me.”
The Blue Dragons are matched up against the Butler Grizzlies for the Region 6 quarterfinals. No. 16 Hutch will go up against No. 18 Butler at 6 p.m. on today at the Salthawk Sports Complex.